“In the bulb there is a flower;
in the seed, an apple tree;
in cocoons, a hidden promise:
butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter
there's a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.
There's a song in every silence,
seeking word and melody.
There's a dawn in every darkness,
bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future;
what it holds, a mystery,
unrevealed until its season
something God alone can see...”
Natalie Sleeth (“In The Bud There Is A Flower,” 1986)
We sang this hymn last Sunday, and it's still playing inside my head. One of my singular regrets is that I cannot sing on key—in fact, unless you really like the sounds that crows make, you do not want to sit beside me in church. That's the one place that I open up and belt out the songs, for better or worse. This hymn is one of my favorites for its simplicity and transparency. Best of all, it is a song of hope.
When we, as a species, are going through dark times, it's hard to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It is easy to fall into despair; to think, as we are so fond of saying, “this is the new normal.” There is no future in that kind of thinking. Remember the words of the Buddha: “We are what we think...With our thoughts we make the world.” If we don't want this to be the new normal, we must change the way we think.
The people under siege in this world—in Syria, in Yemen, in Somalia, in Manchester, in Chicago, in Portland—and many other places where it seems that grief will never be quenched, need hope. They need for the rest of us to not give up. They need us to stand up, and speak up, and to let the powers that be know that we-the-people will not tolerate violence, and will not be drawn into hatred. Then, each of us must refuse to practice violence or hatred ourselves—not in our words, not in our deeds, not in our hearts. Our world will change when sufficient numbers of us refuse to participate in the darkness, and teach ourselves and our children to love instead of hate. We must practice hope, not resignation.
In the Spirit,