Archive for February, 2021

El salmo treinta y dos está casi embriagado de un dulce desahogo.

¡Cuán bienaventurado es aquel cuya transgresión es perdonada, cuyo pecado es cubierto! ¡Cuán bienaventurado es el hombre a quien el Señor no culpa de iniquidad, y en cuyo espíritu no hay engaño!

Salmo 32:1-2 (LBLA)

Como la mayoría de las verdades duraderas, ésta se ha ganado a pulso. Cualquiera que sea el estrepitoso fracaso del escritor, ha llevado a un retorcimiento que parecía una enfermedad mortal:

Mientras callé mi pecado, mi cuerpo se consumió con mi gemir durante todo el día. Porque día y noche tu mano pesaba sobre mí; mi vitalidad se desvanecía con el calor del verano. Selah.

Te manifesté mi pecado, y no encubrí mi iniquidad. Dije: Confesaré mis transgresiones al Señor;
y tú perdonaste la culpa de mi pecado. 

YHVH se encuentra en el punto pivote entre algunas de las agonías más feroces de la vida, por un lado, y algunas de sus canciones más sustentadoras, por el otro.

Simplemente es inútil actuar como si YHVH no nos conociera a fondo. Nos empalamos sobre nuestra necesidad de fingir.

La libertad depende de nuestra capacidad de volver a alinearnos con las cosas tal y como son realmente. A esto le llamamos confesión.

Al decir la verdad sobre nosotros mismos en presencia de nuestro Hacedor, nos abrimos paso hacia una libertad extraordinaria y gozosa.

Tú eres mi escondedero; de la angustia me preservarás; con cánticos de liberación me rodearás…

Muchos son los dolores del impío, pero al que confía en el Señor, la misericordia lo rodeará.
Alegraos en el Señor y regocijaos, justos; dad voces de júbilo, todos los rectos de corazón.

Algunas personas cantan para entretener. Algunos cantan porque no se les ocurre nada mejor que hacer. Otros cantan contra la oscuridad.

Ninguno de ellos debe ser despreciado.

Sin embargo, algunos cantan porque se han ocultado detrás de un muro frío y atrapante, y luego han encontrado la gracia de declarar la verdad sobre la miserable criatura que se atrinchera detrás de él sin esperanza.

Es una cosa extraña y estimulante escuchar los cánticos, las canciones de esas personas, sus huesos, que alguna vez se consumían, ahora se entregan a saltos de alegría ingenua.

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It is foolishness to find our moment too easily in Scripture, as though the great matters that weighed upon prophets’ hearts melt away to reveal only the towering mountain that is us. It is another kind of folly to ignore patterns of divine and human conduct that might instruct us, nudge us from our ignorance onto a slight rise from which one can see more clearly.

In an era different from our own, an exasperated YHWH released his people to their own devices. One effect was that capable people withdrew from the pains of leadership. Only children stepped up.

For behold, the Lord GOD of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and supply, all support of bread, and all support of water; the mighty man and the soldier, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor and the skillful magician and the expert in charms. And I will make boys their princes, and infants shall rule over them. And the people will oppress one another, every one his fellow and every one his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable.

For a man will take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: ‘You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule’; in that day he will speak out, saying: ‘I will not be a healer; in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me leader of the people.

For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence.

Isaiah 3:1-8 ESV

If we are too often led by children in the grown-up bodies of women and men—and we are—then we ought to ask about causes. Where are the adults? Where are the discerning, the skilled? Where are the clear-eyed, the truth-stewarding, the level heads who know whispered conspiracy from fact and how to call a spade a spade? Where are those with the cojones properly to despise a fool in the good old way because fools spit on things that have taken generations to nourish?

They are on their couches.

Leadership is hard and largely uncompensated. One leads for others, largely at the cost of oneself. This is simply how things are. There’s no crying in leadership.

When a community or a nation is no longer inspired by large ambitions, those who should lead do not. We abdicate.

Children take over. We elect them, we anoint them, we hand precious things over to them.

We ought perhaps to ask whether YHWH’s hand—now, as then—has turned against us, allowed us our ease, subjected us to infants and imbeciles.

Then we ought to repair the great breach that has opened up, or at least summon the courage to make a beginning.

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Coyote Hill: the haunting, 1

These snowbound Connecticut woods are alive.

You can’t tell me it isn’t so. The criss-crossing tracks of animals small and large lie right at my feet, and over there. And look, there.

All manner of creatures have been here. Not long ago, after the snow stopped falling, they were here. They are still here, they are close. They are hidden. Perhaps with animal timidity or with feral wisdom, they are watching as I walk this trail, move off into those woods. Rhea runs happy, wide circles around me, lost to me in these haunted woods for five minutes at a time, then ten. She comes bounding back, happy as a dog ever was, intensely alive in these woods along with me. Along with the rest of us.

There is a haunting here. I can see it, the tracks don’t lie. There a good-sized White Tail Deer has crossed my path, or I have crossed hers. No, there were two, there’s another set just to the right, following its leader.

Rabbits, lots of them, Rabbit Nuggets no doubt to the coyote that ran down here and then veered off to the left. This Bobcat was alone, moving slowly from the looks of it, track edges standing out as though impressed with care into their noiseless, snowy cushion.

Haunted. Not unsafe, just alive. So quiet. So beautiful. So very unalone.

As we come to the top of the hill before the firebreak, just short of where we stood with Johnny, Lauren, and Jude and pondered whether to cross the muddy stream or call it a day and head back, just there I see across the little stream’s valley a movement. Clear as day now, a lone coyote navigates the woods at a respectable clip. I see him before Rhea and get her on a leash, then immediately her eyes pick up his course and zealously watch her canine cousin who is more free and more imperiled than she in her safe life with the big stinky bed and the food dish that is hardly ever empty.

He is beautiful, or she. A dog-sized creature, wild as a lion on the Serengeti, right here in this snowy New England forest where an old dude walks while his dog runs. Wild. And beautiful.

Coyote Hill. That’s what I’ll call this place. I’ll remember him, just there, across where the un-iced snow will make its exuberant, Springtime bubbles when I can point the place out to someone who walks with me into this forest.

A whole pack of them, maybe it included this one who traces diagonals crossed the wood-shadowed snow, devoured Morris, the big buck that died in the woods just behind our house. They left only a few meager, white bones, just enough to make us marvel at how full these woods are. How alive at night, when a man snores beside his wife. Or she beside him. How haunted.

I have been thinking about haunting lately. Those two big deer Rhea chased last week, deep into the woods on a ten-minute trajectory before her domesticated nature kicked in and she came back to her human. They were right there, those deer, unseen until they moved but no less alive for their stillness.

That coyote, up on Coyote Hill.

And those three that crossed behind the house during the snowfall as we were having our breakfast the other day, German-Shepherd like, wary, slow-moving, as though heading home sheepishly after a night’s drinking went on a little too long, preferring to remain unglimpsed, not knowing we were having them for breakfast, leaving their coyote highway in the snow for us to discover before lunch.

Haunted. Haunting.

I stand in the Connecticut woods, snowed under, quiet as a tomb, and I think about this haunting stillness. How alive it is.

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