A Prayer to Christ, My Beloved: A Reflection on Song of Solomon 2:8-13
I don’t want to write about breathing the cremains of hundreds of thousands of strong, green trees in our drive along I-80 from California home. I don’t want to think about the deaths of all the creatures, great and small, that made their homes in the burning forest. I don’t want to count up in my heart the homes lost, the livestock and pets killed, the equipment destroyed.
I don’t want to acknowledge the searing heat we are driving through, the hundreds of semi trucks on the road with us, belching exhaust into the already compromised air. I don’t want to imagine the implications of the long trains snaking across the prairie, car after car heaped with black coal. I don’t want to face my helplessness and my fear in the face of the prediction, “it’s going to be like this from now on — each summer named for a new California inferno: 2020 – The August Complex; 2021 – The Dixie Fire.”
I don’t want to draw attention to the hostility simmering just below the surface in rest stops and supermarkets as those who aren’t wearing masks eye those who are — and vice versa. I don’t want to acknowledge the numbers: this hospital 95% full, that one with only one empty bed in the ICU.
I don’t want to see the newscasts from Afghanistan. I don’t want to hear the laments of the thousands who have lost loved ones, homes, freedoms. I don’t want to contemplate the displaced, the maimed, those without water or food, in Haiti. I don’t want to know the depth of the anguish and the fear.
I don’t want to talk about it, Beloved.
But you come into my space like the gazelle, like the stag, your voice full of a heartbreaking hope. You remind me that not even the Serpent could promise humankind more than half the knowledge and wisdom of God. The other half is yours alone.
You love me into opening my eyes, opening my overwhelmed heart. You urge me into prayer. You push me into the tearing compassion that is its own anchor in a charred and broken world. You dare me to give — just one more time — and then another — never more than what I have — but sometimes all I have.
And so I come to understand that flowers and singing, the fruit of the fig tree and the fragrance of untold blossoms, happen in the quiet of each interaction in which love is passed along from one soul to another. You are in all our moments, forever.