Doubting Thomas

Anne Sexton’s poem Small Wire begins:
“My faith
is a great weight
hung on a small wire,
as doth the spider
hang her baby on a thin web”

My light faith as the spider strand metaphor,
sways in the breeze, barely holding onto me
So thin, even a breath can push it far away
I wonder if I can be like her greater weight

When I listen to stories of the unexplained
they do not change the weight’s heft
I have yet to climb up the waving thread
to the place of the beginning and the end

I have my own encounter, my own story
as despite the fact I am a doubting Thomas
I believe I may be caught up in a greater web
Held aloft, I still wait in the upper room

All is well because you choose to sit next to me
My wound, needs your hand to enter and touch
my blood, so I may ascend towards the radius
I wish to be captured in this greater communion

It is your faith, your reflecting light that attracts
and keeps me coming back; please, do not let go
You are like glue that holds me to the thin wire
Drawing me across to the hub of Christ’s peace


It has been my routine to arrive early at church meetings to settle into my “assigned” seat for a few moments of silence with Jesus.  This gives me a chance to switch out from a person who is essentially the opposite of the saying “seeing the forest for the trees”.  I do not see the trees unless I shut off what is happening all around to receive this luxury of noticing details.  Recently, in one of these moments, I encountered the statue of St. Joseph staring directly at me. I realized he was in his assigned position so I joined him in prayer.

My own journey changed that day as now it has become routine for me to notice the other statues, people in my parish that have their own seats. I was teasing someone who was one of these fixtures about this phenomena and a stranger to me who had sat down next to her suddenly entered the conversation. I was stunned to hear from the stranger how and why comforting it was to sit down next to a regular. I quickly realized God had shown me how fragile the relationship of the human and divine thread was for some people. As a fellow confessional poet, Anne Sexton’s poem “Small Wire” came to mind as all God needs from us is even a thin connection for dialogue to occur.

For further reflection: Those that are present to God for others, and John 20:24-29