For Days When You Get Lost in the Trees
There are days, too many days, when I get lost in the trees of problems, all clamoring for my attention, all crying out “Now! Today!” My child is unhappy today, how do I fix this … why is so-and-so doing this-and-this … in this economy can we keep our son in college … I am fed up with greed and this economic meltdown … it’s not fair what she said, I need to straighten her out …
I want it all fixed. Until it’s fixed, it makes me sleepless.
On those days it helps to be returned to a bigger picture, a new dimension of seeing, a different posture of discerning importance, of patience, of action and inaction (waiting), of trust. My mentor John Alexander had this way of interrupting me: “God has forgiven us. The rest of life is details.” Or “Chris, the fact that you’re a sinner isn’t interesting. What’s interesting is God’s grace.”
A poem by Denise Levertov has been a recent gift. I hope it is for you as well.
Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; caps and bells.
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, 0 Lord,
Creator, Hallowed one, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.
— Denise Levertov
From The Stream & the Sapphire, a precious volume of Leverton’s religious poetry.