It is Good Friday. I was having trouble contemplating this dark day as the Sun finally broke through the clouds and I was faced with the beautiful blue sky and the perfectly calm blue-green ocean. So I thumbed my way through the poems of Rainer Maria Rilke in his Book of Hours. It is a book of poetry given to me by a good friend as I was graduating from seminary. At times I pick it up and read like I do the poetry in Psalms to help me connect to myself and to God. And today, I stumbled upon a poem titled “I am praying again, awesome one.” It reminded me that ultimately, this violent filled day is about love. It is that the Word became flesh and lived in the world to make us whole again and even in death, refused to condemn but to ask for forgiveness for us; “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:24) Here is the poem of putting the fractured pieces of our lives into God’s loving hands:
I am praying, Awesome One.
You hear me again, as words
from the depths of me
rush toward you in the wind.
I’ve been scattered in pieces,
torn by conflict,
mocked by laughter,
washed down in drink.
In alleyways I sweep myself up
out of garbage and broken glass.
With my half-mouth I stammer you,
who are eternal in your symmetry.
I lift to you my half-hands
in wordless beseeching, that I may find again
the eyes with which I once beheld you.
I am a house gutted by fire
where only the guilty sometimes sleep
before the punishment that devours them
hounds them out into the open.
I am a city by the sea
Sinking into a toxic tide.
I am strange to myself, as though someone unknown
had poisoned my mother as she carried me.
It’s here in all the pieces of my shame
that now I find myself again.
I yearn to belong to something, to be contained
in an all-embracing mind that sees me
as a single thing.
I yearn to be held
in the great hands of your heart –
oh let them take me now.
Into them I place these fragments, my life,
and you, God – spend them however you want.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Rilke’s Book of Hours – Love Poems to God