Much more often than not I illustrate my blogs with my own photographs and art, but sometimes I don't have the right stuff, so I search the interwebs to find something that fits. I believe Kate usually sources from Unsplash for FMF, and how excited I was to see this week's was one of my faves I've used here at least twice: with the caption "absence" that only a scant three months ago illustrated my FMF on September 1st; five years ago, it headed my August and Summer highlights that I captioned full futures… empty plates.
The word "left" has quite a few connotations. Many people seem to view my political stance as pretty far left, but I consider myself only a little left of center, or "left-leaning." Historically left has related to the latin word for left that's "sinister." But a keyboard score that includes instructions to play a passage with MS – or mano sinister feels not only benign but helpful. Yet keyboard instructions to play a section with your right hand or mano derecha uses language of just and righteous, though in the piano case it's simply a location on the opposite side of left and doesn't assume any particular value.
After a loss, we often consider "how much is left now?" What remains? Enough to work with, to grow a future from? Sufficient leftovers, too. Many culinary leftovers are much tastier than the original meal or dish they derived from, though some seem scant and feel like a last resort "this is all we have left for lunch." At least in some of those situations of [almost] empty plates, can we find or invite another ingredient or another person to augment or even complete the meal?
After a loss, we often consider "how much is left now?" What remains? Enough to work with, to grow a future from? What have you lost? Your dreams? A friend? A family member? Your way in the world or around this neighborhood? How does something or someone being absent relate to whatever's left, whether it's a person, a home, an opportunity, garden produce, or a meal ingredient? But is anything left? A memory to inspire and motivate you? A still reasonable career plan? A nicely-done center portion inside the meal you singed on the outside?
As the church opens wide a new year of grace with the season of Advent, we know, we acknowledge, we announce, we sing, "hope is left." Hope for a new creation, hope for new ways of being that subvert the old. Hope for the death of death starts with the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
Run, come, see! Little baby Jesus, born in Bethlehem. Run, come, see! The stone rolled away. Is anything left? God's presence, God's love and mercy is left. In the promise of resurrection, God's future is left. And did you know we don't need to see it in order to believe it? Amen? Amen!