the location of objects by reflected sound, in particular that used
by animals such as dolphins and bats.
To be a person
of faith, is to consent
to life lived blind as a bat,
to be a people of light
walking in darkness.
Faith will teach you
what you need to know
about soaring at night,
listening for the echo
of your own prayers
reverberating back to you.
The way forward is revealed,
always, in relation to the
place where you are.
I recently read an article in Presence, an international journal of Spiritual Direction, in which author Susan Phillips describes learning to listen to God and self as being similar to echolocation – the navigational technique used by bats, whales and dolphins (“Navigating the Depths: Spiritual Direction in a Shallow Culture”). I found this to be a fascinating concept to explore. This short poem is the first fruits of my exploration.
My experience of God’s leading is most often one of darkness – being led in ways I cannot see and learning to be led without sight. I wrote two poems about this last year. The first, Seeing in the Dark, came out of our experience of finding and losing (and then finding again) the house of our dreams and was inspired by the images of Billy training Little Ann and Old Dan to hunt in Where the Red Fern Grows. A second poem, Bloodhound, was born last summer after learning about Bloodhounds at the kids’ summer library program. Did you know that the folds of skin on a Bloodhound’s face serve to cover its eyes so it won’t be visually distracted while following a scent?
In our anxious culture and in my own anxious heart there’s a heightened focus on the need for certainty in order to move forward. For us, the sense of sight is a dominate image for certainty, as in “I saw it with my own two eyes.” Yet scripture describes the life of faith quite differently, as confidence and hope based in things that exist beyond out own limited sight:
So we do not lose heart . . . because we look not at what can be seen, but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. So we are always confident . . . for we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Cor 4:16, 18; 5:7)
May you be blessed, friends, with occasional bouts of blindness so that walking by faith, you will learn to be led with confidence in the dark.
I have a few brief announcements to share today. I want to first thank each of you for your contributions to this community and to invite you to continue spreading the word about #SmallWonder and commenting on and sharing the work of other writers. My hope is that we will be a group that is deep in its connection and support.
Second, I want to let you know that Jody Ohlsen Collins has decided to step back in helping to coordinate #SmallWonder as she focuses on some new ventures of her own – including an exciting writer’s retreat offering coming this fall on the West Coast.
Thirdly, I noticed last week that Makes You Mom, a new website full of thoughtful reflections about mothering is hosting a weekly link-up this summer around habits of self-care. Follow the link to see a list of topics – the first link-up begins this Friday. I’m excited to join the conversation because of my own poor track-record and conflicted feelings about self care. Won’t you join me?
* * *
Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.
What if we chose to deliberately look for the small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God?
That’s my proposal – that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days.
You’re invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder. Don’t worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right – you’re welcome to come as you are.
While you’re here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.