What We Need is Here, Somewhere

Last week I attended both the BTS Center’s Convocation: Engaged Hope and the One Planet Peace Forum. Both events were opportunities to learn from and enter into practice with faith leaders, visionaries, and justice workers. Needless to say, it was a full, thought provoking, and inspiring four days. 

Importantly, the internal and external conversations that continue to resonate from these two conferences have been rich and meaningful––I can feel new learning and ideas finding space inside my body and collaborating with both prior experience and aspiration. 

At one point in the weekend, someone quoted from Wendell Berry’s poem “What We Need is Here”.

And we pray, not

for new earth or heaven, but to be

quiet in heart, and in eye,

clear. What we need is here.

As I re-read the entire poem to myself several times over the weekend, my body relaxed into the sacred truth that what we need is always here.

And then, on Sunday, I saw a video of the Pihcintu chorus, a chorus of immigrant and refugee girls based in Portland, singing “Somewhere”.

Somewhere there’s a place for me. Somewhere.

Watching the girls sing, I could see their innocence, feel their longing, and hear their strength. My own body recognized the yearning for community and belonging to the wider web of creation. And I recognized my simmering anger, frustration, and sadness of the injustice of our world systems. My perfect rootedness here, and my continual longing for connection, are both true.

This paradox of here and somewhere is both delightful and vexing, painful and beautiful, heart-wrenching and heart-opening. As I hold this paradox and turn it over and over in my mind, I recognize that it is expanding both my heart and my spirit and that expansion will benefit all I am and all I do. Here and Somewhere.

So swallow the sun. And wish on the stars.

And let love define the people that we are.