Just hearing the question ‘what do you hunger for?’ is in itself enough to spark a
mini-cascade of doubt, and a landslide of panic and guilt in me. My mind immediately recalls Micah’s words about hungering for justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with my God. Am I?
At the back of my head I hear the excited murmur of a crowd on a hillside near a lake called Galilee in anticipation of the bread being handed round, and I become the small child offering my packed lunch – a paltry amount in the eyes of the world, the total sum of my riches in my own.
It doesn’t take much to cast my mind back forty years and recall the first picture of a starving child I saw of my own age and the dawning understanding of the unequal distribution of the world’s resources and my own role in changing how I conspicuously consume a disproportionate amount.
I fear I have failed, too often, to walk this Way of radical difference. I struggle to understand what difference I can make when so much of my life seems small, and is lived from bed. But the question ‘what do you hunger for?’ is a crucial one, for the answer cannot come from my place of guilt, doubt and panic, the place where my ego flies rampant in its destruction. The answer, if it is to be of any ‘use’, in other words if it is to be a true reply, must arise out of a heart voice not a head voice.
I am only haphazardly successful at hearing this whispered urge. But I am learning to recognize it as the voice that still speaks the same reply when all my desperate bewailed ‘I can’t’s run out of steam. I am learning to trust it as the heart voice that speaks the same prayer written over and again in my journal: ‘Lord, may I see.’ ‘Lord, give me eyes to see.’ ‘Lord, open my eyes’.
This prayer in all its variations, stills the guilt that leads me to question over and again where I give my tithing; it stills the despair that questions the use of signing an online protest questionnaire as a useless drop in the ocean of all that is unjust in this world; it stills the panic that fears I am a cop-out, that I have no service to make, and that the important radical healing work of the kingdom is happening elsewhere when all that has happened in my day is my struggle to pray for those I know and love.
This prayer speaks my heart voice, and my heart voice is my uniquely authentic voice given me by my Creator.
What do I hunger for? For the gift of vision, to see true the world around me, to see God in and of all created things, people, times and places. For I know that right seeing leads only to one thing in me: a brimming over need to communicate what I see in image and word. I want to shout God in colour and line and texture and form. I want to whisper God in poem and blog and essay. I want to proclaim God is in every detail, celebrate God who is in every moment. I hear my certain call as an artist, and sensing this vocation again quells all my doubts.
What do I hunger for? That, by Grace, I may be the means of bringing one person to see their loving God in the here and now. And that, by Grace, that person may in their turn, bring another face to face with their Lord. That by this chain of seeing, we may learn to recognize the coming Kingdom, and do our utmost to usher it in.
This: “I want to whisper God in poem and blog and essay. I want to proclaim God is in every detail, celebrate God who is in every moment.” Amen, Kate! May it be so, even from our beds and broken lives. May we learn to discern true God-given heart voice desires and listen to where they are leading us. You already offer far more than you know. Your contribution matters. Our seeming smallness is of inestimable worth to God. Bless you for your beautiful, hungering spirit! 🙂 x
Bless you Joy for all your encouragement. I think of you often, and pray for you as you too seek to find the precious energy needed for creativity and listen to where it might lead. May we hear heart-voices indeed and lift them to the Lord. Thank you dear sister.
Beautifully put. Thank you. Kate, you may do much more from your bed to spread his light than many people do pounding the pavements, thinking they are ‘doing’ so much. I love the idea of his light being a baton that we pass on. What we all see as our small part can be part of a very big purpose. Your heart is in the right place and that is what matters most. Just read a quote ‘If each one of us could make of our heart a manger, then Christ could come again to this earth’. Angelus Selesius. And some more good reading material from Weavings Magazine below. I like what Jean says that our challenge is to have faith, our supposed success or failure is not so important as our faith, whatever life brings.
A Resurrection Model for Failure, by Jean M. Blomquist
As we wrestle with failure, we need to remember we are in good company. Jesus failed too. The problem with being on this side of the resurrection is that we often miss the pain and anguish of the failure that preceded it. In the eyes of the world, Jesus’ life and ministry were most certainly failures. He did not change the hearts of all who heard him, nor did he usher in a visible reign of God on earth. To those who expected a socio-political savior, he failed to liberate Palestine from Roman rule. He even failed to gain the loyalty of his own disciples, who abandoned him and denied any association with him. He died a humiliating, lonely, and painful death, taunted and ridiculed for being who he truly was. And yet …
As people of faith, we need to remember that the resurrection tosses out all standard expectations and measurements of failure and success. Neither failure nor success is good or evil; both can result in growth, stagnation, or regression. In our struggle with failure and success, we may find a hidden strength as we commend our spirits to our Creator and seek to yield our lives to love. Our challenge is to have faith—in failure, in success, in whatever life brings. The unexpected turns, the painful endings, the precarious beginnings are all part of the path of faith, where we are reminded with each step that the resurrection did not happen only once long ago—it happens each day of our lives.
From “On Having Faith in Failure,” Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, Vol. VII, No. 1 (Jan/Feb 1992)(Nashville, TN: The Upper Room,1992), 14-15.
Lisa thank you so much for you encouragement and for sharing Jean’s words ‘on having faith in failure’ – they are exactly what I needed to hear today! All Blessings for whatever comes your way today – that we may both be liberated to practise resurrection.