Tag Archives: fear

but all it takes

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it’s a great fear we all have, of course
that silence that is so sharp it cuts the breath somewhere  between our guts and our lips
people can hear us swallow when nothing is in our mouths
and the rattling of the air vents, or the cicadas, or the clock in the kitchen becomes ridiculously loud

and because we all fear those moments
we often leave the conversation safely above the grit of our worlds
above the fears we have about how we are seen
above the dreams we have about the things we could do
above the loneliness we hear as they speak about their lives
above the hopelessness that seems a bit stronger than the chance for something better

and because we fear those moments
where we’ve said something that can’t be handled
or because we’ve asked something that no one else has thought to ask
or because we think something we’ve all been told cannot be thought
because we fear that if we were to say it, ask it or think it
we would lose our breath
they would hear our spit
the clocks in the other rooms would get loud
we stay silent
we don’t say it
we don’t ask it
we don’t think it

and because we
the icons of the morning star
are afraid to speak and ask and think
the darkness continues.

but all it takes is a word.

djordan
Pine Tree Dr.

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from the archives | a time for everything

 

In reflecting on the upcoming one-year anniversary of mosthopeful.com on August 23, I’m throwing some of the posts that readers have looked at the most back into the mix. Thanks for allowing me the space. It’s been a most humbling experience. This post is especially important to me, as it was a moment of honoring the pain and struggle of the year before, and then celebrating––in advance––what waited in the year ahead.

There were conversations that evening about how we would learn from the ridiculous pains and struggles of the year, and move toward the kingdom with new insight, and new scars, into the future.

A few weeks after that party (talked about below), I was sitting with in Stellenbosch with some of my favorite people in all the world, and I began talking with a friend from London, living and working in Cape Town, about how victories and happy memories are honored with parties thrown and anniversaries given, but the painful experiences and struggles are only valued once we come up with “reasons” for why they happened.

She mentioned, feet in the chilly water at a campsite in Stellenbosch, that we ought honor the painful landmarks in our history as well as the ones we naturally celebrate. The party thrown at the beginning of this year was an opportunity to celebrate and to mourn what had been, and to look with great expectation toward the future, knowing that God is working through his people in his world toward the kingdom.

So, another top-viewed post from the archives…

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View the original post and comments from January 8, 2012

 

a time for everything

 

It is with great joy that I enter 2012.

2011 was filled with pain, loss, struggle, sadness, anxiety, and anger.

The year overall was one of seeing the best of circumstances end up as the worst of possible outcomes.

And yet through each season and struggle, there has been tearful laughter, growing community, deeper honesty, brave introspection, and tenuous hope.

And it all feels a little closer to the truth. A little closer to telling the truth.

To others.

To myself.

To the part of all of us that tries to close our eyes to what we know the painful truth is sometimes.

There are times when everything in me wants to arrange my circumstances in ways that hope for the best; those same times, if I were being honest with myself and those around me, I would instead be anticipating the worst. Before this year, I think I’ve tried to push everything, no matter the truth, into a single season.

As if allowing ONLY a season for birth, and then trying to translate death into birth in order to make sense of it.

As if allowing ONLY a season for building, and then trying to add on to things that needed only to be torn all the way down.

As if allowing ONLY a season for embracing, and then awkwardly trying to embrace when I should have refrained from doing so.

As if allowing ONLY a season for speaking out, and then trying to explain why I couldn’t be silent if I had wanted to.

The pain of 2011 has made important room for fall and winter. There is a need and space for dying, for tearing down, for refraining from embrace, for remaining silent. A season for these things.

And in the spaces made from telling the truth about our winters, spring comes on the heels. The ground is made soft, the legs become limber, the imagination becomes ready, and things begin to take root, people begin to dance and build again.

And so here’s to the new year, filled with possibilities for both celebration and mourning. Life and death. Dancing and weeping. Building and tearing down.

And an insistence on the holiness of both––on telling the truth about both–to ourselves and others.

