The Rev. Nancy E. Gossling
Sometimes I get confused. I listen to a group of people and learn that what I heard was completely different from others. Or I make assumptions and discover that they are totally wrong. I see something from a very different perspective and begin to wonder about myself. Am I out of touch with reality?
How do I find my way in times of confusion? Occasionally, I’ll plow ahead, testing my truths. I gather more information. I take some risks. I say to myself, “I’ve nothing to lose so WTF?” Other times, I’ll pull up a chair, sit down, and enter into the silence. "Okay," I ask God, “What’s Up?”
Of course, God always responds. Sometimes God booms from above, like a clap of thunder. With an encouraging cry God says, “Right. WTF!” Other times, God answers my question with the same question, “What’s up?” I guess God needs to gather more information too.
Yesterday I told God that I was confused; and God responded with two poems. In “Fateful Days” by Hermann Hesse God told me that even though occasionally my “days turn gray and the world looks cold and unkind, (my) tentative, tender, timid trust is then thrust back on itself. When there is no further way forward and (my) old life has lost its luster, (my) faith will find new paths to new heavens never dreamt of.” What’s up? I think God told me (again!) that my faith in God is an answer to my confusing life, but that my trust is currently tentative, tender, and timid….like a new shoot on an old sycamore tree.
The poem “In Memory: Ivan Illich” by Wendell Berry provided another answer. “The creek flows full over the rocks after lightning, thunder, and heavy rain. Its constant old song rises under the still unblemished green, new leaves of old sycamores that have so far withstood the hardest flows.” “Trust God but tie your camel to a tree” said the old sycamore tree. “The creek is full of rocks on its sandy bed but you know where they lie and you remember how they got there.” I could see that the water flows full and freely after the storm. “WTF,” said God. “Jump in!”The tender, new, and green leaves are beginning to sprout from the trunk of that old sycamore tree. I can see old life and new life integrated into one. While the tree is shedding its fall foliage into the rushing stream below, the colorful leaves cry out, “Let go and let God” with carefree abandon. Beside the tree was a freshly dug grave where the fingers of two hands were beginning to emerge from the recently tilled soil. It is the night of the living dead, and resurrection life is just beginning. And the One on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.”