In times of despair
Tania Yadira Martinez Tadeo
The time will come when your path will turn abrupt,
In which the fog will be so dense
That you won’t be able to see beyond the next step.
Desperate you will scream and hear only the echo of your voice.
You will try to continue as usual,
Focused on everything you need to do;
A futile race against time
That will only leave you exhausted.
You will feel confused,
You will think you have lost your way,
And you’ll wonder what you missed.
Get ready, the time of finding yourself again are coming
Stay still for a bit,
In the shadows you will hear your true voice,
The voice of your spirit calling you back,
Preparing to turn in a new direction.
The world will offer itself to you, to heal you,
To clear the way for you. Surrender.
Witness your own metamorphosis,
You will become hope incarnate, medicine, and light.
There is something honest and beautiful about this poem. The poet does not simplify what is complicated. They do not rush to hope and optimism. Instead they invite us to sit with our feelings of desperation, confusion, exhaustion, despair and to “stay still for a bit” and listen. I don’t know about you, but that is difficult thing for me to do. It is much easier to keep busy and bury those feelings deeper and deeper. Sure, it may come up later or manifest itself in another chocolate chip cookie, but that’s easier than dealing with it right now. What if we could learn to sit with it? What if we could just be in the shadows, at least for a little while?
My preaching professor taught us to always end a sermon with hope. Always end with the good news. After that lesson I went to chapel and wouldn’t you know, it was the first sermon I had ever heard that had no hope or good news. Talking about despair in the world from the perspective of the marginalized, they ended with statistics that left us in the pit. It was a real bummer. It also didn’t help that there was a moment of silent prayer which seemed to last for hours. We sat looking at one another. Really? And then… that same preacher got up and approached the communion table. He talked about how at this table, we experience a God who nourishes us and sustains us in the community of creation. God has made it so we can experience God through our everyday living. Through those that send us comforting cards. Through those that bring us a warm meal. Through the comforting memories sparked by photographs.
The poet says we will all go through a moment when our path turns abruptly. We will struggle. We will have to navigate what our needs are and listen to them. These are also the moments where we find ourselves again, and the world will offer itself to you and heal you. I would replace world with God. God will offer god’s self and heal you because no matter what you have done you are God’s precious.
Blessings for the journey,
Rev. Keith McDevitt