The whole world is grieving under the weight of the losses of this year. The coronavirus has reached every place on earth except Antarctica. In our country, it is the 3rd leading cause of death, with about 1,000 souls a day. Millions of acres of forests, farms and towns are burning in California, Oregon, and Washington. Hurricanes and repeated flooding threaten even more people. Financial, racial, and political tensions have up-ended families, churches, and communities. So much grief, and no real opportunity to properly mourn together. I came across this poem this week by Maya Angelou, who was raised in Sparks, Arkansas.
When Great Trees Fall
When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder, lions hunker down in tall grasses, and even elephants lumber after safety. When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile. We breathe, briefly. Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity. Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks never taken.
Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us. Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened. Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away. We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves.
And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed. Copyright © 2015 by The Estate of Maya Angelou.
Isaiah reminds us that our Messiah “is a man of sorrows who knows our grief.” By faith I believe that one day we will gather at church again to worship, pray, sing and even share our accumulating grief. Until that day, weary as we have become, we press on, step by step. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. You are a great soul. And let’s experience the love and power of God together while apart.