*A Note from the Moderator: We at the BSU support and encourage the talents and gifts of our students. With that in mind, please enjoy this piece, a combination poem and article.*
They Say the World is Dying
Everything points to the world is dying
And it’s true, right?
Glaring in the morning headlines, or tricked away in a back-page article
They say that its fluids are sweating out
Melting down, weeping out, leaking glacial miracles to waste
We left the heat on for too long; our trained fires yanked their leashes from our hands
They say that its cogs are corroded
Guzzling chemicals, snorting sludge, bubbling pollutant potions through crust and mantle
We left too many glasses of our own sorrow-drowners unsupervised
They say that we have been taken by force
Continents cratered into ocean, amputated acres hole-punched from chrome caterpillar bites
We invented our own demise, we have no tourniquet to save this arms race
They say that we live alone
Close-doored, shutter-fastened, passionately obsoleting in our coldblooded dividedness
We stop up the vents and hoard our own stale air
Everything points to God is gone
But I see sunrises every morning
I see sunrises in every person
The curtains rip
The pane breaks
His spring breath is splashing into dusty marrow
The world coughs, curing
At college, I tend to get a little (or a lot) detached from current news, which usually means that I end up knowing squat about three hurricanes gaining for the Gulf until three days after they make landfall. This typically also means that I end up getting bogged down by all the current events that pile up: natural disasters, terrorist attacks, political dissension, drug crises, public displays of racism, nuclear threats, murders every night in the area surrounding my hometown.
Here’s a true statement: it’s alarmingly easy to be negative. It’s alarmingly easy to focus solely on the bad that is storming the planet. It’s much harder to look at this world and see hope instead of tragedy. But, recently, God has been carving Romans 12:9 into my life: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” This verse hurts to realize.
I know that I don’t fully understand even half of the weight of it yet, but, so far, it’s been painful. Why? Because it means going against my own sinful nature. My human impulse is to hate, to judge, to rebel, to avenge, to isolate myself in order to survive. It’s scary to deviate from the norm. It hurts to learn a new, better way, even if that way is as seemingly simple as loving, connecting with, and accepting people. In a world where things are just waiting in line to divide us, we are being called to go against this grain and unite. This is a perilous choice to make, to cling to the good.
I think that this is the very reason why Paul chose the words he did, to ‘hate’ evil and to
‘cling’ to goodness. Clinging implies a starving need, a desperation that we need to have. I think there’s a great metaphor for this to be found in a hurricane. I’ve read stories of survivors that have been caught in floodwaters, tossed by gales as strong as brick walls. Somehow, in the chaos of water and wind, they reach out and latch onto anything solid: a tree trunk, a signpost, a light pole. Because of their grasp on this object, they were able to withstand the storm and stay alive. That doesn’t mean that maintaining their grip wasn’t difficult or that they didn’t slip or—scarily enough—that they didn’t feel like letting go at times. But they held on despite all this and were able to live through incredible disaster to testify about it.
Tuning yourself to goodness is a life-saving thing. It is oftentimes the difference between giving up on life and regaining full faith in it. God has not abandoned us nor retracted his goodness from us; it’s all around us, in nature, in work, in art, in science, in politics, and even in people. We have to believe in its existence and its power. More importantly, if we’re Christians, we don’t have to look very far because God’s goodness is in us. We carry it in our hearts wherever we go. We dispel the darkness with the One True Light. If that then is true, what greater joy is there in a white-knuckled grip?
Corey Davis is a sophomore from Clinton, Mississippi. She is an English major, and is a part of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the BSU Drama Team. She enjoys having great ideas and then going after them. Also, she likes avocados.