“What doesn’t kill you strengthens you.”
Perhaps, for those whose goal
is tyranny, pain’s wielded like a sword.
But, on a gentler parallel,
it binds me to the whole,
exposing all my weakness. Pain’s a cord.
I seek, instead, experience
that empties all I am
(assuming, first, the Self is mine to yield)
into the flowing Mystery
that breaks this human dam
of fear and spills across the open field.
If I, in passing circumstance,
can catch the cresting flow
of consummate compassion, may I give
the trapped debris that barred me from
the current to the foe …
for only in surrender can I live.
I won the battle; lost the war.
You’re not my enemy.
At last, I wonder what has been attained,
and how much love was squandered in
the time it took to see
Fear’s alter ego, Arrogance, restrained.
What is it that entitles me
to fancy I can judge
another’s heart? I don’t know where it’s been,
or how the blanket wrapped around
that soul got stained with sludge,
or what’s been siphoned out or ladled in.
For hollow is the victory
where fractured dreams occurred —
those clanking bones that muster to defend
the id. They quell the music of
an understanding word
that might repair the rift and save the friend.
“In everything, give thanks.” It’s not
a sugar-coated bite
of Pollyanna platitude. For me,
it keeps the heart attentive to
those blessings wrapped in light
the universe bestows abundantly.
But what about adversity —
the unrelenting sigh
of disappointments, illnesses, and tears?
A butterfly emerging from
its chrysalis would die
but for the struggle. Workouts bridle fears.
So, mindful in expressing praise,
rejoicing in each thing
synonymous with good, I must include
unanswered prayer, the harbinger
of transformation’s sting.
It’s unconditional, this gratitude.