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Community of Faith: Daring to dream

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One of my favorite poems is “Sudden Journey,” by Tess Gallagher. Gallagher writes of that moment when, because of a sudden rain, she is compelled to run in it, letting the surprising moment envelope her wholly — body, mind and soul. She opens herself completely to the bliss of this moment — pulls down the neck of her shirt so her skin can drink in as much of the refreshing, cleansing drops as possible — a sensation so healing, so life-giving.

Absolute and complete joy, deeply savored, even if only for a moment. This is what Gallagher writes of. For over 20 years I have pulled this poem out at those points in my life when the world is screaming, “Impossible!” “Nothing good here!” “All hope is gone!” The sustaining grace of the poem reminds me of something deeply true, something more intimately precious and real.

Recently, in reading this poem I am reminded of the importance of imagination and dreaming. When those “all hope is gone” messages make their way to readily into my subconscious after a morning scan of the headlines, the poem reminds me to wonder about the possibility of a sudden and unexpected moment that may come. Perhaps a moment of hope, of joy, of peace in the midst of the cacophony of anxious, whiny, blaming, naysayers.

I imagine there are others like me, just going through life these last couple of years, just going through the motions of staying alive — not really participating in life. Not allowing our hearts and minds to wonder and wander toward the possibility of those healing moments, neither noticing nor engaging these life-giving moments that are really all around us.

I’m tired of being afraid. I want to sing and dance and laugh. I want to dream. I want to be like Evey, the protagonist in “V for Vendetta,” when she staggers out into the pounding rain, her whole body startled yet relishing the intense liberating joy of freedom after her torture and imprisonment. Her very soul is crying out with joy in this moment.

I dream of this now, and the advent hymn rises up from somewhere deep within: “My Soul Cries Out with a Joyful Shout.” I’m singing to God, “of the wondrous things that you bring to the ones who wait … Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn.”

The poem gives way to the image of Evey, which gives way to this song erupting from my throat: incredible moments of deep longing and joy. Perhaps God — or the Universe, or whatever name or descriptor you want to use — is calling, daring me to dream. Daring me to get caught up in the Divine imagination, to dream of experiencing again moments of healing and life-giving joy. Yes! I wonder — perhaps I am not the only one …

Rev. Carrie A.H. Benton is pastor at Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church in  Seeley Lake. She can be reached at

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