To Live in the Mercy of God

Dear friends, I’ve been grasping at words for the last few weeks, but I haven’t found them yet. I’m still working to order and make sense of my time overseas. What does it mean? How will it shape my choices moving forward? And how will I deal with the strange psychology of grocery shopping in America?

I might go silent for a time as I transition back into life in my old city and settle into my new job. Know that I am happy and grateful for the crazy journey I’m on. Be it in Africa, Scotland or Chicago, I am very much leaning into the mercy of Issa salamualina (Jesus, his peace be upon us).

When I don’t have words, I often turn to my favorite poets. This is a poem that touched me tonight and I want to leave it with you.

To Live in the Mercy of God

By Denise Levertov

To lie back under the tallest
oldest trees. How far the stems
rise, rise
               before ribs of shelter
                                           open!

To live in the mercy of God. The complete
sentence too adequate, has no give.
Awe, not comfort. Stone, elbows of
stony wood beneath lenient
moss bed.

And awe suddenly
passing beyond itself. Becomes
a form of comfort.
                      Becomes the steady
air you glide on, arms
stretched like the wings of flying foxes.
To hear the multiple silence
of trees, the rainy
forest depths of their listening.

To float, upheld,
                as salt water
                would hold you,
                                        once you dared.                  .

To live in the mercy of God.

To feel vibrate the enraptured
waterfall flinging itself
unabating down and down
                              to clenched fists of rock.
Swiftness of plunge,
hour after year after century,
                                                   O or Ah
uninterrupted, voice
many-stranded.
                              To breathe
spray. The smoke of it.
                              Arcs
of steelwhite foam, glissades
of fugitive jade barely perceptible. Such passion—
rage or joy?
                              Thus, not mild, not temperate,
God’s love for the world. Vast
flood of mercy
                      flung on resistance.

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