I love this poem for so many reasons.  It is brutally honest about the struggles we have as we look at life around us and all that we don't understand. Yet it also comes back around to the tenaciousness of God, the God who will not leave us alone because He loves us.

In appreciation of Maxim Gorky at the International Convention of Atheists, 1929

Like Gorky, I sometimes follow my doubts

outside to the yard and question the sky,

longing to have the fight settled, thinking

I can’t go on like this, and finally I say

all right, it is improbable, all right, there

is no God. And then as if I’m focusing

a magnifying glass on dry leaves, God blazes up.

It’s the attention, maybe, to what isn’t there

that makes the emptiness flare like a forest fire

until I have to spend the afternoon dragging

the hose to put the smoldering thing out.

Even on an ordinary day when a friend calls,

tells me they’ve found melanoma,

complains that the hospital is cold, I say God.

God, I say as my heart turns inside out.

Pick up any language by the scruff of its neck,

wipe its face, set it down on the lawn,

and I bet it will toddle right into the godfire

again, which—though they say it doesn’t

exist—can send you straight to the burn unit.

Oh, we have only so many words to think with.

Say God’s not fire, say anything, say God’s

a phone, maybe. You know you didn’t order a phone,

but there it is. It rings. You don’t know who it could be.

You don’t want to talk, so you pull out

the plug. It rings. You smash it with a hammer

till it bleeds springs and coils and clobbery

metal bits. It rings again. You pick it up

and a voice you love whispers hello.
— Staying Power, Jeanne Murray Walker

Hopefully it will remind you today that the God we struggle to understand is also the voice we love who whispers hello.

Jeff KuhnComment