Faith Voices: Certainty and Uncertainty – Rev. Alan Johnson

While we live with the day’s emails and news, seeking to find what we can trust, we do have the hope and the promise that we will find ourselves back to our home, being at home in ourselves. We can find equilibrium from now on as we pay attention, be mindful, and act with compassion.

What is it that I can be certain about? Especially, as we live through the uncertainties which almost every day are revealed. A very simple practice I do every morning is to open the shades and look at the Flatirons. They have not moved since the day before. I am certain, almost completely certain, that they will also be right there tomorrow morning. And they will still be there after the clouds lift.

Over the many weeks as all of us have endured the unfolding news, I have heard from many people that being outside, paying attention to nature, listening for the birds as we walk, or noticing a flower blooming which was not open the day before, have been epiphanies. There is refreshment from these embracing connections with the outside, with nature. If you are a gardener, or even if you are planting some seeds in an urn inside your home, you can take comfort in the certainty that nature’s cycles will continue to manifest.

“When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
            –Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”

When we encounter these many uncertainties, when our path winds its way into the shadows ahead, can we trust ourselves to do the next right thing? Despite doubts, we learn to trust that, whatever we experience, we won’t give up, but rather we’ll endure and carry on.


Rev. Alan Johnson

Boulder County Interfaith Leaders Caucus

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