Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Two Poems

Walk Slowly
Danna Faulds

It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still and just like that,
something in me settles, softens,
makes space for imperfection. The harsh
voice of judgment drops to a whisper
and I remember again that life isn’t a relay race;
that we will all cross the finish line;
that waking up to life is what we were born for.
As many times as I forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I am going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, to be and walk
slowly into the mystery.


Here The Water's Music
Tere Sievers

There is only one way, aging beauties,
to go down this river,
to hear the water's music over the rocks,
to find a loving I, Thou, Who.
I say, spring out of the boat,
jump in naked, tender,
with your ferocious heart torn open.


This past week we reached Chapter 72 in my study of the Rule of Benedict. Although there are seventy-three chapters, Chapter 72, The Good Zeal of Monastics, is very much a grand send-off from Benedict:

Just as there is a wicked zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to hell, so there is a good zeal which separates from evil and leads to God and everlasting life. This, then, is the good zeal which members must foster with fervent love: "They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Romans 12:10)," supporting with the greatest patience one another's weaknesses of body or behavior, and earnestly competing in obedience to one another. No one is to pursue what she judges better for herself, but instead, what she judges better for someone else. Among themselves they show the pure love of sisters; to God, reverent love; to their prioress, unfeigned and humble love. Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may Christ bring us all together to everlasting life.

As I read these two poems, both of which I love for different reasons, something in each resonated with good zeal. In the first poem:

and I remember again that life isn’t a relay race;
that we will all cross the finish line;
that waking up to life is what we were born for.

And in the second poem:

I say, spring out of the boat,
jump in naked, tender,
with your ferocious heart torn open.

We experience and share good zeal in many forms. Benedict writes about obedience, respect, patience, and love. As I find examples of good zeal in multiple spaces, I am reminded to wake up to all life, to keep my whole heart torn open, to always ready my eyes and my ears -- to remember to seek and spread good zeal, especially in the unexpected.

Let us walk in the holy presence.