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To be people of hope, we must sit and wait in the place of absence. We won’t understand how powerful hope is unless we do.
— Dan Sheed


God of refugees, emptiness, oppression and fear;
make us a community of hope and a people unafraid of absence,
that we may know what hope is for ourselves,
and for the good of the earth.


A Quiet Swell

By Abigail Egden

Sorrow upon sorrow is stacked up before me,

Walls of it, great harsh bits of light which cause me pain.

Nothing but everything at the same time,

Crushed on the coming waves.
Why did I choose to set sail here-
It was beautiful though, remember?

I watch the plans, the dreams, the joys fall overboard,

I watch fine bottles of wine smash on the decks,

Plates and glasses, priceless antiques

and paintings of a beauty no words could express.

The shock of it all can’t claim me for long,

Soon I distract myself from this mess,

By looking to the sky, or collecting shards of porcelain on the deck,

Pretending it makes a pretty picture,

When all I see is mess.

We almost went camping,

We almost made it to the country,

But with a quiet swell my love went overboard,

Clinging to the ropes with desperate hands.

Pulling out the frames tied into the ropes,

And all the things they’d built to keep it in place.

And out came my dreams,

out came my hopes,

The bits of thread that had begun to link and make meaning,

That had wove through all this and found some deeper purpose.

Out those came too and I find myself alone at sea,

Not sure of how I came to be,

Afraid of all the splits I see,

Afraid of the ice thats gathered in me,

The hard shell heart that looks in shock,

Unable to say it, unable to see it, unable to- he’s gone.

I had to let him go,

as the boat tipped I watched him slip

and in a scramble I tried to catch him.

I saw him fall and with his last moments,

I saw his fingers loosen their grip.

He fell into that sea of sorrow

And I watched it fall around me

“My love!” I screamed into the oncoming waves,

But the rush and the spray covered up my sound.

“My love,” I whispered to the broken plates.

“My love,” I said silently.

I wonder why I didn’t jump down with him,

Wonder why I’m still standing on this deck,

Wonder where this boat is going anymore.

I thought we were going to the country you see,

I thought we were safe now, you and me.

Us here out at sea.

But now its me, slipping on the pitching deck.

Still here somehow.

Ready for the sky, to reach down to me,

For some animal to give me,

Some kind and friendly seed-

How funny that we share this plot together,

With creatures great and small,

Spiders, robins, moths and mice,

cats and worms, shrubs and herbs,

bees and flowers, all sharing in their peaceful ease-

Would a bird lean down to touch my arm,

To mount its feet and drop some grain,

To whisper in my ear that still, You’re there,

That out there a land is near, where things do grow,

And the earth will bear, and the sky is fair,

And the road is clear,

You’ll meet me there, I needn’t fear,

A river meets this sea.