Saturday, July 30, 2011

Three streams and a place of peace

At this moment I find myself at the confluence of three streams, and the waters toss and tumble as they meet and widen into a river. The Yearly Meeting of Northwest Friends has just ended on a high note with the confirmation of Becky Ankeny (Hal’s cousin) as the new superintendent. An excellent choice. Hal and I presented two workshops, met with the mission board and spoke at the women’s and men’s banquets. God was gracious and once again these two introverted servants made it through their public responsibilities alive and well.

At the same time, we are in the midst of helping our children and their children prepare for their return to Rwanda. So, concurrent with yearly meeting, it’s been a week of sorting, cleaning, packing, running errands, and much prayer for peace and grace. An undercurrent of grief runs through it all. Four years of separation is a long time.

The third stream that chatters and bubbles in the background is preparation for my trip to Costa Rica on Monday and four intense days of curriculum revision for PRODOLA.

Part of my spiritual discipline recently, and a way to keep my spirit centered in grace and peace, is memorization (in some cases, re-memorization) of favorite poems. I’ve printed each poem on a 6 x 4 card and play with it as we take our early morning walk (another spiritual discipline). This one by Wendell Berry keeps me centered in grace, even when I can’t get out into the nature he writes about. It helps the streams inside me gather into a place of still water.

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

 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
or 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.


  1. Thank you so much for letting your streams include us this summer!!! Wow, I'm not looking forward to a month without Judy--that certainly puts "four years of separation" into perspective.

    Berry's poem reminds me of another poem that has often helped me: Psalm 131.

  2. Thank you! I just read Psalm 131. Very quieting and full of grace. I'm sorry our trips didn't integrate better--you leaving for Russia while I returned from Costa Rica. We'll take good care of Judy the next few weeks.