Daily Bread April 18

A Graceful Way to Move On
By Tammy Lindle Lewis of Independence, MO, USA

When Jesus saw [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. …Jesus began to weep. …Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed came to the tomb. …Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” …he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” -John 11:33-43 NRSV, excerpted

Several years ago I found myself in a “dark night of the soul” time. Decisions made by others left me in a difficult situation that emptied my life in significant ways. I felt alone. I struggled to understand, explain, accept, and to find a graceful way to move on. In many ways I was stuck.

During this time, I attended a gathering exploring poetry and creative writing as a way to engage in the Lenten season. One poem grabbed my attention and didn’t let go. It spoke to my soul. It awakened me and forced me to make powerful decisions about my life.

The poem “According to Lazarus” by William Coleman (https://imagejournal.org/article /according-to-lazarus/) contrasts the differing voices of “the cave” (tomb) and “the light” outside the cave. The two voices call to Lazarus. The light calls for him to stand, to arise, and step away from his sorrows. The cave calls for him to sleep. The light asks him to choose.

These lines dramatically grabbed me:

Because the light outside was simple,
because its urgency was born inside,
and because the cave could replace me,
I chose and rose into morning.

I realized then that although my circumstances were not my decision, the way out of them was. I had many choices to make that would let God’s Spirit help resurrect my soul from the dark night. Some choices were large, but many were small. I discovered that choosing to live differently is often a daily decision.

At times, I remember Lazarus and the voices of the cave and the light. They help remind me to keep choosing the light outside when I find myself slipping back inside grief or sorrow. Choosing to trust in God’s light brings new life to my ministry, family, and everyday encounters.

Prayer Phrase

Spirit now live in me.

Spiritual Practice

Breathe deeply and enter a few minutes of silence. Be attentive to where you sense new life emerging in you. Search your memories of the previous day. When did you notice the sacredness of life in surprising places or forms in the world around you?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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