A Little Walt Whitman is Good for the Soul

A Little Walt Whitman is Good for the Soul

This is me a few years from now

I dream’d in a dream I saw a city invincible,
to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth,
I dream’d that was the new city of Friends.

I keep a copy of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass on the end table by my reading chair. I read snatches of his lines in the early morning before digging into whatever book I am working through at the time. There is just something about those 19th century American Romantics that have me returning to their waters time and again to drink. You have heard me cite the following quote by Henry David Thoreau – another American Romantic – before, but it is worth repeating:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately; to front only the essentials in life and see what it had to teach me. And not, when I came to die, discover that I had never lived.

Those few words make me want to grab my walking stick parked in a corner in our house and head out to the wooded hills with my wife in hand to see what there is to see. The words of Whitman and Thoreau have lasted so long because they speak to the heart of the human condition – the desire to live faithfully and deliberately. It is also a reminder of the importance of abiding together.

It is part of the church’s responsibility to bear upon our consciences that God created us to live not in isolation but in community, and to do so with a holy intentionality. So many – too many – trudge through life going through the mechanics of work, family, responsibilities and other routines and fail to actually live. The Bible reminds us that we each play an important and significant role:
As it is, there are many members, yet one body … [25] that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. [26] If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. (1 Corinthians 12:20, 25-26)

My prayer for the church (and all her members) is two-fold: 1) that each of us discover how indispensable we are in this community of faith, and 2) that we may live our lives fully, abundantly and faithfully. And when we falter, may we live in the generosity of God’s grace for another day.

This Dude abides,


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