For everything there is season.

djordan
Pine Tree Dr.

 

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what we do not know

There’s a fear of what we do not know.

We stand here, looking at what is behind us.
We know clearly what we hope carries into the days ahead,
and what we hope can be left here, in what has already been.

We can speak clearly and eloquently about
what does not belong in the way things should be,
But our tongue becomes tired and slurred with
what it is we hope for in the world and ways ahead.

And it is here
that we realize
we are afraid of what we do not know
we are afraid of where we have not been
we are afraid of what we cannot imagine

And yet, in our deepest gut on our best days
we know that where we are comfortable
is not where we have been called
we know that where we are safe
is not where we engage as we have been made to engage

So we find ourselves praying for courage
So we find ourselves hoping for vision
So we find ourselves putting down ambition

And we hope to find ourselves courageous
And we hope to find ourselves imaginative
And we hope to find ourselves obedient

And we take one step at a time
into the new world
we fear because it is made of things we do not know

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the risk of narrowing the voices

asking questions, freedom, safety, church, power

Choosing a paint color is one thing; seeking the truth is another.

One of my favorite lines of Madeleine L’Engle’s is, not in quotations because I can’t remember where it was, that God does not need our protection, and welcomes as many questions as we can dream up.

And I’ve noticed in the meantime that we are at risk not only of taking other people’s answers for truth, but also of taking other people’s advice on what the questions are to be asking in the first place. When our questions are guided, we are of course lead to certain answers from certain narrowed voices.

When we narrow the voices, we weaken our ability to discern at all. In thinking throughout history of all the situations and all those power and all those in the church, even, who have been led in obedience because they trust that someone else is doing the discerning, it is horrifying. We mistake proclaimed expertise for due diligence, and we are left unthinkingly joining in protection of the status quo.

Stifled questions means stifled dialogue, and it is in dialogue that progress is born and we get a little closer to the truth we are all of us after. Dialogue requires broad voices rather than a single voice, and there is perhaps no doubt in the promise that where two or more are gathered, there is something more true and holy present and happening.

I’ve been reading, this time by choice, the book that we long ago read in high school by mandate: Fahrenheit 451. I remembered thinking at the time that how ridiculous the notion was that people would be told what to read and what not to read, and that reading and thinking off of an approved list could result in death.

Book burning followed driven by those in charge, under the guise of protecting humanity from dangerous thought. Children then came up into families never knowing the art of book reading, thinking, questioning, debating, creating and imagining.

I thought it foolish then, but it doesn’t seem so foolish now. In fear of discerning many voices, we seek to narrow them down to the ones we know, or the ones we have been told to agree with: the approved book list. To read past the first page of another voice becomes treacherous and intimidating, because we wont know what to do with another line of thought. And so, as encouraged, we don’t think anymore. We ask the questions we’ve been told to ask and take the answers we’ve been given.

If we idolize those speaking or writing, or simply take their words, we aren’t able to listen to multiple voices because we have challenged the ability for the spirit to work in community, and given authority to some single voice.

With broad voices, however, we learn the art of listening and asking, hearing and being heard. With broad voices we learn how experience shapes understanding, and how injustice and power breed certain lines of thought. We learn where we are blind, and where we are gifted. With broad voices, we think enough to welcome for dinner a Boo Radley or a Hester Prynne. With broad voices,  the combination of these truly human acts yields compassion and humility.

I’ve been in meetings where a million voices made it impossible to choose a paint color, and it has indeed been a nightmare.

I’ve also been in meetings where power is used to beg discussion, criticism, thoughtfulness, ideas, questions, dreams and disagreement…none of which should be mistaken for disunity…and it has been a beautiful and community-affirming endeavor.

There’s a difference between choosing a paint color and seeking the truth.

And what have we to fear if it’s the truth we’re after together.

djordan
Pine Tree

OTHER RELATED POSTS | BECAUSE YOU DID NOT ASK, FEAR OF THE WEAK AMONG US

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