..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)



Monday, March 21, 2011

For Peace Comes Dropping Slow....


"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; 
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

--W.B. Yeats--the Lake Isle of Innisfree

On this cold, snowy day in a New England that, is really taunting
us with the hope of spring then cruelly dashing our hopes, I found
this lovely poem by W.B.Yeats that matched my longing and what
I have been meditating upon.

Thank God that we can pray in all conditions and that God
accepts prayers from harried, hurried hearts as well as peaceful
ones but what I want to address is the place of praying from
a deeply peaceful heart: one of life's richest pleasures.

Yeats describes his longing to go to his little lakeside
cabin and so, he "shall have some peace there, for peace
comes dropping slow."  Indeed!

There is a certain gift of peace that God gives to us
when we are in over our heads and know that our
help comes from God alone. This is a precious
gift. But there is also a peace that we cultivate
in our hearts in order to hear the gentle and
sweet voice of God in every nuance.  This
peace is something we apply ourselves to, cultivate,
nurture, even sacrifice for: it is deep inner peace
and calm and Yeats speaks the truth when he
says it "comes dropping slowly."

My Lent has been a feeble and often failed
attempt to put myself aside and seek God but
what I do know is that I know I was heading for
that deep peace, that totally tranquil place within,
that cannot be come to overnight, cannot be
rushed,  and which has no earthly substitute.

I remember my country childhood, of a completely
different era, one where there was long and deep
lakes of quietude where all one heard for hours was
the sounds of robins, sparrows, peepers and crickets and the soft rustle
of willow and pine trees. Even as a child it is those
moments I remember most vividly and cherish most
deeply.  No one had yet told me the right words about
God  but I felt Him still, before I was formally introduced.

Our lives our so hurried, so rushed, and there is that
primitive if not biblical urge that calls us to slow down
into peace and which we ignore at our very peril. There are
some things that cannot be heard until we are absolutely
quiet inside. There are some truths that won't come to
us until silence reigns in our inner man and the Voice
of our Beloved can speak without the voices of a
million lesser things, madmen all,  interrupting. 

This, if you hadn't noticed, takes a long time. It is not a meander on
a country road, not knowing where you are going
that takes you there, but a deliberate determination
to come to quiet. The irony is that we cannot quiet
ourselves completely, we can only go so far and
the rest, as always and in all things, is grace.
It is worth, without a doubt, every minute.

Let us walk down the road toward that quiet
cabin in our hearts, so that "peace can drop upon
us slow," and there wait for our Lord to speak
in the "heart's deep core" 
If we can accomplish that this Lent, we will
have done well.


photo taken near Jacksonville, Vermont



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