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Like spent fire-works, emptiness stings consciousness; it creates new space and raises questions: whether to distract empty hearts or to reframe empty scenarios more congenial to our tastes or to accept what is, with grace. Multiple experiences of loss have always demand change, with subsequent satiation and depletion—The cycle is endemic to human nature.

At the same time, emptiness activates the multi-faces of grief today, and there is much to grieve about: the global pandemic and death, the cancel culture, CRT, little people smarting under dictatorships, the physically and spiritually malnourished, psychic unrest dulled with substances, the rancor of political divisions, the killings, and so much more. Such angst can undermine the still small voice within our depths; though not heard at times, we are never alone, even in the midst of dire suffering. It’s about humility, about accessing empowerment when all seems lost.

The Psalmist knew this as well as Job and they thrived; through them, we learn that life brilliances with unimaginable depths and shores up the faint of heart. We remain in God’s hands, no matter what’s coming down around us …

May, too, has its own snow, in the form of white seeded-fluff outside my study window; whispering breezes inch it along until lost in the grass or shrubs. Such transient beauty reminds me of long walks along the nearby creek where cottonwood trees flourish, the females yielding their seeds along the moist bank. Their heart-shaped leaves formed dense shade that often hushed me for the expected communion—It happened, amidst soft insects heralding life and tangled vines, immobile, from overhanging branches.

As spring’s cycle wanes the cottonwood seeding continues, littering the shredded seeds of oaks, maples, tulip trees mashed in gutters and sidewalks. From such destruction, greenness now wears a fresh fullness that will mature until stifled by harsh temperatures during the long months ahead.

Despite the stressed appearance of the natural world, new seeding, though buried, will again restore color to winter’s world. This remains our hope, and never has it been frustrated. 

So, too, with our bodies’ waning and death. Within it, we carry the seed of Eternal Life.

This morning’s dank chill feels like the inside of a sea-monster where the hapless prophet Jonah spent three days and three nights, in angst with Yahweh, over his disobedience. This image speaks to periodic descents into grief, and like Jonah, when I’ve had enough, Yahweh spews me upon the shore: my confinement is over, until the next time and the next lesson of letting go.

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