Meditations of the Heart

A Monday Meditation for October 5, 2020

St. Peter’s-


As a way to be companions to each other in the next four weeks, a friend and I are reading Meditations of the Heart by Howard Thurman. They are musings and thoughts on prayer, community, and life. He offers a word of hope in times of uncertainty.


“Hope is not optimism, strategic plans, or evidence [although these are all good things]. Hope is the small poem that gives us imagination, energy, and perseverance. It is what energizes us to do the 3 things above.” This is a quote from the weekend virtual conference of Evolving Faith.


It struck me because this companioned practice of reading Howard Thurman feels like an act of hope, but not in the way I think we often think of hope. Yes, I hope beyond hope, I’ll wish on a star, or any lucky talisman. But that is a finite hope. And what we need right now in this still wilderness land, surrounded by uncertainty after uncertainty, is a hope that energizes and restores. What we need is a hope that connects us to each other and allows us to imagine and dream of possibility. There’s power there, in that kind of hope, where possibility can flourish.



So, here are some of Howard Thurman’s words for us today. May they be the spirit-food we need to be nourished.


The Threads in My Hand

Only one end of the threads, I hold in my hand.

The threads go many ways, linking my life with other lives.


One thread comes from a life that is sick; it is taut with anguish

And always there is the lurking fear that the life will snap.

I hold it tenderly. I must not let it go…


One thread comes from a high-flying kite;

It quivers with the mighty current of fierce and holy dreaming

Invading the common day with far-off places and visions bright…


One thread comes from the failing hands of an old, old friend.

Hardly aware am I of the moment when the tight line slackened

and there was nothing at all -nothing…


One thread is but a tangled mass that won’t come right;

Mistakes, false starts, lost battles, angry words — a tangled mass;

I have tried so hard, but it won’t come right…


One thread is a strange thread — it is my steadying thread;

When I am lost, I pull it hard and find my way,

When I am saddened, I tighten my grip and gladness glides

along its quivering path.

When the waste places of my spirit appear in arid confusion,

the thread becomes a channel of newness of life.


One thread is a strange thread — it is my steadying thread.

God’s hand holds the other end…



With hope and thanks that we are holding one another’s threads,