I’m terrified to write. And here’s why.

Words.

You’d think after years as a poet and a student of journalism and literature and creative writing and a newspaper columnist and freelance writer with three novels under my belt and a fourth in the editing phase, I’d be comfortable with words.

But today, I’m terrified.

Like most of you, I’ve been watching the news and the soundbites cross my social media feeds for the last week. I’ve seen friends curse worse than sailors and announce that they refuse-from-here-on-out to be friends with anyone who voted differently than they did. I saw a mother pack a suitcase for her grade school age son and kick him out of the house as he stood screaming in terror. I saw people threatening to kill police and throw rocks at them in the streets of my home town. And I saw the late night comedian sing a pop hymn through tears, and the voices of twitter and Facebook rose like an off-key choir and their collective

hallelujah

finally broke me.

Because like so many of the words filling our feeds and ears and minds this past week, their

hallelujah

is empty. A pop star dies. The media lassos his song and uses the word

hallelujah.

Redefines the word

hallelujah.

Distorts the word

hallelujah.

And the people believe they are saved by a pop song and a comedian pretending to be a candidate they thought could save them, alongside another comedian pretending to be a candidate half of the rest of the country thought could save them.

Hallelujah

is defined by Merriam-Webster–never mind the Bible–as a word used to express praise, joy, or thanks, especially to God.

HALLELUJAH

the people sing, and God,

well,

–can I have a witness here?–

I believe He weeps. I believe He looks out over humanity beating the emotional (and sometimes physical) crap out of each other in this land of milk and honey the same way Jesus looked out over Jerusalem and wept. Because the current and resounding

hallelujah

is empty, just like the words we sling at each other because we fail to see the face of the Creator in our enemies, in our neighbors, and even our friends. So yeah, I’m terrified of words right nowbecause a whole lot of people are saying a whole lot of things and nobody knows what any of it means anymore.

Love means

hate

and hope means

despair

and peace means

war

and brother means

bigot

and protest means

kill

and I am undone.

Hallelujah.

Can I at least reclaim that word?

Can I at least suggest those nine letters strung together be reserved for my Savior, your Savior, the one Savior, the only Savior, the only hope for any of us, whether we sit at a piano crying or throw stones or burn flags or vote for the wrong candidate, or whether we are simply alive and breathing, because to be alive and breathing is to be a sinner in need of grace?

Back when we actually knew what the words we were saying really meant, some wise soul coined the expression that the good Lord gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason.

Might require pulling out a dictionary, but we’d all be wise to sit and contemplate what that little phrase means for a spell.

There comes a time when a writer has to write, even if she is terrified, because the same words currently tearing us apart could, rearranged, bring us back together.

Words of hope for a hurting world.

That’s been my mission, my calling, for as long as I can remember.

So I’ll keep writing.

But I’ll sure as heck make sure to listen.

And I’ll reserve the right to sing

HALLELUJAH

for the only wise King.

 

For a time I rest. Day 1 of #25daysofgood

It’s good when work lets you go home early, while there’s still time to sit and rock on the back porch swing as the setting sun makes the golden leaves shimmer.

It’s good, as Wendell Berry says, to come into the peace of wild things.

This is the last day of the #25daysofgood series. I hope you’ve found as much joy as I have seeking out the good which transcends all the political garbage of these 25 days. And I pray this habit will continue for you in the days and weeks to come. 

Just remember that our God is sovereign. 

Our God is in charge.

And our God is so very good.

*

“I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” ~Wendell Berry


Listen to me. Day 2 of #25daysofgood

Come close and listen to me for a minute, will you, friends?

November 9 is closing in…

…and we’re all bone weary. If there’s such a thing as compassion fatigue and battle fatigue, then I think there’s such a thing as division fatigue.

I’m tired of the noise.

I’m tired of being told I should be afraid.

I’m tired of people hating each other.

I’m tired of being screamed at by people who think they’re the experts on who’s a bigot and who’s not, who’s racist and who’s not, who’s a real woman and who’s not, who’s a real American, and who’s not.

And I bet you’re tired, too.

There’s nothing uplifting about shame, after all.

And shame is what the media and politicians and progressive culture have been saturating us with, so much that we hardly noticed the leaves turned color and the nights turned cooler and the moon still hangs over us as we sleep.

I took this picture of my church’s steeple today, sharp and edgy as a dagger against the brilliant morning sky.

And I realized that every time I lean in to the fear, I lean away from the Lord.

Every time I believe the shame, I trust God less.

Every time I listen to the voices telling us we’re irreconcilably different, I negate the voice of the Holy Spirit which tells us we are, each one of us, Beloved.

Dear friends, listen to me.

Every time we choose to believe that an election will save us, we deny that only the Lord can do that.

Every time we consider one person can deliver us, we deny that only a Savior can do that.

Every time we think a candidate or a party or an ideology will resurrect hope, we deny that only Jesus can do that.

In a collection of hours, essentially one half of the country will think that the election results mean they are rejected, disenfranchised, lost, hopeless, and doomed.

And essentially, they will be all those things, if that’s where they place their trust.

But if you know the Lord, then you know better.

If you know the Lord, then you know the stories in the Bible that show time after time and generation after generation, He is sovereign over rulers and nations.

If you know the Lord, then you know He has His hand on His people.

If you know the Lord, you know that the neighbor, co-worker, friend, store clerk, and Facebook friend who voted different from you is not different than you. 

If you know the Lord, you know that the healing our country has to do starting November 9 will happen not because of who is elected but because you and I choose to see each other as Beloved. 

On this second to last day of #25daysofgood, my church is good.

Because my God is good.

What’s your good today?

“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

_______________

What’s YOUR good?

🔎 Find the good.

📸 Snap a picture.

📲 Share it on social media.

#25daysofgood