The Healing Balm of Words

Sometimes we come to a dark wood in life that seems unsurmountable. We’re cloaked in a darkness that seems to have no end. We look for the light, for the crack in the darkness, that will at least offer a sliver of hope.

I’m thinking of the people of Norway this morning. Lives extinguished in a moment of time by a passing evil. We try to understand why but such acts can never be truly comprehended. There is horror, shock and grief. And there is a coming together for comfort and the long journey of healing.

At times likes these, and in my own moments of darkness that do not even compare to what the Norwegian victims and families have experienced, I turn to God. On the surface that may seem pat. But knowing there are real, omniscient arms waiting for me to walk into, helps me to find the hope I so desperately need.

The other gift I believe God has given us is the gift of words. I’m one who believes He has revealed Himself through his son, Jesus, and through words revealed to mankind that we now bind in a book. But He has always gifted special individuals with life-giving words; words that for a moment at least, reduce the soul’s shriek to a dull ache…providing comfort through a means that perhaps cannot be attained any other way.

It is in this context that I share Pauls Dunbar’s poem, ‘Sympathy‘ that is a determined cry to find hope no matter what the circumstances. Maya Angelou made it a famous clarion call in her autobiography, I know Why The Caged Bird Sings. May it be for the people of Norway that hope, even in this dark hour for them, will finds its way into their hearts.

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals–
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting–
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,–
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings–
I know why the caged bird sings!

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