Friday, January 20, 2012

The Gift -- from The Battlefield of Joy


This is a poem from the collection The Battlefield of Joy.

There is a central theme to the collection, and it is not about war and “strawberry cactus” blooming.

Some would use words such as sensual, beautiful, warm, or profound to describe the poems… perhaps even sublime.

Yet, each reader has her or his own sense of what they mean or invoke.

Again, I prefer simplicity to convey deeper meanings…  



The Gift

The Sufi master would say:

Fear God, for he is that big man chasing you with a stick while you run away crying… 

Crying out to God:
send me someone who will show me love!
   
While the big man with the stick chasing you answers:

     With this stick I will trip you so you fall down in the dust, then, on your ass… 

II

We think we know better, calling out for aid while running full speed from His messengers and love.

The fleer is afraid the man with the stick seeks to take something away, or cause pain.
So caught up in fear, she couldn’t stop to ask why he was chasing her or who might he be.

The man with the stick saw the fright of the woman in flight
and heard her pleas to take her fear away.
  
He knew, too, her fear was as great as he had known before,
so he chased her relentlessly to offer his gift.

When the big man reached the frightened woman he tripped her with his staff; she went flying to the dust.

     Oh, my greatest fear has come upon me! 

She cried: I’ve been caught and knocked down!

When the big man reached her where she sat in the dust
he offered his hand to her.

She looked into his eyes and saw compassion; but more,
a mirror in which she saw herself.

She saw the possessive fear upon her face and knew for
the first time:

          This is the fear of being loved!

Truly, it was a fear of what she had often cried out to God to provide: to know love.

Seeing into the mirror of her enduring emptiness, she understood why the strong man had chased her so enthusiastically.

Because her fear had been as great he had known
it was special for him to strive toward and trip this woman who ran from love faster than anyone he had seen,

to offer his hand to her, to show her that those whom we fear most may be sent to become our friends.

In a moment of clarity she understood:

She had given the man greater meaning by crossing his path;
the longer she set aside her fear of love the greater gift she was to the man with the big staff.

     She took his hand in her own.    

God sometimes acts the Trickster
when given no choice.


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The Battlefiled of Joy can be found here ...