Tuesday, November 13, 2018

marked with suffering

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful 
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name
Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name
Every blessing You pour out, I'll 
Turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering 
Though there's pain in the offering 
Blessed be Your name
This was a song that was played at a lot of Christian weddings in my twenties. I think I attended at least three weddings where this was the song chosen to play while the the newly married couple walked down the aisle together. It was meant to be a promise? I think? That whatever came, they would bless the name of the Lord.
Now, ten years on, I wonder...I've seen so much in the last ten years. If they had known of financial hardship, miscarriages, fertility struggles, work troubles, sickness, bitterness etc to come -  would they have sung the words "as the darkness closes in..." quite so easily? Would they have been so glib with their promises, so cheerful when talking about "the wilderness"? 
It's hard to articulate this without divulging too much... 
There is a road marked with suffering, and when you have walked it, you will have an understanding of the hardness of life. This road ...it has broken me and made more sympathetic, more understanding, when in the past, I might have been more judgmental and arrogant. It has helped me understand hope and bitterness in equal measure. 
It's a long road.
But every day, I continue to live and breathe and take things moment by moment...and hope for better things and better times. 
And everyday, I think God has sustained me and kept me. 
the song ends with this verse:

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wishes for William

Wishes for William by W.M. Letts (1882 – 1972)

These things I wish you for our friendship’s sake –
A sunburnt thatch, a door to face the sun
At westering, the noise of homing rooks;
A kind, old lazy chair, a courtly cat
To rub against your knees;
Shelves of well-chosen books;
I wish you these.
I wish you friends whose wisdom makes them kind,
Well-leisured friends to share your evening’s peace,
Friends who can season knowledge with a laugh;
A hedge of lavender, a patch of thyme,
With sage and marjoram and rosemary,
A damask rosebush and a hive of bees,
And cabbages that hold the morning dew,
A blackbird in the orchard boughs – all these
And – God bless you.
Children, no matter whose, to watch for you
With flower faces at your garden gate,
And one to watch the clock with eager eyes,
Saying: “He’s late – he’s late.”


I thought of posting a pair of poems - this and another, titled "Good Bones" by Maggie Smith. But in the end, I decided on just this - partly because this poem has been so forgotten - it was by chance that I came across it in a comment thread. 

What I would hope - for myself, for my children, my husband, anyone - all of these. Particularly, I would hope for kind friends because I understand now that kindness is everything. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Bursting forth

 Just now, I nursed baby S to sleep and as I looked down as his sleeping face - his perfect sleeping baby face - it occurred to me that I had never written about either of my babies. They were perfect - are perfect - but I somehow could not put that into words. Everything I wanted to say seemed trite - how do I describe the perfection in the curve of my baby's eyes without sounding like a love blinded fool?

Instead I wrote about sad things: about my grandfather's death, about the winter solstice and about illness. Although, come to think of it, maybe all of it was about my grandfather's death because the winter solstice was always at his house and we ate dumplings and of course, all that is now gone.


Today I hunted up the link to Donald Hall's Letter in Autumn because sometimes, you need to read something like that. 


The thought of perfection has been haunting me lately. I have been watching videos of competitive skaters and wince at every fall, every bobbled landing. Can I be like that? How can I work like that? I want to write again and somehow in this place in time, I am not able to do that.