Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Psalm 10

Coping with homegrown terrorism

I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned a bit about me. Not everything, but enough to know how I cope with homegrown terrorism.

My first thought is relief that this isn’t happening to me. Definitely a way of protecting myself from the truth. Whatever steals life from someone else, steals life from me. It doesn’t matter how safe I think I am.

My second thoughts are a form of spiritual distancing: I could or would never stoop to do what that person just did.

And yet…seeds of terror are in me. Not just as a survivor, but as a perpetrator. If not in outward deeds, then in attitudes and thoughts that lead to outward behaviors. For example: Perhaps I have superior judgment and wisdom. Or a special angel that protects me from things like this.

Worse yet, I believe I could never do anything like that to another human being. Indeed, maybe I wouldn’t do it that way. Yet I know that my heart is human, given to fears, insecurity, self-sufficiency and taking advantage of others’ weaknesses. Are these not part of the picture as well?

This morning I read Nan C. Merrill’s personal re-imagining of Psalm 10. Here’s what stood out to me. Please note that I am not absolving terrorists. Rather, I’m challenged to be honest about my own struggles as I relate to other human beings and to our Creator.

Why do You seem so far from me, O Silent One?
Where do You hide when fears beset me?
I boast and strike out against those weaker than myself,
even knowing I shall be caught in a snare of my own making.

When I feel insecure, I look for pleasure,
greed grips my heart and I banish You from my life.
In my pride, I seek You not,
I come to believe, “I am the Creator of the world.”

I even prosper at times:
Your Love seems too great for me, out of my reach;
as for my fears, I pretend they do not exist.
I think in my heart, “I do not need You;
adversity will come only to others.”

My eyes watch carefully for another’s weakness,
I wait in secret like a spider in its web;
I wait that I might seize those who are weaker than myself,
draw others into my web, that I might use them to feel powerful.

….Break then the webs I have woven,
Seek out all my fears until You find not one.
You are my Beloved for ever and ever;
All that is broken within me will be made whole….
That I might live with integrity
And become a loving presence in the world!

Excerpts from Psalms for Praying, ©1996 by Nan C. Merrill
Published 2003 by The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc.

Praying your Monday is thoughtful and productive, if not always safe.
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 5 August 2019 

riding the north wind

riding the north wind
a train whistle blows my way
chasing after clouds

I heard the train whistle Friday evening when D and I were out for a late evening walk. A welcome sound, since it meant we were in for priceless cool Canadian air (no tariffs involved) over the weekend. We’re just on the tail-end now, headed back toward hot and humid.

This morning I’m sorting things on my desk, littered with yesterday’s brilliant ideas and lists of things I mustn’t forget to do. I’m also anticipating this coming Friday’s open mic night at our church. I signed on to read several more of my poems. A happy prospect.

Most of all though, I’m watching myself and our world with an eye toward heaven and an eye on the ground. This morning I read Psalm 10, a cry from the heart for justice to prevail, with the wicked caught in the very traps they made and set.

I couldn’t help thinking about George MacDonald’s At the Back of the North Wind. God sends the North Wind here and there to stir things up. Not with calm, cool or pleasant outcomes for everyone, yet always for the good of this world God still loves more than we’ll ever understand.

Below are the last two verses of Psalm 10, from Today’s English Version

You will listen, O Lord, to the
prayers of the lowly;

You will give them courage.
You will hear the cries of the
oppressed and the orphans;
You will judge in their favor,
so that mortal human beings
may cause terror
no more.

This isn’t about a magic wand. It’s about us doing with our heart, hands, ears, eyes and feet the kinds of things for which we were created. And in whatever ways we’re able. A faithful, refreshing north wind of interest and engagement is just as feasible as a self-centered north wind of greed and hatred.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 July 2018
Image of the North Wind carrying Diamond found at tor.com

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