Be Still and Know
On Sunday afternoons, a small group of our church members meets on Zoom to talk about poems.
While I’ve loved poetry all my life, experience has taught me that not everyone shares my passion. I taught English at the college level for 30 years. During the last few years, most of my students in a literature survey class were nursing students! I was impressed that the directors of the program required the class because they understood the unique power of literature to open their students’ minds to different ways of seeing life.
Their students were less enthusiastic.
And it’s easy to understand why. Somehow, well-meaning high school English teachers can lead their students to believe that:
Poems that don’t rhyme are hard to understand!
There is only one correct way to interpret a poem; and
The interpretation relies on the reader knowing the “secret code” required to untangle the words, and figure out what the heck the poet is saying.
I often heard (spoken with great frustration), “Why don’t they just say what they mean?!”
If you’ve read this far, it’s likely that I’m preaching to the choir when I say that reading poetry is worth the effort. That it can speak to the heart and soul differently from other kinds of writing. And that it can even be used in prayer and meditation. If you’ve never used poetry this way, I offer you this poem by Edwina Gateley, a Christian who has dedicated her life to ministering to the poor.
This is my prayer—
That, though I may not see,
I be aware
Of the Silent God
Who stands by me.
That, though I may not feel,
I be aware
Of the Mighty Love
Which doggedly follows me.
That, though I may not respond,
I be aware
That God—my Silent, Mighty God,
Waits each day.
Quietly, hopefully, persistently.
Waits each day and through each night
This poem describes something you, and I, and all believers may sometimes feel. That, though we cannot always see God at work in our lives, God is there. That, though we may not always feel God’s love, it follows us in every step of our journey. That… though we may not take the time to sit with our Lord, may not even make the time for a quick conversation… God never stops waiting for each one of us to be aware.
Our God, our mighty God “quietly, hopefully, persistently” waits, with infinite patience, for you to know once again the width and length and depth and height of God’s love for you.
May Gateley’s words serve to remind you, during this season of self-reflection, that God sent Jesus into the world for all—and specifically, for you—that you might live forever in the light of that Perfect Love.
Easter blessings to you and yours,