The folk I’ve worked with in general all have too many voices, too many words in their heads. Turns out words can be the most unhelpful thing. Turns out that some space and silence and pause are not only beautiful but necessary. Turns out that chaplains, for me, have been the ones who have been able look at pain without averting their eyes. The most meaningful prayers that I have heard have been when patients have spoken them themselves, from their heart, deep to deep. All I have done is carve out a bit of space, reminded them they are always on sacred ground, and there, in that space they encounter what most moves  and connects their heart and soul. For some this is the Divine, for some this is who Anne Lamott calls ‘my carpenter friend’, for some this sense of wonder does not have a name at all.

Whatever this sacred connection is, it is not stuck over there behind ancient or religious words– it is here, on the unuttered side.

The unuttered side

What if words are the most unhelpful thing?

What if there are already too many voices?

What if this highly crafted liturgy is too much, too foreign?

What if these words cannot be understood or uttered?

Is God stuck on the other side of them?

Or is God right here, already on this side of those words,

On the unuttered side

Maybe silently

Maybe tangibly

Maybe earth-embodied

Or us-embodied

But in fact



2 thoughts on “Parting gifts – part three/5 – unuttered words

  1. Hello lovely Kate
    I just read your poem/lines/thought…the unuttered side.
    Really helpful. Gives me permission not to use words. Which I feel I should know by now….
    Please may i use your words in a tiny video thingy on prayer I’ve been asked to participate in? I want to use clay…and no words(cos I get tangled in them)…and I think your words have just given me the space to be me.
    Let me know. I would of course give you the credit.


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