Feathers and Stone

I recently discovered Kate Bowler, a fantastic podcaster and author, through a friend who shared her work with me.  

Bowler's battle with cancer left her with chronic and debilitating pain, and it was during this season of her life that she began to write daily about her experiences and what they were teaching her. 

Her reflections on her own experience also have universal and existential lessons to teach about trauma and anxiety, but also hope and joy amid struggle.  I couldn't recommend her work more, and I am blessed by it immeasurably. 

One of the issues that Bowler addresses in the preface to her latest book of daily reflections is how our current culture is so fraught with uncertainty, amplified by our shared experiences of a global pandemic, intense divisions, and feelings of dread over all of it. 

But what I love about Bowler's work is that even as she refuses to shy away from naming the fears and dreads we may feel, she also acknowledges the universal rhythms of dying and rising in a universe imbued with the spirit of Christ. 

In the preface to her book, Have A Beautiful And Terrible Day! Bowler writes something wonderful and profound about how we can be simultaneously so very fragile and also so very resilient: 

This is the new way of being in the world, the sense of unpredictability and precipitously rising and falling.  We are made of feathers.  We are made of stone. 

I can't tell you enough how much that line resonated with me. 

There is a new way of being in the world that has emerged after the pandemic, and it alternately makes us feel fragile and impervious. 

Some of us feel we might fall apart at any moment, and others steel ourselves against the changes around us, desperate to not be moved.  And sometimes, we find that the unpredictability of all of it is too much to bear, and we grow tired and weary of trying. 

Bowler's point is that we must learn to embrace all of who we are--the fragility and the strength, the dying, and the rising.  

In a world that is permeated with impermanence, there are at least two things that we can hold on to with certainty:  We are created in the image of God, and we are unconditionally loved. 

There is dying and rising all around us and also within us.  This is the Divine pattern of the Universe.  We may fall, but we will also rise.  We might feel like we'll blow apart, but we also know that we have the weight of God's glory inside us to keep us grounded. 

And God's love is the kind of never-ending, never-forsaking, never-forgetting kind of love that we don't always understand but never lose.  This love can guide us toward God's glorious purposes and our best and most authentic selves. 

May you embrace your beautiful fragility and also your strength and resilience today and every day from this day. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and forever. Amen.  


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