The recent discussions in Beck's and JGW's blogs on the topic of faith, doubt and authenticity got me thinking about a poem I've been working on, and the struggles I've had lately with trying to reconcile my discontent with church leaders and feeling a sense of place and happiness at church. Faith is no longer a simple thing for me. Part of me wishes I could go back to the years of complete confidence in and testimony of the 'true and living' church, but I suspect that what I am learning is more valuable to myself and closer to the truth of things as they really are, and not as I want them to be.
Following is a rather edgy poem for me, one that has been trying since the middle of November to get a voice that I am satisfied with. I'm still a little unsettled with it, but have decided to let it rest, publish it, and see what anyone has say. I usually don't talk back to the Lord, but it all started in response to the reading assignment in Jeremiah for the Old Testament Sunday School class. I've not read much of Jeremiah before, except for the sound-bite snippets we usually hear, like in Jeremiah 31 which the poem responds to. But I also found much of his writing, such as is in Jeremiah 16, to be troubling because of his condemnation and anger with the people. Maybe the Lord really did want him to say all the terrible things he said to the Israelites, but I know there are always two sides to a story, and human perspective often tends to be one-sided or bigoted. And so, my poem explores the exasperation we may feel as gay LDS, the feelings of condemnation, the doubt, the blind leading the blind, the need for acceptance and redemption, and finally the call for attention from a living prophet.
Write in my Heart! (again)
Will you make our land desolate?
I'm no better than my dead father.
So call on my obstinate soul to break,
To turn away the path of destruction.
As yet, your rod of iron rusts.
Do not whisper or sigh softly
If you want me to hear, for crying
Out loud... Only then will I let the
Sound fall flat, the silence speak,
And wait for you.
Allay the pale and trembling fear,
My dread that you are not here
To listen to me. I am open to your
Transcription on my inward parts.
There scrawl your name.
I am, I am, I am hoping you are near.
Did I not feel you present, your hands
On my believing head, a blessing
Urging me to seek, to love, to see?
How then, to stumble in darkness!
Christ, I am falling in your ditch--
And I am not alone, we are legion.
Forgive us, spent and hungry,
With only a cardboard sign saying
“Anything Helps… God Bless!”
But this is our writing, not yours.
All we ask is your signature on
The corrugated line, redeeming us.
Jeremiah, where are you now?