I just found a hand-written poem, hidden on page 96 of a Bible I took to a spiritual retreat in early December 2007. I spent a week at a retreat center in Minneapolis called “The Hermitage.” Deep in the woods in a little rustic cottage, separated from civilization and surrounded by snow, I forced myself to think about the event about to take place, just a few days later, on December 15. I was to be ordained a priest on that day and the magnitude of the event was overwhelming.
I remember reading scripture and a couple of other books that week. I also remember writing some poetry, most of which I signed and dated. The poem I just found wasn’t signed or dated. In fact, it almost looks unfinished. The language is very similar to other poems I have written, but I am not completely sure the poem is mine. I very much want it to be mine, but I will never publish it in any of my books because it may not be mine.
I am publishing it here, but please know that I am not taking credit for it, although several sentences appear in other works I have written. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
Is darkness friend or foe?
The stillness of the woods is neither foreboding,
Nor is it reassuring.
The shadows in the forest are no different
Than the shadows in my soul.
There is no need for clothes when you live alone,
The heart has no need for pretense.
All illusions and delusions decrying,
Free to be is he who lives for himself,
To live for others is utterly terrifying!
In the loneliness of silence
I hear a voice once gone,
Hidden deep in the recesses of my mind.
I heard this voice with vivid resonance,
In the simpler days of life.
Gone once, it has returned, to claim its preeminence
"Before you were, I was.
Before you came to be, I though of you.
And I loved you.
I love you still,
Even in the midst of your fears,
Even when you falter and fail,
In your falling
I love you...
So there is no need for pretense, for delusion, or illusion,
No time for fear,
No time for despair.
I love you..."
My favorite line is "To live for others is utterly terrifying!" There is so much at stake when you know you must give Christ an account for the gifts and people he has given you. I pray daily that I may be worthy of your trust.
May God continue to bless you.