Loving the Heart of Our Hurting World


W.S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping o­n the bridge to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
in a country up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings o­n stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is.       (From Annie Lamott,  Traveling Graces)

As I live the stark realities of the COVID19 Pandemic in my work as a healthcare chaplain and my life as a woman living, loving and caring for others, I reach the limits of my mind’s ability to respond.  And from there, I am called back to my heart’s way of sustaining in the midst of so much pain, sorrow and uncertainty.  Returning to the depths of my heart’s way of being, I reconnect with a true sense of my connection to the hearts of those who serve, those who suffer, those who survive and those who die.  I meet the mystical truth that my heart and the Heart of the universe are united in You – source and sustenance of all life; the Living Presence within all presence.

I find courage and strength to open and hold the heart of this hurting world.  Through the wisdom and strength of Love, the eyes of my heart open and see You as the very heart of the hurting world ~ the place of blessing, the place of grace ~ the sacred place.

And touching this sense of the goodness of life, I look around me and I see the countless expressions of love’s treasure unfolding everywhere. People serving and self-sacrificing to tend the heart of the hurting world. And my heart sees clearly the Living Presence in every presence and my soul breathes hope.


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