The thin crayon line

We enter the close of 2011 as members of a nation with very clear dividing lines: red state/blue state, pro-this/anti-that, a worldview of cynicism/a worldview of hope. Now, during what we once called Christmastime but now call the holiday season— correction, the holiday shopping season (apparently the only thing we could agree on was the imperative of buying stuff)— we navigate the stark divide between those who find the Christmas story to be as real as the spark of light in a baby’s first smile and those who dismiss it as nothing but an old folk tale clung to by simpletons. How, if God made us to be His children, have we become so divided…. from Him, and from each other? In her book New Tracks, Night Falling, Jeanne Murray Walker shares a poem that speaks to this quite beautifully.

We Have Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

There were days heaven seemed easy.
Days it came right down,
drifting into my hair like pollen.
Then it seemed natural to pray.
Then everyone showed up in my prayer.
Talking was prayer, unlocking the door was. In those days,
I was all praise and thank you’s,
without even moving my lips.

People will die for less—
to be taken into the sky like that,
to walk as the holy do, without
exegegis, without needing to explain.

the clouds about Chestnut Street
have clicked shut, locking us out.
One day we have a hunch. Next day
a grudge divides us.

Oh, to live before we made
separations our thesis. As if
a child had drawn a line with a crayon:
here’s the sky, here’s the earth,
here’s a woman, here’s everything else.
Its name is Enemy.

Longing for reconciliation in this season of hope,

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