A New Story
Book of Genesis, by Kei Miller Suppose there was a book full of only the word, let – from whose clipped sound all things begin: fir and firmament, feather, the first whale – and suppose we could scroll through its pages every day to find and pronounce a Let meant only for us – we would stumble through the streets with open books, eyes crossed from too much reading; we would speak in auto-rhyme, the world would echo itself – and still we’d continue in rounds, saying let and let and let until even silent dreams had been allowed.
We all need to feel connected to a bigger story of ourselves and of life. Sometimes we find this larger story, one that connects us both to our own life more deeply and to the whole of life, in myth, in poem, or perhaps in religious text.
As the year opens itself, I am being drawn into a larger story. A story that is my own and is more than me or mine. I’m hanging out with stories and poems and music that remind me of this. Stories that both remake the world into something new and hold all that has ever been.
This week, I discovered the poem above, and I began to consider creation stories—how they come to be, how we create them and they creates us. I started imagining this first book of the Bible Genesis, a word which has its roots in ancient Greek for ‘origin, source, creation,’ and the ways that life and identity and new stories come to be. Genesis is a kind of call and response poem, in which the creator speaks “Let there be..” light, dark, stars, ocean, human and animal, and we see the generous response, “And there was…” light, dark, stars, ocean, human and animal.
What if this one word could allow us to reveal ourselves, remake ourselves and our world, draw us gently into peace with creation, within a larger story we’re not at odds with, but are co-creating? Let. Each of us has a Let living in us. Isn’t that, after all, what New Year resolutions, intention setting, prayer, is crying out for so often? Let there be…we ask, we proclaim, we beg for our lives, and for our world, in hopes of the response, And there was. What if we really are walking around opening books and smart-phone messages and social media material, searching and stumbling, cross-eyed from looking for some story that lets us see ourselves as we truly are and as we wish to be?
Try it this week, friends. Start with that tender, compassionate word—Let. Write your longings for yourself, your family, your world, and your identity so they flow out of you through the repetition of the word let and see what unfolds into being within your heart.
In my imagination, the Book of Genesis is this: a longing for the world to hold more than emptiness, to hold more than destruction, to hold light and birth and union. And this word, Let, spoke the imagined into being, for out of the longing came a tender response, And there was. Silent dreams allowed into being. Imagine it.