Like Martha in Luke’s Gospel, we worry and fret about so many things. Our minds race for hours on end and we often find ourselves full of anxiety. Worries about so many things, big and small cram our minds. It sometimes seems like our mind is nothing but a mass of anxieties.
And then something – the smile of a friend, the blueness of the sky, the rustle of the leaves of a tree, a piece of music – reminds us that there is something beyond the worry. That there is Someone who holds us and our worries in the palm of His hand. That we are not alone and that, whatever it is, we don’t have to face it all on our own. We’re reminded, and we are able to lift our heads above the suffocating anxieties and rest in God’s peace.
My friend Michael recently posted on Mirror of Justice a poem by Denise Levertov, Primary Wonders, that captures more eloquently than my words something of that peace of God that soothes our souls:
Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, and everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.
Coincidentally, my friend Richard sent me a poem the other day by Wendell Berry that suggests a simple means of bringing ourselves back from the anxiety into God’s peace. In The Peace of Wild Things, Berry writes:
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Good material to pray with.