“Pilgrims are poets who create by taking journeys.”
So said Anna Elkins, as she led a poetry writing class at the Bethel Writers Workshop. I never had any desire to write poetry, but when I heard Anna share a poem she had written at the Welcome Session, the beauty of her words drew me in. I figured I would give it a go.
Instructed to use our five senses to explore the world around us, we were sent off to find inspiration in whatever caught our attention, from the beautiful to the mundane.
I knew instinctively where I wanted to go. I didn’t realize that the writing I’d create would affect me so much.
Since when is poetry supposed to do that?
This poem is for anyone who is facing uncertainty in life. In the middle of your circumstances, I pray these words will help you to find hope. And peace.
You are not alone.
by Lorraine Marie Varela
I walk the halls from my place of safety
and step out
into the world unknown.
The coolness of the halls brought comfort;
their sights and sounds wrapped me
in the familiarity
of days gone by.
My childhood was spent
within the sanctuary
of halls such as these.
I leave the coolness
and step out into the light
as I journey toward the unfamiliar.
Up ahead I know I will encounter dust and rocks.
Dust and rocks.
But is there more?
The shade of the tree welcomes me
and sit within its shelter.
In the serenity of the shade,
the songs of the birds
rise and fall
in greeting and response.
All is well.
The sound of cascading water,
brings a steady reminder
of the Holy Spirit’s refreshing wonder—
ever with me.
I feel the warm breeze encircle
and swirl around me—
increasing in intensity,
to make its presence known.
“Look at me!”
the breeze says without a word,
“I am here.”
The air that had been invisible,
has garnered my attention.
Its company is
a welcome friend.
I detect a faint sweetness in the breeze.
with a demand to be noticed,
but in subtle hints
the sweet aroma reminds me
to taste and see that the LORD is good.
A taste that must be experienced,
to be fully cherished.
As I sit under the tree
in contemplative stillness,
I feel the hardness of the rock
on which I sit.
A rock that is inscribed:
Place of Outpouring
House of Grace
House of Mercy
And I am reminded that no matter
where my feet may wander,
or where I journey onward in life,
I am covered by steady streams of
Grace and Mercy,
pouring over me
from the Giver of Life.
I am not alone.
My senses have proven this is so.
As I make my way back
into the halls of familiarity,
coolness envelops me once again.
Safety within; discovery without.
Discovery within; safety without.
For wherever I go,
I rest secure
in the One who knows me by name.
I am not alone
…and neither are you.