Singing Out for Love’s Return
For twelve years, Daisy has been the best dog any person could love. But last week, when she disappeared into the woods? That wasn’t what I was thinking. As I tramped along the wet trail, calling for her, other words came to mind.
We’ve rambled together through these woods for years. Well, I ramble. She bounds. Even now, slowed by arthritis, something out there makes a puppy of her. So, mostly, she remains a black blur through the trees. After a while, I turn back and she meets me at the trailhead. Except last week, when, for the first time, she didn’t. I had to walk back up the trail into the woods, whistling, singing out, “Daisy! Daisy! Here girl!” Like a fool.
Which is how it is sometimes between me and God. Some know God as a thunderstorm: scary, overwhelming. Others, as a porch light: steady, soft, always on. But I like a Celtic image for the Spirit: a wild goose. Untamed, ungoverned by our words, our demands, our categories of mind. A wild goose goes where it will.
For Christians, Lent is a wilderness time. A time when it’s not clear how, or if, Love will win in the end. A time to ponder Love’s elusiveness. Its absence. I’ve known times when I’ve wandered, bereft. Maybe you have, as well. What if Love wasn’t a far porch light, toward which we had to trudge? What if it was a wild goose, a wet dog? Instead of some grim pursuit, in our desire to meet it, we’d be compelled to sing out. To invite, to entice, it.
In the end, Daisy returned, very pleased with herself. But, before? In the woods? When I thought she was gone? All I knew was my part: to sing out her name.
Jake Morrill is a minister and therapist in East Tennessee. He holds degrees from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Harvard Divinity School, and is a recipient of the post-graduate Michener-Copernicus Fellowship from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His 2011 novella, Randy Bradley, was published by Solid Objects (New York). He has upcoming publications of narrative nonfiction pieces in River Poets Journal, Braided Way, Round Table Literary Journal, and Adelaide Literary Magazine.