In truth and trust

The last tomato of the season is shivering on the dying vine. The marigolds, too, fading from first frost. Cabbage worms are devouring final remains of collards and kale. A diminished red blossom drops to the earth as the geranium is carried from front porch to basement home. All that aliveness, once luscious, bursting forth–now busted open, breaking down, whispering their wintering wisdom: rest. remain. behold, the cycling seasons. be held, in and through. 

I do not know how to practice gratitude without also opening to grief. I do not know how to grieve, without honoring the gratitude that runs through it. Only when grief and gratitude are intertwined can they stay honest about all we love, and lose. We are constituted by love and loss, both.

Sikowis, aka Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree/Saulteaux of the George Gordon First Nation, organizes Truthsgiving in decolonizing resistance to Thanksgiving. Truthsgiving is about unlearning untruths of white supremacy, of Christian hegemony, of every insidious lie that civilizing, missionizing, capitalizing mastery has told and is still telling, with such deadly, devastating impact. Sitting with the Indigneous truths that expose these entrenched legacies of settler colonialism. Truths like interdependence and interconnection. Truths of kinship with the earth, with trees, and water, and soil, and seeds. Truths of taking no more than we need, and sharing what we have. Truths about oil and gas pipelines poisoning everything that is sacred, for the sake of mindless consumption. Truths about industrial agriculture destroying what we cannot live without. Truths about cobalt mining directly connecting civil war in the Congo and the devices displayed on Black Friday sales.

Truth and trust are closely related, as Catherine Keller reminds. Truth signifies a covenant of trustworthiness. To be true means to be trusty. The Hebrew emet, emunah means faithfulness or trustworthiness. The Greek pistis translated into faith is not belief, but trust. Faithfulness is not measured by belief, but by honest trustworthiness.

These days I am practicing playing make believe with the truths in which I want to cast my trust. Truths of enoughness. Of doing what we can with what we have. Of having everything I need. Of having everything we need. Of being loved, and held, and worthy of both. Of carrying unseverable connection to Lifeforce in our flesh and blood and bones. Of honoring the gift of this “one wild and precious life” (Mary Oliver), a gift which invites us into the sacred work of savoring, healing, and repairing. Remembering, regrowing, rebirthing, resting.

For those who find themselves on the threshold of Advent, remember that Advent comes from advenir, to come. Preparing, anticipating, dreaming, tending, listening. In darkness. In wilderness. In uncertainty. In grief and gratitude, both and each. In waxing and waning moonlight. Learning and unlearning and learning again. Leaning into what is yet to come. What is becoming, yet. Wisdom, incarnating. Love, enfleshing. Life–collective and entangled and endangered and so very precious and precarious–entrusting all that is yet alive, even in this overwintering season.

Rev. Anna Blaedel is theologian-in-residence at enfleshed. They bring an attentiveness to the intersections of academic, activist, and ecclesial engagement. Anna nourishes students through campus ministry for the University of Iowa Wesley Center and is enrolled in a PhD program in Theological and Philosophical Studies at Drew University’s Graduate Division.

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