Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5
There are days where this verse reflects my heart.
I find myself wondering why I focus on the things that divide us, rather than what unifies us. I know that when I feel judged for how I practice faith, I am inclined to hold judgement in my heart against those who judge me. True.
Self-awareness is a gift, and sometimes I need to weed out the defensiveness and cynicism that rises in me. Weeding is part of life!
Self-awareness also helps me to recognize the sadness I feel when people I deeply care about are polarized and posture themselves to defend rather to listen and respond with love.
How I would love to bridge the gaps that divide us, to help those who have strong views and opinions take time to listen to those who might not see their point of view.
When I listen to the wounded, I often listen to those who have been wounded with the barbs of certainty framed in Christian rhetoric. It makes me want to weep. For that is not Jesus’ way. His was the way of love, and he reserved judgement for the religious zealots.
I also listen to those strong in faith but confused by the swirling dissension among us. Often these conversations are framed in fear. I have become convinced that when we are afraid of the “other”, we lose our capacity to love, listen and understand.
I often ask myself, what is the Jesus way? He hung out with the broken, the marginalized. His disciples were a struggling lot at times. This actually encourages me. Even though I struggle with “doing it right”, I keep praying the prayer “Show me Your way.” And if there is any certainty, there is the compelling command… to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbour as ourselves. Those words of Jesus give me direction.
So I continue to live in this broken way, as I know many others do. Sometimes having more questions than answers, but living in the knowledge that God loves us. This I believe with all my heart. I live, claiming the peace that passes all understanding, knowing that I will understand someday.
I want to live with an open heart, listening to each one’s story, understanding how they are formed; often living and affected with wounds from the past. I pray for the ability to be a wounded healer, a follower of Jesus, who was wounded for us. All of us.
I am incredibly grateful for beauty all around us. I see it everyday, in the people I observe who so lovingly give of themselves. I see this in creation which speaks to me in the sky, in the flowers, in the birds, it is all around us. This is an antidote for pain.
So when I am disquieted, I look to the one who understands the full picture. I love this verse, from Isaiah 30:15. In quietness and trust is your strength.