All the Things That Got in the Way

poliswaterfall2

In all the woods that day I was
the only living thing
fretful, exhausted, or unsure.
Giant fir and spruce and cedar trees
that had stood their ground
three hundred years
stretched in sunlight calmly
unimpressed by whatever
it was that held me
hunched and tense above the stream,
biting my nails, calculating all
my impossibilities.
Nor did the water pause
to reflect or enter into
my considerations.
It found its way
over and around a crowd
of rocks in easy flourishes,
in laughing evasions and
shifts in direction.
Nothing could slow it down for long.
It even made a little song
out of all the things
that got in its way,
a music against the hard edges
of whatever might interrupt its going.
~John Brehm “Passage”

mejierwaterfall

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.
~Wendell Berry “The Real Work”

waterfall

Who among us knows with certainty each morning
what we are meant to do that day
or where we are to go?
So we make our best guess by
putting one foot ahead of the other as we were taught
until the day is done and it is time to rest.

For me, I wake baffled each day
that I am allowed
to eavesdrop on heartbeats,
touch tender bellies,
sew up broken skin,
listen to tears.

I wake humbled with commitment
to keep going even when too tired,
to offer care even when rejected.
to keep trying even if impeded.

It is only then I learn
thing that get in the way
slow but cannot stop
the flow of time,
overflowing its banks with music
of uncertain certainty–
my real work and journey
through life.

May I wade in deep~ listening~ready to sing along.

sunrisepond22115

4 thoughts on “All the Things That Got in the Way

  1. Berry is prophetic in the way that he so aptly describes the current malaise in our nation and of our fractured, searching lives within it.

    Emily – you offer us the best (and only) practical solution to this conundrum: ‘putting one foot ahead of the other….to keep trying even if impeded.’ (And we ARE impeded – by evil destructive forces well beyond our control and our ability to deal with them.)

    I would add: keep our eyes on Jesus and remember his promises to us – especially, that
    He would be with us always – even to the end .We do not have to tell Him that we are in
    peril. He knows. He knows as well how we have gotten to where we are now.
    He is just waiting for us — to turn to Him and to trust that He will lead us out of the deadly quicksand in which we are mired.

    Like

  2. I love the poems which I have never read before. And I love your praying heart to see good in all things. Thank you so much for sharing such comforting inspirations.

    Like

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