As it turns out,
every map has an artificial edge
prescribed by those
who define its scope;
who draw the thick black line,
however arbitrarily,
around the edges of the world.

But here, at the edge of the map,
where it tells me the road should end
by way of a thick black line,
i can see
quite clearly
that it doesn’t.

And to be sure,
I’ve taken the step;
I am proof that the road keeps going.

I check myself for grief,
prodding my heart and mind with inquisitive fingers
to inspect for bruises.
There are none;
just the feeling,
as i step off the edge
of the much-worn, grubby map,
that i am kissing
a much loved friend

So many conversations this week have been about the inadequacy of language – that it’s impossible to remove language from its context; that what i believe and love most dearly can never be communicated without the listener bringing their own context and definitions to the language i use. It’s meaning can only be guessed.

Which is only a problem if we write, or speak, to be understood by anyone else.

I was googling ‘post christian’ today, to see what there was out there, and i came across this post by Brian McLaren, with a song he wrote called Atheist. I know that i don’t get to make definitions of language, but it seems to me that not believing in the lord who converts by the sword doesn’t make you post christian [and certainly not an atheist] – it just makes you post-whatever-you-used-to-believe.

If I say I don’t believe in God, then I’m actually saying that I don’t believe in any God, not just the ones you don’t believe in either. It does both of our faiths a disservice if we equate them…

They call it a faith crisis
as though it were some kind of emergency
a disaster of catastrophic dimensions.

I wish there another word
that gave this moment
its rightful language of possibility
and hope
and freedom…


  1. I like the idea of stepping into the unknown, the undefined, being like ‘kissing a much loved friend goodbye’. It is always the much loved friends who understand why we have to go.

  2. Hi Cheryl,

    I really enjoyed and resonated with this post and poetry. Stepping ‘beyond the line’ into the post-whatever is a bit lonely and the feeling of ‘homeless-ness’ and liminality can start to gnaw. But I really enjoy (and have also experienced) the way you see it rather as possibility and hope and freedom. need to remember that, and savour the few friends we meet along the way.

    Here’s to being on the path beyond the map.
    Thanks again.

  3. Hey Cheryl

    Beautiful poignant words…

    I believe that God ALWAYS calls us to step out into the unknown- that this is how he meets us, and walks with us. But I also have found that to be ‘outside’ can be hard, dangerous and lonely. The compulsion/accident of our adventure is never for all, and not for all time, but without those who follow these paths, then we are all the poorer. But I am never sure whether it is a blessing on me, or a curse…

    So here is hoping that for all of us, as well as the journey outwards, there is also homecoming- in this place AND the next!



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