Soul Work

Such a Time as This

“Courage and optimism are your best traits,” reads a fortune from a Chinese restaurant years ago. I’ve kept it so long because it speaks to my best self. Even so, on my dark days, I despair. I know you don’t need me to list everything that sends me to the depths because I think you feel them as well as I do. They’re like tall ghouls laughing at our puny hopes and futile attempts to bring order to the chaos in the world.


Be still. Stop. Breathe. Look out the window. Remember whose world this is, and how you came to be in it. We have been in a near constant state of war for years now, so imagining a different approach to global problems seems impossible. But that’s what God calls us to do: imagine a different way for events to unfold, for people to engage with others. What is the faith that makes this possible? Waiting and walking with God. When we wait upon God, God draws near to us.


Clarissa P. Estes emboldened many with her 2004 essay. She said, “We were made for these times….do not lose hope….Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul…will help immensely.”


While the talk of walls and hate preys on our fears, I watch a robin’s nest outside my window with three hardy babies straining to fly. The strongest one is jumping and trying to flex his wings while his siblings still sit with their mouths wide open for the parent’s next visit. Yesterday a murder of crows was flying about, gathering strength and calling for others to join forces. I went out with a broom to ward off any attack that might come to this nest tucked on the joist beneath our deck. Only one or two robbers flew over the house, but I was at the ready to wave them off.


This is a time for the courage to imagine different ways to engage with the world far beyond us, or right in our back yard, with our friends and allies. This is soul work. Soul work requires that we rely on God’s promises. If we wait upon the Lord, we will renew our strength, even fly like eagles. [Isaiah 40:31] How can we resist? It may be our only way to refrain from spreading the gloom.

6 thoughts on “Such a Time as This”

  1. My name, Atit, given to me by my spiritual teacher, means beyond or past. Combined it signifies getting beyond my past and moving forward into the mystery. Can there be a reality where we
    ar and violence do not lead the way. I’m counting on this possibilityguidanc and,therefor, heading in that direction by
    letting that path be the one I walk nceon with hope and guida


  2. Hang in there….I know what you mean. A lot in this world seems like chaos to our finite minds as humans. God in His/Her infinite wisdom sees all.


  3. Just one more….the mid to late 1970’s were a challenge as I was gradually coming out, but my strict fundamentalist background was a block (loving him but desiring her). But, at a church retreat in 1974, I came across Habukuk chapter 3, and it has stuck with me ever since, good times and bad (especially the very rocky time I had earlier this year, 2016):
    Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
    though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
    though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
    yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
    The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    and carries me safely over the mountain (my paraphase).


  4. Lovely. I look forward to your insightful posts. And today, I finally learned the attribution and original words for the quote I’ve carried and repeated with alteration for years – likely heard from one of your sermons: “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul…will help immensely.” Mend the part of the world that is within reach every day – that is an act each of us can accomplish. I repeat and share this often. Thank you, peace and love.


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