Tuesday, November 06, 2007

For Me, For Sherry, For Torey

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

In these difficult and trying days of heartbreak I am discovering great solace in poetry. I usually don't read poetry but I find a need for words that resonate with the place where my heart and soul reside right now. I find that I'm hungry to find words more eloquent than my own to speak aloud the feelings and thoughts running through my heart and mind nearly every moment of the day.

This poem of Wendell Berry spoke to the very deepest part of me. Yesterday was a tough day and at one point in the afternoon I lay down on my bed and stared at the ceiling with a keen awareness that all I could do at that very moment was stare at the ceiling. I had no energy or will to do anything but that, and I realized that was OK. I thought about what I had to do today and I couldn't imagine facing it. What came immediately to mind was Christ's admonition to not worry about tomorrow--at that point, I simply couldn't think about tomorrow or the next day. Surprisingly I found immense freedom in that awareness and I was able to let go and simply live in that moment and realize that God's grace was sufficient for that moment and that there would be grace for the next day and the day after that.

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

I tax my life far too frequently with the forethought of grief and with concerns stemming from a feeling of despair. How easy that is for me right now, to think that they'll never be another woman like Meg in my life, or that this ache in my heart will never go away. But then I'm reminded of the words of Julian of Norwich:

All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

Most comforting of all, the words of Christ:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34).

I cling to these words with my life.


Sherry C said...

Thanks, Dan. I needed to be reminded of not only the mindset of this post, but also of the fact that I live in a place surrounded with the peace of wild things and have been neglecting the solace that it brings.

Tomorrow, I think I will go down to the river, come into the presence of (flowing) water, feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light, and, for a time, rest in the grace of the world.

If I don't yet have a car at my disposal, then I guess I will walk there. It's only a mile or so. The fresh air would be nice. Wish we could all go, you and Torey, too.

Poetry is soothing my weary soul right now, as well.

Torey said...

Thanks Dan. That verse is a huge reminder of God's greatness if I am willing to trust and believe in it.