Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stop. Listen. Wait. A Brethren poet reflects on the shootings in Arizona.

Church of the Brethren poet and licensed minister Kathy Fuller Guisewite wrote the following reflection in response to the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson, Ariz.:
Still without a full-time job,
I am roaming the house today
feeling the need to do something valuable
or at least something that is
not wasteful.
Aren’t we supposed to be productive
at all times
at all costs?
Aren’t we supposed to be
producing something,
something tangible and
monetarily significant?

And yet,
there is a deeper pull today.
It pulls toward an awareness, a vague awareness
that beckons at the edges of productivity to slow down
and lean into intention.

Our world keeps crying out
for us to lay down the cravings that
satisfy only the shallow part of self
and quench the thirst of depth,
of calling beyond word or voice
to what yearns to be born.
Can you hear it?

What is it? What is struggling to find life?
What blocks that first breath
where all that was, and all that is, and all that can be
merge together in an interlocking shout of wholeness?

Why can we not put down the guns?
Why can we not put aside our divisions?
We choose these. We choose the freedoms that take life.
And the news is filled with sorrow
all the while we force ourselves to do
the daily routines,
counting down our days until
the something more or the something better arrives.

My little dog begs to
sit in my lap.
Her warmth enhances mine,
and I should like to think
that mine enhances hers.
As we sit together, I recognize
a still intuition that leads the
the little birds to feed, the snow clouds to fill the skies,
and the afternoon light to hang low.
Somewhere in South Africa my daughter mourns something
The weeping she cannot contain.
And I wonder, how is it that we aren’t
all on our knees
weeping for what we cannot name.

There’s no unlocking the peace of tomorrow
until we stand wide-eyed to the pain of today.
This is the work we must tend.
These are the wounds we must heal.
This is the price we must pay until we return
to the first breath,
the knowing
that waits.
-- Kathy Fuller Guisewite, Jan. 10, 2011. (For more of Guisewite’s poetry go to

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