Certainty and Clarity

We are gathered in a circle,
and a question is
placed before us.

Memories come
vivid and sharp
of feeling
weighted by expectation
confined by shoulds
inadequate when I failed.

I sense  
a groaning, a churning
a pushing against
a wanting release.

I give words to my no
that it’s the no 
we all need


on the other side of the room
I hear a quiet
in response
to the same question.

I see a smile.
I hear 
an opportunity taken
a wonder at what became possible

My experience, my feelings, my thoughts
are not theirs.

Thinking about it days later on a bike ride,
I stop at a light
and these words 
snap into place:
certainty isn’t

I had a piece,
not the whole.

The piece is not the whole
yet the whole is not complete
without the piece.

In that sacred circle,
we held our yeses and our noes
and found a way forward


The interplay of two polarities calls forth a third, which is the “mediating” or “reconciling” principle between them. In contrast to a binary system, which finds stability in the balance of opposites, the ternary system stipulates a third force that emerges as the necessary mediation of these opposites and that in turn (and this is the really crucial point) generates a synthesis at a whole new levelIt is a dialectic whose resolution simultaneously creates a new realm of possibility.Cynthia Bourgeault, “The Third Way”

Questions for your Lenten journey:

  • What happens to you when you discover others have a different experience from yours?
  • When you consider that your experience is only one piece of the puzzle, are you tempted to dismiss it as unimportant? Do you want to find another puzzle with pieces that match yours?
  • What’s it like to consider that we need to hear and value each other’s experiences in order to find a “third way”?
  • What might God be offering you as you notice and welcome what is arising in you now?
Credits and References:
“Puzzle” (only visible in banner) by Olga Berrios. Used with permission.
“Puzzle” by Olga Berrios. Used with permission.
“¡¡¡última pieza!!!” by Olga Berrios. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2022.  http://www.estherhizsa.com

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in community, Lent, Poetry, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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