A few years ago, Karen Dabaghian took a class on the Psalms. The course involved reading the Psalms deeply, and then writing their own poems of response. The experience was life-changing for Karen. In her book Travelogue of the Interior (reviewed here), she recounts how she wrestled with Psalm 1, and its promise of blessing to “the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.”
“That person,” writes the Psalmist, “is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.”
Karen was stumped. She writes this in Travelogue:
“I ask too many questions and press too earnestly for answer; I worry constantly that my spiritual and intellectual appetites are off-putting to people around me, and I worry that they make me even more of a failure as a “good Christian woman” than I already fear I am. I have tried at times to be less thirsty and less hungry, someone who asks and offers less of herself and the world around her. At the ripe age of forty-two, I can confirm categrotically: it is pointless.
Yet in an instant, in the sacred space of my living room and my heart, a lifetime of shame melted away the moment God looked me in the eye and said, “There you are, My thirsty, blessed tree.”
A tree grows on the bank of the river
that flows from the City of God.
Its roots twine and twist
unashamed by its thirst.
It will be satisfied.
By Karen Dabaghian, Travelogue of the Interior (David C Cook, 2015)
Illustrated by Corrie Haffly