I have acquired a simple little book called,
LOST IN TRANSLATION: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from AROUND the WORLD.
It includes words like KARELU, a TULU word from Southwestern India, meaning "The mark left on the skin by wearing something tight"; and the Arabic word, GURFA, a noun meaning "The amount of water than can be held in one hand".
The word that has most reached out to me these past weeks is HIRAETH, from the Welsh, meaning "A homesickness for somewhere you cannot return to, the nostalgia and the grief for the lost places of your past, places that never were."
As much as I don't want to acknowledge it, or maybe just don't know how to, I feel that this word is calling me to some kind of confessional, inviting me to really see what “is”. It encapsulates a feeling that is hovering over us as a nation as of late, a kind of grief and longing for something that never was really, but what many of us thought existed. I think the allusion of unity, the power that exists in a shared striving, especially when it is "mirrored" back to us as the voices and faces and hands and feet of those called to guide and lead embody this call to shared living and caring, is enough to make it so.
What I love about humanity and about the human spirit is that she is not easily defeated. What has been infused into these bodies that strive and seek, that limp and long, that are easily led, but otherwise never leading is HOPE and BELIEF, is the power of a living, breathing GOD that loves to a fault; so much so that she walked among us, hurt alongside us, marched with us.
Thanks be to God, that we don't have to "return to" what was, but can look to what can and will be.
May the Spirit lead the way,
Rev. Jenny Shultz-Thomas