Songs of Lament: A Poem – “L’Chaim”

R. Joy Itta
L'Chaim A Poem by RJoy Itta Blog Header

A Poem for the New Year

L’Chaim.

L’Chaim.

We leave what’s behind and look ahead
To the new horizon spread out before us.

The pain, worries and strife from months past
Melt into a puddle at our feet and we step out
Onto the sturdy path of possibility.

Hopes, imaginings, and dreams fill our minds,
And dusty looming trials get swept away,
As we focus on the Light ever leading,
As we focus on that ever present Light.

May this year be full of butterfly kisses,
Wings of Love that embrace the soul,
Bursts of Joyful tears, and remedial laughter,
Miracles as tiny as a fluttering heartbeat
And as colossal as a fluttering heartbeat.

May this year bring Winds of change,
Blessings beyond reasoning,
Boundless Peace and Perseverance,
Protection, direction, Strength unrelenting,
Miracles as tiny as the Still Small Voice,
And as colossal as the Still Small Voice.

To Life, as a force within to be clung to and revered.
To living, as a Force, without abandon, hindrance, or fear.
That we would know that we know our Maker Loves us.
That we would feel His presence standing with us.
As we forge ahead, YHWH is for us, and implores us,
To stand in defiant HOPE against darkness and death of time,
As we beat our chests in a resounding L’Chaim!

To Life! | NYE 2023 | R.Joy Itta

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Note From the Editor

Grace and peace to you, readers. Happy New Year!

This poem “L’Chaim,” penned to welcome the year 2024 by R.Joy Itta, is inspired by a friends Israeli grandmother who said,

“I’ve lived here for 70 years and this is the first time I’ve ever felt hopeless.”

It is a stirring and spiritually resonant work. It beautifully weaves together elements of hope, faith, and the enduring human spirit in the face of life’s trials and tribulations.

The opening repetition of “L’Chaim,” a Hebrew toast meaning “to life,” sets a tone of celebration and affirmation. It’s a declaration that, despite the challenges of the past (“pain, worries and strife”), there is a renewed commitment to face the future with optimism (“the sturdy path of possibility”). This reflects a deep theological understanding of redemption and renewal, themes central to our faith.

The poem’s imagery of light and darkness is particularly evocative. The “Light ever leading” is a profound metaphor for divine guidance and presence, a reminder of the Psalmist’s words, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). This light, seemingly ever-present, offers guidance and comfort, symbolizing the constant presence of God in our journey through life.

Moreover, the juxtaposition of the “tiny” and “colossal” in describing miracles and the Still Small Voice (a reference to 1 Kings 19:12, where God speaks to Elijah not in the wind, earthquake, or fire, but in a gentle whisper) is particularly thought-provoking. It suggests that the divine can be found in both the grand and the mundane, in the extraordinary and the ordinary. This is a powerful reminder of the ubiquity of God’s work in our lives.

The closing stanza is a bold call to live life with purpose and without fear, acknowledging God’s love and presence. It echoes the Biblical exhortation to live courageously and with hope, even in the face of adversity. The use of “YHWH,” the sacred name of God in the Hebrew Bible, underscores the poem’s deep roots in our Judeo-Christian faith.

Overall, “L’Chaim” is not just a poem; it’s a prayer, a declaration, and a manifesto for the new year. It encapsulates the essence of what it means to live a life of faith, hope, and love and it’s written. As we step into this new year, may we all carry its message in our hearts, finding strength and inspiration in its words.

May 2024 be full of grace, peace, and hope in Christ.

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