Carrie Newcomer is a poet and an amazing musician. It’s a chicken and egg thing for me, about which is first or which she is “more of.” In her song Two Toasts, Carrie speaks to the power, the passion, the possible of the words we use with one another:
To the words and how they live between us
And to us and how we live between the words
In these days when there is brokenness; when there is despair; when there is just downright, outright meanness between us, we need the possibility for, the reality of hope. It just might save us. All.
And where does this hope come from? Is it possible to manufacture it, so we can bottle it and never lose it? Sorry to say, that is not what hope is about.
Hope is about seeing beyond what this is. Whatever the “this” is that is weighing us down or wearing us out. Hope is believing that “this” is not all there is in me or you or in us. Hope is seeing the best, seeing the beauty, seeing the breadth and depth of God’s amazing call of YES. It doesn’t depend on us to happen. But it does depend on us to look for it and to keep looking when the darkness comes and the wrong seems to have her way everywhere we look.
This past week the Supreme Court passed a ruling that impacts me. It impacts my family. It makes possible things that were literally not true a week ago. This decision that we all can marry is scary for some folks. For some it shakes an institution. But for me it brings light to the hope that has held so many of us for so very, very long.
On November 1, 2001 Linda and I shared in a commitment service with our friends and some of our family. Fresh out of seminary, we wanted the language to be exactly true to who we were. And we turned to what was familiar; we turned to what we’d always known. And those words, those institutional words couldn’t/wouldn’t fit us. We were locked out and were not allowed in. And so we found language that spoke to us, changing what had been before into what would work for now.
This past Wednesday, the Supreme Court invited us to open our hearts and minds to sharing in that language again. As if for the first time.
Carrie’s lyrics speak to us now learning, trusting, believing in our living in between these words. There is faith there. There is love there. There is hope there.
It really does happen.
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.