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Engaging in the Midst of Chaos

I don’t know about you but recently I have been feeling emotionally and spiritually paralyzed. There is so much going on in the world today that is disheartening, discouraging, and down right “not ok”. As someone who wants to not only embrace spirituality but use that practice to actively engage in the world, it can be challenging to know what is mine to do. I am sure I am not alone in this. In the midst of this swirl of thought I was reminded of the words of Howard Thurman, the theologian, the mystic, and overall badass of the civil rights movement. These words I can only imagine were in response to what Dr. Thurman was experiencing and seeing in the world at the time they were written. I preface them to say that Dr. Thurman does use the word God, but you, like I do, can substitute that word for whatever word speaks to you as representative of the One Thing that is back of All Things. So I invite you to drink these words in, hoping they are as nourishing for you as they have been for me.


I am surrounded by the love of God.


The earth beneath my feet is the great womb out of which the life upon which my body depends comes in utter abundance. There is at work in the soil a mystery by which the death of one seed is transformed a thousandfold in newness of life. The magic wind, sun, and rain create a climate that nourishes every living thing. It is law, and more than law, it is order, and more than order–there is a brooding tenderness out of which it all comes. In the contemplation of the earth, I know that I am surrounded by the love of God.


The events of my days strike a full balance of what seems both good and bad. Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace. The weakness that engulfs me in its writhing toils reveals hidden strengths that could not show their face until my own desperation called them forth. In contemplation of the events of my days, I know that I am surrounded by the love of God.


The edge of hope that constantly invades the seasoned grounds of despair, the faith that keeps watch at the doors through which pass all the labors of my life and heart for what is right and true, the impulse to forgive and to seek forgiveness even when the injury is sharp and clear–these and countless other things make me know that by day and by night my life is surrounded by the love of God.


I am surrounded by the love of God.


-Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman


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