A Beautiful Poem

A beautiful poem by Stanley Kunitz:


The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

~ Stanley Kunitz

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a word from The Sponsor ~ February 10

 

We may feel alone, but we aren’t. We are surrounded by an army of witnesses. They have run the race of faith and finished well. It is now our turn.

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.Hebrews 12: 2 (VOICE)

“His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!” ~Hebrews 12:2b (TPT)

 

Because of Grace, take the time now to release yourself from the struggle and the pain. In order to fulfill His plan in your life, you must lay your burdens down.

 

 


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More words from The Sponsor

a word from The Sponsor ~ February 3

“He makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]; He sets me securely upon my high places.” Psalm 18:33 (AMP)

beach walk

 

 


 

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More words from The Sponsor

Mid-week Question of the Week ~ January 30

Revisiting a favorite topic at the close of the first month of the year…

 

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?”
~C.S. Lewis

 

What has changed for you since the beginning of 2019? 

What has stayed the same?

 

 


Look back to previous questions

The CREEP / Repelling the CREEP

I’ve found that over the years, I have rushed away from my life. The past was a rushed jumble of “CREEP.”  CREEP is my acronym for the Circumstances, Responsibilities, Experiences, Expectations, Problems. 

CREEP exists. CREEP is real. I rushed to meet the CREEP as it showed up in deadlines, due dates, invoice dates, bills due dates, surprises (not always good), unexpected situations and events, publication dates, speaking appointments, and boundaries (those I bumped up against and those I needed to create). As with so many intrusions, success comes from grace-filled responses.

Amid the CREEP onslaught, my choices (as I appraised them back then) were to meet the CREEP or flee the CREEP in a rushed whirl of activity. I suited out and showed up.

I attended.

I participated.

I brought snacks to t-ball, printed programs for recitals, sewed costumes for shows, planned luncheons, and town halls.

As food became weaponized in ever-expanding consciousness campaigns, I baked or bought the obligatory 3-dozen donuts, cookies, cupcakes, fruit roll-ups,  ‘Lil Smokes, scones, sugar-free zucchini muffins, vegan carrot cakes, kale chips, granola blondies, fruit kabobs, and lactose-free, gluten-free, non-GMO “bars”.

Rationalization is something we usually do after the fact. Some of the following quips helped me to rationalize my CREEP-induced flurry:

“Do all you can … then do one more thing” (advice from a fellow single mom).
“If it is to be, it’s up to me” (William Johnsen’s well-meaning aphorism on steroids in my life).
“Why put off to tomorrow what you can do today” (my Granny and every other Granny from the Greatest Generation).
“I can do it backwards and in high heels.” (Ginger Rogers, (and who wouldn’t aspire to her elegance and energy?))
“You can sleep when you’re dead” (a spoken tenet of my German heritage).

What rationalizations did you tell yourself?

Rationalization also entangled in a mortgage of co-dependent conditioning, “If I meet the outside demands/solve your problem/deal with the class mom/solve the organizations problems, then, I’ll get time to myself, to worship, praise God, rest, play, and renew.”

Sometimes (most-times) the CREEP crippled my opportunity to live in the hug of His Grace. I think maybe I mortgaged my receptivity to His Grace. The Grace continued as He promised, but, perhaps, I would have benefited from resting in Grace.

While I maintained a Gratitude practice and experienced a few navel-gazing sabbaticals,  I think present-day me would have like more of a snapshot of the me of the past. While avoiding the human tendency toward navel-gazing, I could have stopped more to Heaven-gaze.

Is this just my singular experience? Have you experienced the CREEP? If so, I would love to know about your experience.

 

Nuances of Intention from the book of Isaiah

Because of Grace, we have assurances of our place in His Plan from the book of Isaiah:

“It is the same with {God’s} word. I, {God} send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:11 (NLT)

 

Notice the intentionality of His Plan from New Life Version translation

“My Word which goes from My mouth will not return to Me empty. It will do what I want it to do, and will carry out My plan well. Isaiah 55:11 (NLV) italics added

 

…and the declaration of His Plan from The Voice translation

“So it is when I {God} declare something. My word will go out and not return to Me empty, But it will do what I  {God} wanted; it will accomplish what I {God} determined.” Isaiah 55:11 (The Voice translation) italics added

 

Because of Grace, we are invited to His Plan.

What verse(s) remind you of His Plan/His Grace?

a word from The Sponsor January 6

 

But He said ” My grace is sufficient for you'” ~2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

2Corinthians 12 9 Bible Study Tools

 

“But he told me: ‘My kindness is all you need.'”  ~2 Corinthians 12:9 (NOG)*

 

 

 

 

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More words from The Sponsor

*Names of God Bible

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