I wrote the poem below during a particularly dark period in my personal life. I woke this morning with the same image, only this time it felt like it had broader application. This one wasn’t personal.A good friend, who is a Sufi mystic, once said to me, “Disillusionment is a good thing. We must work to shatter our illusions on the rock of truth.” We have been shattered. Shattered by the extremes we have allowed to grow in our midst. Weather extremes, violence, harshness, floods of images and information, human extremes everywhere, extremes of money and excess right alongside extremes of poverty and exclusion. Mostly we have been shattered by the horrific discovery of who we, as a nation, really are sometimes. We have also been shattered by the realization that we were born this way.
The questions before us really are, what is left? Where is the bedrock? Is it strong and true? Really? Will it hold? Will it hold US?
Time will answer…these are questions we can not answer alone, they a bigger than us.
My hopeful thought this morning is: In my own life, when everything crumbled, when the illusions shattered, when there really was no “happily ever after”, what was left was the very best and strongest part. At the time, this was impossible to see. When I wrote the poem below, there was still a very real question about whether anything at all would be left.
What I learned from my personal experience is that when you have been shattered, you have two choices; you can stay broken, or if the base is strong and true, you can pick yourself up and build on the rock that remains….and…
If the bedrock IS strong enough to hold, THIS time, you’d damn well better do it “right”.
I pray that, together, we find the same ultimate answer here and now.
Worn down to that smooth impenetrable surface that is Timeless and unchangeable,
Glistening black under the turbulent flow
Hard and True.
Tears, sweat pouring out of my soul to create this wild river
Cut through all the layers.
Everything insubstantial carried away in the swift current.
The exposed layers a true map of time.
Layer upon layer of sand and crumble GONE
Layers of rock not strong enough to withstand the raging flow
Trees with shallow roots torn from the soil.
All swept away in the chaos
The question before me:
Will I desperately scramble up the sides
To try to rebuild my life on the sand?
Will I get in that boat and ride that current?
Trusting the bedrock to hold?