God Is God.
Lately we’ve had some very creepy weather here in northern Colorado. The sky is brown, the air chilly, and the sun is cherry red at midday. It’s impossible to keep the smell of smoke out of the house.
This is a time when we all are learning about being helpless. The tiny virus that passes invisibly from one human to another, that waits for the tiniest letting down of vigilance to spread, and for which there is still no vaccine has changed our lives dramatically. The fires raging and spreading across the western United States, jumping fire lines and refusing to be subdued, have cowed us. And the pandemic of distrust, fear, and open hostility that has flooded us worldwide, but especially here in this country, has forced me, at least, to realize I have no easy answers for discord of this magnitude other than prayer.
Lots of people in the world have lived with a level of helplessness and fear that far exceeds mine. In war-torn countries where bombing has destroyed their homes and cities or powerful enemies have driven them into hiding or forced exile, people endure somehow. I haven’t been pried away from my children. I haven’t watched them slaughtered in front of me. I haven’t lived in a cave or floated into a vast, dangerous ocean on a homemade raft. So I feel a little silly and more than a little privileged as I face the disorienting changes in my life. And yet I feel it is important for me to grieve.
So I have been allowing myself to bring my aggrieved heart to God in age-old questioning that comes straight from the inner kid. “Where are you?” I ask. “Why are you letting this happen?” The questions themselves bring a tide of tears and relief. In a way there is never an answer to them, except, of course, for Job’s answer. But they put me in relationship with my creator from the place within that is most in need.
Today I find comfort in our psalm of the day. Psalm 19 sings
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Sweeter than honey — more desirous than gold. Yes, even in this unholy smoke I can feel that. No matter what, God is God. God is with us: the spark of love and beauty, the wind of compassion, the quiet, rooted wisdom at the core of our hearts.
And that reminds me that, even though I am helpless over so many things, I can be in the moment with God. I can choose, moment by moment, what impulses and values to listen to within my heart. I can choose gratitude. I can choose compassion. I can allow the deep mystery of the Holy One to speak through me into the world.