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Field of flowers

The Place Where We Are Right

I was recently on a zoom Lectio Divina with friends in Colorado, Kansas, and Oregon (gotta love the expansiveness of Zoom!) The poem for reflection led to a fruitful discussion of those places in which we feel we are right.

The Place Where We Are Right” by Yehuda Amichai
From the place where we are right 
Flowers will never grow
In the spring.


The place where we are right

Is hard and trampled
Like a yard.


But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plow,
And whisper will be heard in the place

Where the ruined
House once stood. 

Being right gives us a sense of control. Now granted, sometimes we are right in our thoughts, beliefs and actions. And sometimes we are just rigid in our thoughts, beliefs, and actions and the harder someone tries to change our mind, the deeper in we dig.

From the place where we are right 
Flowers will never grow
In the spring.


The place where we are right

Is hard and trampled
Like a yard.

What is the poet saying? Where we are right, flowers won’t grow? The ground is hard and trampled? Well, that can’t be right? Shouldn’t that place be a lush green with lots of flowers and sunshine and all that kind of good stuff? I know I’m right, dang it! As we stomp our feet. Oh wait. Maybe the poet has a point.

How can doubts and love dig up the world? I mean, love can definitely break ground, but doubts? Come on, that just doesn’t make any sense. If we doubt what good does that do? Don’t we need to stand firm in our beliefs and not be a wishy, washy Charlie Brown character asking questions of life?

When I retired, a wise older friend told me to always stay curious. Staying curious opens up the mind to the unexpected, new awareness, learning more about the world and others. It opens us up to the wonder and awe of God’s creations—the beauty as well as the warts—and gives us the opportunity to perhaps hear “[the] whisper [that] will be heard in the place where the ruined house once stood.”

If you are not familiar with the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina, or sacred reading, I invite you to look it up and try practicing it with a favorite scripture or reading. I will be writing more in a future posting.

Blessings for a beautiful and flower-filled summer!
Donna

Rev. Dr. Donna Patterson

Rev. Dr. Donna Patterson serves as Anam Cara Chaplain in Residence for Scarritt Bennett Center and directs the Center’s Soul Work program.