Last month was the tenth anniversary of my dad's death, and I find myself re-reading his poems. Dad was allergic to religious language, feeling the world had enough empty words, and needed deeds. So after his death I was surprised to find scraps of paper scrawled with poems in laborious script, most of them from his last years when verbal communication was increasingly difficult, and his eyes reflected an active mind trapped inside a slowly paralyzing body.
Now at a crossroads in my own life, moving on to a new home and a new job with many unknowns and challenges ahead, I am amazed to hear my Dad speaking directly to me through his poems. Seeking the "Way" is a recurrent theme, and I imagine there are others at crossroads, too, who will be encouraged by these extracts from three of his poems:
Every day is a new day!
Every day is a new day!
For night has passed and a new light
of a new day breaks on the hill.
Every day can be God's day;
a longing must arise from us,
from the quiet place within us.
Every day is another day in the human epoch
which has a beginning and an end.
For the pause which God has made in infinite eternity
was made for one end, with one goal
which we can never grasp with our intellect:
GOD LOVES US
...and so we have to go forward in faith
that he who loves all men will show us the way.
It will be a way which holds us together.
In a bond with him, we dare to go forward
(weakly and faltering)
to His new day and His new time.
A Way, a Path
Knowest thou, man,
There is always a WAY, a PATH.
The call of this path is for him
who hears a tender voice;
The voice of one, despised, rejected
and acquainted with grief.
And further knowest thou, man,
That this voice – so broken with grief
Is the resting place
Of all grief
Of all sorrow!
Of all despair!
There is a way
There is a way that bids us onward.
There is an awareness that gives strength
to look backward and forward
It is a tension not to be avoided because it leads to peace...
You may surely say
"He could have helped",
"He would have helped".
It is only when we have courage
to face ourselves,
to look at the path we took –
that we can draw near to him
who was there,
who is there,
who will be there
to help us on a way that could be His way,
if we long for it.
Isn't it worth a little longing; a little yearning?
And so we are where we began,
Like a nervous choir boy pondering
The bliss he has to try to express:
But take courage –
that was always there waiting
is still there, waiting –
of a heart turned to the Way
which was always there,
waiting to be chosen and trod.