Grad School · My Creative Writing · Personal · Religious

Beyond What I Can See

Compared to most graduating students, I have an unusually amazing quality and quantity of things lined up. I’ve got a dream job. I’ve got interesting travels planned all summer before I start. I just touched down from a flight back from India, where I finished my last class of grad school. I will graduate this Saturday. Things are moving. I will be moving. I already am.

Sometimes, I worry about getting stuck in the details – the dates, the packing lists, the number of goodbyes, the technical details and paperwork to be filled out. In moments like this, where there is so much more gratitude than fear, more plans than an exhausted confusion about the future, more energy than exhaustion (maybe), I want to remember this moment I had with my spiritual director, one that I’ve turned into a poem called “The Meadow Beyond It.”

I once told someone
that I worry about
getting lost 
in the trees
and missing the grandeur
of the forest
(of each tree and leaf)
 
She looked me in the eyes
smiled
and said
You strike me as someone
who not only sees the forest
but the meadow beyond it

I paused
thought
tried to eschew her kindness
(her belief in me)
and realized I could not
 
Yes
my heart beats rapidly
and my brain floats in
a fluid of reminders
and calendar events
and dreams too big 
for my current size
 
No
I am not lost
in and among the trees
or even in the forest
 
Chaos does not – 
cannot – 
cut away 
from direction and purpose
and it cannot silence
God’s still small voice
whispering
rustling the leaves
quietly assuring me
gently turning me
toward a path 
I hadn’t considered 
(or had the courage to walk
upon seeing
the narrow and winding
view ahead)
 
May that still small voice
breathe into my held breath
slow my racing heart
help me
to long for the aerial view
and be able to find it
even when my mind is
filled with worries
my eyes are 
filled with tears
my mouth is
filled with groanings
too deep for words
and far beyond my understanding
 
May I know
that even the weeds
and the thorns are gifts 
from the One
who created all things
in love – 
even me

So many questions and doubts went into this journey that began September 2016 after my journey at Mayo that summer. I’m coming out of it with more than I ever could have imagined.

Despite already knowing the biggest details – where I’m going and what I’ll be doing – I’m so, so excited to see the little surprises that will come my way.

I know I’ll be surrounded by love at every step. That’s been the constant throughout all of it.

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