post and photos by June Friesen,
1-3 Open your ears, God, to my prayer; don’t pretend you don’t hear me knocking.
Come close and whisper your answer. I really need you.
I shudder at the mean voice, quail before the evil eye,
As they pile on the guilt, stockpile angry slander.
4-8 My insides are turned inside out; specters of death have me down.
I shake with fear, I shudder from head to foot.
“Who will give me wings,” I ask—“wings like a dove?”
Get me out of here on dove wings;
I want some peace and quiet.
I want a walk in the country,
I want a cabin in the woods.
I’m desperate for a change
from rage and stormy weather.
What is happening around me? What is happening is so out of control, or at least it is out of ‘my control’. Do you feel like the writer of these verses in the Psalm? Maybe you feel as if when you pray it is nothing more than words into empty space. Maybe you feel as if you have been alienated – from family, friends, neighbors, church family, etc. over the past 19 or so months. It may have been because of COVID restrictions. It may be because of travel restrictions or limits. It may be because of misunderstandings and/or disagreements. Whatever the reason(s), whatever the cause for the change(s) you feel and/or are experiencing, they are real to you even if they are not to be understood, acknowledged, or recognized by others around you.
In this Psalm, I find it interesting that the writer asks to have wings to flee from the situation he is facing. But not only does he ask for wings, he specifically asks for the wings of a dove. A dove is a symbol of peace.
I have loved doves since I was a child. I probably really fell in love with a pair that chose to build a nest that was at my eye level when I was about 13 years old. The pine tree they chose was on the path in the country to our mailbox. Since I was often asked to go and get the mail, I had the opportunity to observe this pair over several years. The nest was rather flimsy it seemed to me and I wondered at how it could/would hold the eggs. Yet it never failed and every year (doves often return to the same nest) this pair of doves raised a family there. I was privileged to see the eggs arrive one by one. I was privileged to see them hatch one by one and then grow from fuzz to feathers… and eventually, take wing. It was such a miracle to observe – and when I think of God’s Spirit as being similar to a dove this memory comforts me even today.
I may feel that the world is rather a rough place to live. In fact, there are times when I feel that way and I feel or even fear my faith in God is rather flimsy and I wonder if it will fail to hold me. It is then that I can think of this example of the nest – it is all about trust. Can I or will I put my trust in God, even if it seems flimsy at best, and leave the rest up to God? Will I keep my trust in God secure even when my trust struggles here where I find myself on earth? Yes, life has been turned upside down for sure over the past year and a half. Recently I came across this writing from six years ago. I do not remember what was going on in my life at the time but the words say exactly how I have felt and still feel at times recently. Maybe you can relate:
LIFE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN
I cannot share with you –
I cannot answer you –
I cannot understand this mystery –
I cannot find the words to speak –
I cannot believe this is reality –
I cannot speak – only silence comes.
I wonder where life went wrong –
I wonder when God went into hiding –
I wonder how one can walk through so much loss –
I wonder at the intensity of this pain –
I wonder when the nightmare will end, if ever –
I wonder where real living begins and where it ends.
God – sometimes in the struggles it seems you are so quiet,
Sometimes it seems every cloud brings another storm,
Sometimes it seems as if every person is an enemy,
Sometimes it seems that the hope promised is out of reach,
Sometimes life is anything but what one was promised when younger,
Sometimes, God, one just has to wonder and ponder and……
God – is it okay that I sit with you quietly too?
I have no words so I am just going to ‘be’ in your presence,
I just hurt so much I know not what to say to you or anyone else for that matter.
I just need to ‘be’ and reflect on all that was and all that is now –
Thank you, God, for your silent presence.
Thank you, friends, for your silent presence – God is here.
God is here…….thank you God for being here…….help me to remain here with You God even in the silence. Amen.
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