Am I foolish for believing that we can create a better society? A deeper way of living through empathy? A better way to organize ourselves toward care and human flourishing?
I don’t know. It’s possible that such hopes are absolutely foolish, but I still want to believe them. I bet you do too. And if we don’t dream better, we’ll never do better.
Whether this is foolish or ultimately hopeful, I will tell you something I do believe at the core of my very being:
I believe in the Mystery of Goodness.
I believe that life finds a way.
Despite the harm we cause the earth and one another, remarkably, goodness still shows up. In fact, it is a bit of a Mystery, isn’t it? Alongside the suffering, love often finds us in completely unexpected ways. And we ourselves are empowered by strength within us and beyond us to reach out and cultivate that kind of love too.
We lean into this Mystery of Goodness –
the second chance,
the sudden surprise,
the hilarious synchronicity.
the grace received.
Life truly finds a way.
Now here’s where I make a silly nod to a movie: Remember that scene in Jurassic Park where Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jeff Goldblum’s character, discovers that the dinosaurs on the island have figured out how to procreate, even though they are all female? Biology has kicked in and created an alternative method. To the dismay other scientists, he says with annoying conviction, “Life, uh, finds a way.”
I do not deny the harsh realities of violence, trauma, and loss in our world. Sometimes pain is unleashed in ways that can never been fully rectified or fully redeemed. We ache in these moments.
And yet —
The Mystery of Goodness finds us and can fill us in sustaining ways. She gives birth to new chapters, new dreams, and new ways of being.
Do we dare hope for this?
Dreaming a Grace (Marlene Marburg)
I imagine a place
people gathering, sharing
food and conversation and
their deep desires
for the way things can be
in this world at this time
where Church is crumbling
and a new consciousness
of God in all things
(in joy and pain)
without striving to be or do anything.
I imagine listening and awakening, and holding
as precious each other
and each other’s gifts and each other’s dreams,
inviting each other to speak,
to show and tell stories,
to challenge and be challenged
by the arts,
to say what can only be spoken
in airy spaces,
to separate stifling rules and blinkered vision
from expansive love and kindness.
I imagine insight and discernment
and holy decisions and implementation.
I imagine shared prayer
and the uplifting grace of love
that won’t tolerate stinginess,
maintaining the way things have been.
I imagine leadership that enables
recedes from its own ego,
from the disabling power of self-doubt.
I imagine a ritual of reclaiming, reshaping
a communion of souls,
lifted and raised to the Mystery of God
the mystery of each other.
I imagine a quiet interior ‘yes,’
a buoyant ‘yes,’ risking the storms
which try to drown God’s feet in us.
I imagine daring and courage
until they are no longer such.
I imagine the ‘yes’ of Jesus
tipping tables and healing hearts,
the ‘yes’ disposition to all-things-God
that took him to Gethsemane.
I imagine post-resurrection people,
living the unquenchable flame.
I wonder what you imagine.
This is the fifth and final piece in a series on feminist spirituality. Feel free to check out the others as well: