Step by Step
And I say, "O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest."
I love the psalms. I know of no other body of literature that better encompasses the spectrum of human emotion. Athenaseus, a fourth century (CE) scholar, said that the psalms are like a mirror, reflecting the full range of human experience—in all its terrible beauty and ugliness. He is right.
Take the above verse from Psalm 55. What a poignant, powerful longing. The psalmist must be in deep anguish over something, overwhelmed by the reality of life, and aching to escape from it. Haven't we all felt that way? In the midst of pain and suffering, or anxiety and uncertainty, wouldn't we love to sprout wings and fly away?
Yet the psalmist knows that this kind of escape is impossible (hence, "O that I had wings like a dove"). All we can do is take one day, one hour, at a time, living through whatever is happening or not happening until we find some relief, some peace within the situation, not outside it.
For me, that is the hardest lesson: facing reality and living through it, step by step, grounded and centered by the loving presence of God.
Merciful God, give us grace to accept life in all its terrible beauty and sadness. We know that, invited or not, you are present with us in all things, and we are grateful. Amen.
Copyright © 2006 Margaret Jones.