The Bells Ring

I didn’t want to write this post. It feels scary and raw, and there is a deep temptation to stay in my lane – my self-imposed lane, of course – where I share throw pillows and toys and memories. Things stay fluffy and good; positive and bright.

Bright is my specialty, my second set of skin. Encouraging comes easy for me, and I see quite a bit of value in creating an environment where beauty is celebrated and hope is chased after.

And yet, beauty does not turn a blind eye.

And hope does not deafen voices.

This month has been, just heavy. There has been much injustice in the lives of many, and I’ve been – for the most part – reading and listening and nodding and praying. And I’ve been angry, and I’ve felt powerless and I’ve been timid and I’ve felt confused.

So it was easier to make a pot of chili. And read Bee another book. And turn off the world; the noise; the reality.

But this morning, one of my favorite Christmas songs came on the radio and I listened to the wise, true words of “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day”:

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

And the tears fell and the reminder arrived, that yes, of course our world is broken. Our systems are broken. And perfect peace and goodwill – by our definition – will remain unattainable. Because what is peaceful to one does not bring good will to men. And what is peaceful to men does not bring good will to all.

And the bells ring.

Sometimes hope arrives after a terrible injustice. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to see it; to be invited into it. To watch it unfold, with front row seats and tearful eyes and open arms. We see the happy ending as the music swells and we clap and rise, hearts bursting as we file out into the world.

And the bells ring.

Other times, of course, the happy ending doesn’t make it to the screen. It’s behind the scenes, or on the cutting room floor, or perhaps hasn’t yet been created. And so the story we see playing is one of darkness and judgment and anger and hate.

And in those times, our eyes fail us. And so, we open our ears.

And the bells ring.

We hear them daily – in good news and bad. They ring, always, setting our world in motion to a rhythm we don’t understand; a song left unsung.

We hear them louder than the collective sounds of crowds mourning, mothers grieving, babies giggling, communities shouting, families feuding, neighbors dancing, enemies fighting.

They sound still, small. Quiet.

A bit like a voice.

Let me hear what God will speak, for he will speak peace to his people.” -Psalm 85:8

Yes, the bells ring.

  • What a beautiful, wonderful post. Yes, there is hope despite all the doom and gloom that seems to be shrouding the world right now. And yes, encouraging does sound like your specialty, because you still managed to make this very encouraging. Thank you, thank you, for seeking out the undercurrent of hope.

    • Oh Amanda, thank you for your kind comment! I like how you worded that, the “undercurrent of hope.” :)

  • HOLY COW. YOU ARE FRICKIN AMAZING. I USUALLY STAY AWAY FROM POSTS ABOUT CURRENT CONTROVERSIAL EVENTS, BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO READ PEOPLE’S ANGER AND HAVE MINE STIRRED AS WELL. I DIDN’T KNOW THIS WAS ONE OF THOSE POSTS, BUT THERE IS NO ANGER, ONLY TRUTH. IN THE MOST SIMPLEST AND PURE WAY, AND IT DOESN’T STIR UP CONTROVERSY. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. THANK YOU SO MUCH. YOUR WRITING IS AMAZING – SO BEAUTIFUL. GOD BLESS.

  • Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
    The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
    With peace on earth, good will to men.”

    ~~YES and AMEN.

  • Thank you for this, Erin. I’ve been going through a season of “heaviness” too. As a fellow “bright, encourager,” these feelings don’t always sit well with me. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in that!

  • Erin, I don’t know if you realize this is Gma’s favorite Christmas carol. Is it okay if I make a copy of this post for her? It was beautifully written and I think she would enjoy it.

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