Alastair McCollum
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Narrative Theology

And I said to him 

Are there answers to all of this? 
And he said 
The answer is in a story 
and the story is being told. 

And I said 
But there is so much pain 
And he answered 
Pain will happen. 

Then I said 
Will I ever find meaning? 
And he said 
You will find meaning 
Where you give meaning. 

The answer is in story 
And the story isn’t finished. 

The question is not where but now 
there question’s never finished 
or exhausted 
and the answers in the asking 
not the answer 
the answer’s in the breathing of the question 
in the love of holding onto 
what was never whispered never seen 
but what we dreamed of in the morning 
then forgot while venus hid 

the answer’s in the living not the knowing 
the answer’s in the telling of the story 
in half forgotten memory 
and all unfinished stories 

the answer’s in the showing time of senses 
the answer’s in the question 
in the learning 
in the fading page of writing 
in the letter sent to lovers 
in the paying for the other 
the answer is the generous 

is the truthing 

the absolutely truthful anger 

and forgiving is the giving of what you don’t deserve 
it’s what I’ll serve because you’re hungry 
even though you may not know it 

the answer’s in the living and the dying 
in the trying for redemption on an empty hill of crosses 
it’s the shoring up of hope and the gathering of losses 
it’s the looking for companions in the hills and in the glens 
it’s the waking up and walking up and starting up again 
the answer’s in the living 
and the trying. 

And I said to the wise man, 
what is the answer to all this 
And he said the answer’s in the story 
and the story’s just unfolding.
 

                                    Padraig O Tuama 

From hymns to swear by