Friday, October 14, 2011

live and learn

I was sitting at lunch yesterday with two of my dearest friends talking about life and the ways that certain people and events have marked us; both wonderfully and painfully.  And how both the wonderful and the painful leave something within us that holds the possiblity of life and growth.  I remember reading Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet years ago and how he says:

     I believe that almost all our sadnesses are the moments of tension that we find paralyzing because we no longer hear our surprised feelings living.  Because we are alone with the alien thing that has entered into our self; because everything intimate and accustomed is for an instant taken away; because we stand in the middle of a transition where we cannot remain standing.  For this reason the sadness too passes: the new thing in us, the added thing, has entered into our heart, has gone into its inmost chamber and is not even there any more,—is already in our blood.  And we do not learn what it was.  We could easily be made to believe that nothing has happened, and yet we have changed, as a house changes into which a guest has entered.  We cannot say who has come, perhaps we shall never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters into us in this way in order to transform itself in us long before it happens.  And this is why it is so important to be lonely and attentive when one is sad: because the apparently uneventful and stark moment at which our future sets foot in us is so much closer to life than that other noisy fortuitous point of time at which it happens to us as if from outside.  The more still, more patient and more open we are when we are sad, so much the deeper and so much the more unswervingly does the new go into us, so much the better do we make it ours, so much the more will it be our destiny, and when on some later day it “happens” (that is, steps forth out of us to others), we shall feel in our inmost selves akin and near to it.


And so as I sat with God this morning and reflected on it all, something began to bubble up.  I'm not quite sure what it is (a poem maybe?), or if it is done, but I thought I'd pass it along in hopes that it might offer something of the Spirit to those, like me, that wonder from time to time, "What in the world is God up to?"

 
     that left a mark

it was not invited
and at the time not welcomed
but nonetheless it came calling
bursting through the door
barging into my settled life
turning everything upside down
wounding me to the bone
leaving a deep mark
both upon and within
one that has taken up residence inside
entering my very bloodstream
it will never leave
it is a part of me now
a companion and guide
willing to teach if i am willing to listen
willing to lead if i am willing to follow
life as it was before
has ceased to exist
nothing will ever be the same
it is not bitterness
it is reality
I am forever different
in an incredibly painful
but very good way

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