cry yes

Back in college, I read global news every day. I was hungry to know more about the world, to be engaged in humanity’s struggles. At some point, the number of problems got too huge for me to process, and now I’m pickier about what news I read. I don’t want to be bombarded with stories designed to put me in a spiral of despair, but at the same time I don’t want to be in ignorance!

These days, the news reminds me of our great need for a solid foundation on which to build a reconciled world. The work of reconciliation between persons and peoples and creation itself is too difficult to build on anything less than the rock of reconciliation with God! At the same time, we mustn’t sit around on the foundation singing nice songs and pretending the work is done.

I didn’t write this poem for Advent, but it seems appropriate somehow. As the darkness of winter reflects the darkness of a desperate world, so each little candle we light illuminates the One who brings light to otherwise impenetrable darkness.

Entering into our flood of pain and failed solutions, the Christ child is God’s great “Yes!” in a world of human “No”.

cry yes

silently she stumbles, shaking
her head back
and forth, side to
side and around
grappling with limits
of will against will
face scrunched, but no cry
or protest, just a stumble
a shake to internalize
the great, sudden NO
a force to be reckoned with
infant mind racing to
best the firmness
a soft smile lets it go
and moves on

in its infancy still my global
engagement is full of naïve
yes, the world is changeable
fixable even with enough yes
we could do anything
I wavered and shook my head
at the first no, and the second
they came in quick succession
then, a tidal wave flooding
the drawing board until nothing
was dry enough to present crisp
and neat on an easel, but it
didn’t really matter, the boardroom
was empty anyway. I just
scrunched my face in an effort
to understand, the smile frozen
into a useful mask to wear
underwater as the icy stream
of no pours over our heads
and we find no real yes within
ourselves or outside either
I suppose it’s just part
of growing up, finding will
against will with firmness
surrendering with a smile

but we can’t move on
the handholds disappeared
back at the beginning and feet
don’t reach the sea floor as we float
by, reaching out for a hand
finding unexpected warmth in that
bitter flood, humanity in the watery
deep chaos of human no, a voice
echoes like the flood isn’t
there! reverberating off
walls of water, this one
cry YES! is enough
a will against which will
has little to say, one yes
remains unchallenged

©2021 Jacqueline Tisthammer. All rights reserved.

Photo by Sarah Lee on Unsplash

3 thoughts on “cry yes

  1. Worth reading many times — and it’s in the shape of a candlestick with a flickering flame “Cry Yes” . 🙂 Well done, Jackie. Much to ponder from someone crying yes in a no world.

    Liked by 1 person

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