On a bright, bitterly cold, windy winter morning in New York it is easy to see the results of the nigh. The streets are hard and unforgiving. The remnants of last night choices and actions are on display. The desires and longing you could read from a distance seem like a distant memory, yet the pain is still in evidence.
It is hard to see, know and yet not be able to act. Without an invitation and the bridge of relationship there is little one can do other than giving a gift of a smile and staying open for opportunities of compassion. Knowing does not come with a key or permission slip. Understanding is not an endorsement for action. Even anticipating anguish does not give one a green light to interfere. All these things must be asked for, or at least established through the foundation of relationship.
I can stand in hope’s place. I can scream and lay out my fears before an all-powerful God. I can linger in prayer and petition. These are not inconsequential, though I wish I could do more.
I don’t recall this insight when I was young. Perhaps I was overwhelmed then by the flurries of the moment and the experiences of unknown emotions. Whatever the reason then it is little comfort now. It is as if “I overheard God-of-the-Angel-Armies say: ‘Those mighty houses will end up empty. Those extravagant estates will be deserted. A ten-acre vineyard will produce a pint of wine, a fifty-pound sack of seed, a quart of grain.’” (Isaiah 5.9, 10) Everything strived for will be lost. Nothing which seems important now will still be important tomorrow.
In the morning sun I see the answer clearly. Life – living fully, understanding the ups and downs – lies in your relationship and mine with the Divine. Everything rests in reaching out and up to Hope. We can pursue Life with compassion, mercy, and community or do it within our self. This fundamental decision is one we must make and remake in every moment. It is our sight.
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