[I wrote this poem a couple years ago…rediscovered it today. I still really like it.]
by Doug Bursch
Today I’ve been feeling sad, heart heavy, soul weary. I presume I could find a reason for the feelings, but it seems to me that the feeling arrived before I could ascribe to it cause.
Some people cast out sadness like a demon. They pray against sadness as if it were an attack against God’s purpose for the day. This may be true on occasion.
But today my sadness feels less like an attack and more like a familiar song. A song that gives me permission. Permission to stop, rest and listen. Permission to weep, permission to wonder, permission to sit bewildered, naked and unable.
Unable to fix it, unable to figure it out, unable to make my offering worthy.
Sad days are notoriously unproductive. They sidetrack me from the tasks at hand. You have this day Doug. And this day has things to be done. And if you don’t do these things. . . Well, you’ve wasted the day! If you waste the day, you cannot get it back. Something will suffer, something will simply not get done. You’ll fail yourself, you’ll fail your friends, you’ll fail the vision that was supposed to motivate this week.
Sadness is not a demonic attack. But sadness will take you through some dangerous alleys. Sadness is my synonym for weak. I’m just weak today. I can’t carry this thing, I’m staggering, stumbling, trying to find another clever word to defend me. Don’t say the word “thing” . . . describe it. . . don’t use the word “it” . . . say something clear. . . evocative. I’m too tired to look up evocative, too lazy to replace “thing” and “it” with beautiful words.
To be honest, I feel like I’m being carried today. My body draped in my savior’s arms. I do not see his face, my eyes are tired. I do not look up, because I know he is there. This street, this alley, it’s dirty and dangerous.
But you carry me. . . You hold me, you labor in my defense. I want you to drag me to safety. I feel as if I might be worthy of dragging. But you carry me, you lift me higher than my dragging arms, dragging hands. Not even a knuckle touches the ground.
I am your burden to be carried. Worthy enough to be rescued. Sometimes I wonder what the others must think. The sins they ascribe to my name, the foolishness they ponder. How could he get to this place, what must he have done? Why is he sad, why is God rescuing him? Is this really a worthy rescue or the foolish love of a foolish father? A pursuing father, a relentless father, a relentless love.
So I shouldn’t be tired, but I am! And I shouldn’t be sad, but that is the song I hear. And some want to fix me, but they can’t. So I’m going to choose this foolish plan. The plan where I’m held, where I’m carried, where I’m lifted higher than myself.
These are my humble days. What a feeble humility. My humility is such a suspect virtue. But He lifts me up. . . my God. . . You lift me up. And I am safe in your embrace. Eyes closed as I hear your breath. I am present with you. You are with me and that is enough to carry me through this life and into the life to come.