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
of 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.
— Wendell Berry
Life gets insane. It can be sad, overwhelming, busy, and anxiety-ridden. But, life can also be beautiful, joyful, slow, and peaceful. Usually, though, these seemingly contradictory parts of the world are not far from each other. Beauty is not separate from sadness. Slowness doesn’t mean that it is not surrounded by frenzied action. Peace doesn’t mean the absence of all anxiety. Joy often creeps into overwhelming situations.
In fact, the highest joys tend to infiltrate the lowest lows and, in so doing, gain strength in remembrance. The memory that joy has emerged from sadness is one that is not easily quenched & can be strength in times of darkness.
Where has joy manifested in the sorrows of your life? Where do you find peace amidst chaos? What beauty exists in the dark places in your life? Where do you receive grace when it’s offered? Where do you choose not to receive grace?
Don’t forget to remember when you’ve received this grace. Write it down. (That’s what Wendell Berry did in this poem). Our world so desperately needs to remember what it is like to receive grace so that it can move to create graceful spaces.