By Jen Underwood

Let Me Think

My middle-aged brain is not so nimble anymore
And cranking out an academic paper on Ecclesiology renders it exhausted.
Slow down, it cries 
I need time to think
“Think” is all I’ve done, I tell it.
I’ve written words, words, words about the “Existence, Function, and Meaning of the Ecclesia”
(translation into everyday language: “the Church: what should it really be?”)
But the finger tapping and anxious scanning of the screen — do the sentences flow, are the paragraphs ordered well? — is something less than real thinking.
Paramount is the concern to make some kind of sense —
And so the listening-thinking I need
Has not yet happened.
Is this why today, after the paper is completed and turned in,
my brain is making slow, unhurried connections?
— from the audio novel I listened to on commutes about the cantankerous widower who was gently moved from grief to life by his interfering, kind-hearted neighbors
To all that reading on the Church being wide and deep;
diverse yet unified; sanctified and sanctifying;
Holy but flawed,
And then to my discussions with my husband about community development and racial reconciliation and the bothersome goodness of our living room and yard being chock-full of neighbor children —
so many hard-beautiful connections!
and rather than being driven to write about them,
This day I simply want to let them soak into my soul,
To weep, to mourn the kingdom life that should be but isn’t,
To — at the same time — yearn and long and hope
And be,
In grief and gratitude and prayer and, yes, thinking.
Thy kingdom come, heavenly Father,
Thy kingdom come.
About the Author
Jen Underwood lives in West Chicago, Illinois, with her husband, six kids (three biological, one adopted, and two international students), and a dog. After many years of teaching (middle-school through college), she is now working on a theology degree, blogging at, writing magazine and news articles for a Christian high school, and freelancing in any spare time. On her list of "likes" are interesting and thought-provoking books, walking in the woods, knitting, breadmaking, and spending rare moments of quiet with her husband. 

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