I lie in bed looking up at the summer night sky, watching the trees titter back and forth, giving off a breeze much like that from the cheap hand held fans I played with as a child. Here, in the land of the midnight sun, darkness only comes in the deep of the night and lasts a few scant hours. My mind drifts to thoughts of God as I watch the trees sway their hips.
“I've been fighting against how other people think God works.”
“Fighting against how I think God should work.”
I don't know how God works.
My belief shrunk down to just one sentence that is both manageable and unmanageable, too.
It is a start.
I remember a conversation, over 20 years ago, with this woman, where she’s telling me about the long ago death of her one year old little girl; a much desired sister for her teenage daughter. She seeks my eyes with her own, as only one mother to another would, as she tries to explain what happened. Her sentences are peppered with - “I didn't know” and “if only” as she tells me of an undetected simple infection that led to her daughter's death.
Is this how she came to believe that God is in control of everything? Did she need to in order to be able to lift her head off the pillow every morning to attend to her other children whose ages, 13, 12, 11 and 10, descended like steps on a staircase? I don't know her well enough to ask. We've only ever talked at each other.
I think of her lying in her bed wrestling with these things. Wondering how long her darkness lasted. I know her daughter died in the winter time, where there are but few hours of daylight.
A little spark of compassion ignites within me for her.
It's a start.
It's a start.
“Like Christ, after his resurrection, we will carry on our bodies and into the rest of our lives the scars of the hurts done to us. Maybe one day they will become signs of our humanity and of our covenant moments with God. We will look at them and remember how we have been rescued. But for the moment, all we know is we are a work in progress, held in the hands of God. Our redemption has not yet been fully realized, but we lean into the love that leads us, and all, to the fullness of life.”
~ Monty Williams, SJ, Stepping into Mystery, p. 313