Singing Over Bones

I’ve been fighting it. The call to write. It came from a cavern deep in my heart. Too deep to enter.

It came from a mountain way up in the clouds. Too high to climb.

It came as a whisper. A reminder, “You haven’t written in days.” Becoming quickly, “You haven’t written in weeks.” Like a ruler being held up to measure my heart and finding it shrinking instead of growing.

It wouldn’t be a problem if it was just not blogging, but I haven’t written anything. Not this week. Not last week. Even the last post I shared had been written long before the unobtrusive “publish” button was pushed.

A few days ago a friend shared an old myth, a story, a fable about La Loba, “the wolf woman.” I can’t get this story out of my head.

La Loba is an old woman, who lives in a deserted place - like the witches and hags from Eastern European fairy tales. She spends her days searching for bones. Collecting bones. Gathering bones. Sorting through bones. She is particularly interested in wolf bones. Once she has collected all of the bones of a wolf skeleton she lays them out. Cold. White. Bare. Barren.

And then she stares at them.

Sits down by the fire and focuses all her attention on these bones. Deciding what song she will sing over these bare bones.

After a long while, once she is certain of the song, she begins to sing.

And as she sings the bones begin to rise up, to expand, to take on flesh and fur. And life. And breath. Until, with the last note of song, the living breathing wolf leaps through the air and runs out into the night.

I can’t shake this story.

There is an ebb and flow to life. A waxing and waning. There are different seasons. There are seasons of production and growth and also seasons of letting go, of quietness, of underground work that isn’t seen. There is day and there is night. There is a time for everything.

My heart has been gathering bones. No, my heart has longed to gather bones. To sit with bones in the quiet, darkness of night. But, I have fought that urge. I have wanted to rush right to singing the song over the bones. I have wanted to create. To create life. To produce. To show off my growth. To bring forth fruit.

I have forgotten that there is a time of waiting before the song comes. There is a time of waiting before a new spring dawns.

I have fought my place.

I have been discontent with my season.

I am an American suburban housewife. I drive a minivan. My kid goes to a private school. My days lately are marked by dropping him off and picking him up. My days are filled with the mundane tasks of caregiver, of housekeeper, of food-bringer, of diaper-changer. This life is smaller than the one I dreamed and wanted.

I have experienced deep pain in the past few years and deep growth. As a tree shedding it’s leaves and making room for new fruit, I have let go. But, I forget that fruit doesn’t come right away. Blossoms don’t even come right away.

La Loba doesn’t get a bone and start singing. She has to find all the bones first. Then she has to sit with them. Wait with them. Find the right song.


In our small group we have been talking about Moses. This week we talked about him fleeing into the desert. He was clearly the man to save the Israelites - it was as if he was groomed for it - and I think as a young man he probably knew that was his destiny. But, he wasn’t really ready. He rushed ahead of God. He killed and fled into the desert. He wouldn’t be ready until he was eighty years old. Until he had gone through the desert. The darkness. The waiting. He wouldn’t know the right song to sing until he was so old that he didn’t think he could sing it.

It’s that moment. When he had finally cycled through unknown seasons of letting go, when he had sat with his bones, with his dead spots, with his darkness, for years upon years. That’s the moment when God gave him the song to sing to bring life, to create freedom.

I don’t know what song God will give me to sing over the bones in my life, but for now I will sit. In this season. In this common, mundane place. In the desert. And wait.

And while my body does the work that is set before me, whatever that work may be, my heart will do the inner work that is set before it. I will gather bones. So that when the time comes and God gives me that song to sing, I will be ready.

Rejoicing in the journey, Bethany