It feels a bit like a fairy tale but we don’t yet know who will get their happy ending. Not everyone in fairy tales gets their happy ending. There is evil lurking in the woods and when we least expect him he can leap out and catch us, teeth bared, drooling for his next meal, struggling to hold us, keep us terrified and afraid to fight back against what appears to be a hopeless battle.
He comes at any time.
To all of us.
His name is FEAR.
Yet, we still walk in the woods. We find God there among the trees and flowers, among the moss covered rocks and pine strewn floors. Among the wildlife. Under sunny skies hidden by a canopy of green or glimpses of stormy clouds.
Among the darkness.
The stars barely visible remain unseen reflections of the light that never leaves us despite its absence to our unseeing eyes.
The Light of the world remains. The God who is present in the woods, present in the darkness, the Living Light, the Spirit that hovers and covers, weeps mourns, loves and listens. Never absent.
I am scared. Anyone who isn’t hasn’t yet read the fairy tale. The Wolf is waiting and he could be anywhere. I worry about my husband, my children, my grandchildren, my friends. I don’t want to lose anyone I love. I’m not ready to go. The wolf preys mostly on those who can’t run as quickly, who are more vulnerable, but he’s partial to none. Young doctors and nurses have been eaten and maimed, those who work in the darkness providing a lamp for the rest of us.
I’m really terrified about the economy. The poor getting poorer. My husband I without any savings or retirement, hoping some day for a bit more rest to become a chapter in the ending of our fairy tale, or a home we’re secure in. For a whole society who lives paycheck to paycheck and have or are losing paychecks, this is beyond scary.
I’ve responded to many large scale natural and man-made disasters. I hate the Wolf. I’ve responded to many places he has wreaked havoc. I’ve heard the stories and comforted thousands. I would rather not hear even one more story of death, see any more extreme poverty.
But I will. Willingly.
With open hands and open heart.
Because the Wolf will. Passionately. With teeth bared.
I will because the Light always exposes the Fear. The glimmer is the advent of the glare. The Wolf prefers the dark and cover of night where Fear remains strong and unchallenged.
A path is always provided. Sometimes around the bend, out of sight.
Just beyond the NOW.
Still waters that rest our souls. We are called to be human. To see humanity. To know somewhere through the next thicket are others far worse off than we are, struggling to survive, struggling to find a crumb, struggling to breathe.
Sometimes we are simply powerless. Like Christ on the cross we must walk the path of wisdom and then willingly surrender to what will be.
Some will be caught by the Wolf. Some will remain free of his grasp. Some will be rescued by others willing to lay down their lives. The Light of the Woods remains, the stars continue to shine, and we are swept up beside still waters that whisper “when you’re afraid, trust Me (Ps. 56:3)
A pandemic during Lent. The pain of suffering, the darkness of death, the quiet of alone-ness, the cessation of group worship, the unstable economy, the losses of life as we know it, the fear of what is, what will be. The emotions that Jesus experienced during his life, his Lent, his Garden, his personal crucidemic. He lived out the evil desperate fairy tale ending revealing how to embrace the power of his healing and love.
Compassionate Love made new.
Sometimes we are simply powerless. Like Christ on the cross we must walk the path of wisdom, do what we can to alleviate the suffering of others and ourselves and willingly surrender to being fully human and fully alive.
That is our fairy tale ending.