Thursday, April 01, 2021

Spiritual Journey Thursday: All Things New, NPM Spring Cleaning Day 1, John O'Donnell


In addition to being Spiritual Journey Thursday, today is also the first day of National Poetry Month. I love NPM every year, and it does give me a joyful, springy sort of feeling of newness. So I'm going to attempt to write one post that does double duty for SJT and NPM. (Karen Eastlund is rounding up our SJT contributions here.) My NPM theme this year is Spring Cleaning, and you'll see why later in the post.

When I first saw the topic assigned for this month, I wasn't feeling any springy newness. Instead I was feeling sad and overwhelmed by a lot of difficult things, in my life and in the life of Haiti, the country where I live. When I thought about things being made new, I wondered how that could possibly happen in the situations I was fretting over.

I have often heard people say, "God will make all things new, not all new things." In other words, making all things new refers to redemption, not destroying everything that is already here and replacing it with new stuff. As I thought about this in the context of the sad things I was dealing with, I realized that it gives a lot of hope.

What do I mean by this? Maybe it's easier to say what I don't mean. I don't mean that people who have suffered will say, "Boy, I sure am glad for all that suffering!" I don't mean that God caused bad things to happen so that, abracadabra, He could bring good out of it. I don't mean that there's some sort of easy lesson that comes out of every trial. I once heard a speaker say that he had learned that he could identify what lesson he was supposed to be learning from an experience, and then he could go straight to the lesson and skip the suffering. Hmm. Nope. I don't mean that either.

What I mean is simply that God is a God of healing, of love, and of redemption. 

The other day, a good friend ended our conversation with, "God can redeem even this." I couldn't see how, but I knew she was right. He can, and I believe He will. 

This year for National Poetry Month, I am Spring Cleaning my open tabs (the poetic ones) on my desktop, posting about them so that I can close them. Here's a poem I saved from the Irish Times back in April of 2020, in which John O'Donnell started cautiously imagining a post-pandemic future, a time when there would be redemption. Will things be different in that future? It remains to be seen.


by John O'Donnell


And when this ends we will emerge, shyly
and then all at once, dazed, longhaired as we embrace
loved ones the shadow spared, and weep for those
it gathered in its shroud. A kind of rapture, this longed-for
laying on of hands, high cries as we nuzzle, leaning in
to kiss, and whisper that now things will be different,

Here's the rest. 


This is the ninth year of the Progressive Poem! See the schedule below to find where to go for today's line and to see who's participating this year.

April 1 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method at
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All



Fran Haley said...

Dear Ruth: Redemption is my favorite of literary and life themes. It is all about hope, and newness, buying back, restoring. You illustrate that ket understanding so well. Spring is a hinting of redemption. Earth's remembering, for a moment, a time before it was broken. The O'Donnell poem touches my heart in deep places - thank you for all of this.

Karen Eastlund said...

Thank you for your thoughts, Ruth. May problems untangle and blessings unfold. I love the O'Donnell poem, it speaks of such longing. Take care...

Linda Mitchell said...

I love your take on the prompt. I wasn't feeling it either back when it was announced/reminded. But, with the help of a community of friends I believe there is renewal and redemption and I am finding my way back to the love. Thank you, Ruth.

Julieanne said...

Your reflection leaves me hopeful. That is what redemption offers. It's what keeps us going in the face of all that seems the opposite. Glimmers of light that the O'Donnell poem offers: the hope to the future nostalgia of pandemic days gone.

Margaret Simon said...

I think we have many of the same beliefs, Ruth. All of your don'ts resonated with me. I believe in redemption, in resurrection; however, I do not believe it is the reason for suffering. The new is from a God who stands beside us in our suffering. I look forward to this month full of great poetry.

Carol Varsalona said...

Ruth, there is such poetic goodness in your post today. I found reading it a healing for me who has been mired in stress during these past months. God is offering healing, hope, and redemption makes me feel renewed. The O'Donnell poem offers time to reflect on what has passed and what can be. Let's hope that we will feel the warmth of God's love in new ways this Easter weekend.

Ramona said...

Thanks for your thoughtful post, Ruth. These words resonated with me: "God is a God of healing, of love, and of redemption." The O'Donnell poem was an added gift. I printed it for my notebook.