I have a confession: I don’t watch the news, even now, especially now. But somehow last week, after a Youtube program finished, the NBC barged in, all elbows and shouting. Good grief. Not to diminish what is happening but stranger things are happening yet.
I will comply, keep my distance, wash and wipe as decreed. But, as the punch line in the anecdote about the child ordered to sit down by an exasperated parent concludes, “I will sit, but I’m standing on the inside.”
Hope Rises Enough with fear and dread - leave off the constant sorrow of the world. This cannot be submerged. It bubbles to the surface persistent as a spring. The evenings’ news is solemn stuff indeed and all man's woes. But the giddy trill of brook on stone cannot be stilled while all creation fiddles. Collapse and contagion are real, not to mention global warming. But the melody rings louder yet and must not denied. So I follow, so I dance. Gravity decrees, You must descend. I shall plunge from the cliff – laughing and jubilant - into the welcoming arms of my lover.
My addiction to reading novels, escaping reality into another’s story, began benignly enough. What parent decries a child bringing home stacks of books from the library? Like all addictions though it began to exert control – why study when beauty, nobility, peace, and love – everything my hungry heart cried out for, could be found so easily between the covers of a book? Why take on any challenge? Why leave my room when there were whole worlds to discover safe in my cocoon?
I had not yet learned discernment so I consumed much chaff along with the wheat. But a scene from Elizabeth Goudge’s, Green Dolphin Country (which I read when I was 16), stayed with me.
There were several worthy themes in that novel, which is set in the late 1800’s in both the Channel Islands and New Zealand. The scene that had such impact on me, the sentence that intrigued me, took place during one of the Maori uprisings when Samuel, a loving and gentle pastor/missionary was dragged to the top of a cliff to be thrown off it. The native men respected him enough to allow his one request. He disdained to be thrown but “…ran from the cliff like a bride going to meet her groom…” – the line which inspired this poem.
That’s probably not an exact quote – I loaned my copy to a friend. And I never understood why that scene gripped me so until I re-read the book years later, after I had decided to follow Jesus. Then, the book’s strong theme of sacrifice fell into place for me, like the tumblers in a complex lock.