Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pondering a poem


                    "X"

        by Wendell Berry

Whatever is foreseen in joy
Must be lived out from day to day.
Vision held open in the dark
By our ten thousand days of work.
Harvest will fill the barn; for that
The hand must ache, the face must sweat.

And yet no leaf or grain is filled
By work of ours; the field is tilled
And left to grace. That we may reap,
Great work is done while we're asleep.

When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day, and finds it good.

 

I love this poem by Wendell Berry.

“Whatever is foreseen in joy,” could be any dream or desire, whether it’s planting and harvesting a crop, cultivating a relationship, or writing a book. 

Dreams don’t happen by daydreaming them into existence.  As Berry says, they “must be lived out from day to day.” 

Working toward a goal helps keep the dream alive, but the act of working in itself requires a measure of faith. 

“Harvest will fill the barn; for that / The hand must ache, the face must sweat.” 

We have to initiate the process, put words on paper, scatter the seed, take the leap of faith.  We provide the most ideal conditions for growth that we know how but still can’t do the growing; we trust it will happen. 

“And yet no leaf or grain is filled / By work of ours; the field is tilled/ and left to grace.  That we may reap, / Great work is done while we’re asleep.”

We rest in the fact that when we’ve done all we can, some greater power, or Someone Greater, carries the dream on to fruition. 

Rest is as necessary a part of work as labor.  Not just a physical rest, but a spiritual rest--rest in One who cares for us, who set the laws of sowing and reaping into motion. 

Some rest too much, some work too much.  The secret is to find the balance of will and grace, I think. 

Scattering seeds is in itself an act of faith.  Sometimes we overestimate our roles as gardener, but we cannot, to save our lives, make seeds sprout and grow. 

We can create the good conditions, but growth, change, progress takes a power beyond us, one every gardener relies on, but doesn’t often consider. 

Assured of this, “a Sabbath mood” rests on our day. 

It is good. 

At least, that’s what I got out of the poem. J

 

 

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