to the mystery, you have something to sing
- 2020 Aug 11
There is so much we don’t understand. Even while mystery propels us to control and corral, get a hold of and comprehend, part of us wants to tame mystery’s wildness, or chastise it like it’s a child prone to talk back and disobey.
For we are scared of it. But maybe we love it a bit too?
We might want mystery’s wildness, but we don’t want it too wild–we prefer it a bit tame, at least so we can grasp a bit of it, something to work out and consume for ourselves.
This morning I reread Walt Whitman’s “As I Ebb’d with the Ocean of Life.” I am obsessed with these lines: “I perceive I have not really understood any thing, not a single object, and that no man ever can,/ Nature here in sight of the sea taking advantage of me to dart upon me and sting me,/ Because I have dared to open my mouth to sing at all.” With these words, I contemplate my smallness, my limited comprehension of my existence, and my choice to stay quiet or rise up, and sing.
The wild mystery of this world, fraught with trouble and beauty–and too big for us to understand–can make us feel vulnerable and weak. Do we dare take the risk of participating in it? Assume our place, open our mouths, join in with the wildness and sing?
But perhaps there is a new question we should be asking: how can we dare not sing?
What questions are you asking now? What is it you don’t understand? What are you pondering and wondering? What is your role in this vast, incomprehensible creation? How can you dare not let your song sing?
Grab a piece of paper and spend a few minutes writing down your thoughts on the idea of mystery–something in your life that causes you to wonder, to imagine, to dream, to get frustrated about, to feel angry or disappointed or elated or sad. Pick a focus on one thing that befuddles you–be it a relationship (a family member, a spouse, a person at work), a situation you have witnessed from up close or from afar. Give it details. Context. Description. Now distill these thoughts into a draft of a poem. Share it below.
Let us hear you sing.
Another place to share your poem is with the community of Loop Poetry Project (a private Facebook group for women who are writing poetry to pursue personal wholeness).
After you have written your poem, return to it–read it aloud and ask God what He thinks about it. What insight does He have to share with you? (Do you feel His delight?)
I am so excited to read your poems.
All day this day she bends, knees pressed into mud,
she dips her hands, cupping them like a bowl,
and pulls the water to her mouth
the rolling ocean within her
until she is small, submerged beneath sunlight,
gold ribbons wide as the sun,
and lets the waves pull her further,
their voices like children’s laughter in bustling, noisy rooms.
This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com