Things I Do When I Should Be Doing Something Else

Sometimes when I am avoiding journaling my thoughts and feelings, I decide it sounds like a fun time to read through old journal entries rather than write new ones. I also do things like deep clean my bathroom or alphabetically catalog my bookshelves, you know, useful procrastination aids like that . . .

It was in a recent moment of avoidance that I stumbled across this poem I had started a few months ago. At the time, I was writing it for myself. But I finished it tonight, and am sharing it now for my friend, Sarah.

So, here’s a small treasure from my time spent procrastinating feeling my feelings:

I wish I could help you
so that you’d never lose your way.
Never lose the feeling
of the floor beneath your feet,
never find yourself on roads so dark
you think you might be blind.
But maybe,
this is the only way to find yourself:
when you can’t see
your hands in front of your face,
but you trust
they are still there.
When your past and your present
seem to belong to separate people,
and your prayers are anguished psalms
without the hopeful endings.
You start to learn the topography of your own story
in the smallest moments when one thing
ends, before another begins:
sun kissing the crest of the horizon,
the single breath in the black of night just
the sky breaks into day.
Once you have counted all as loss,
but you can’t yet see the value in what is left.
When our currency of hope is trust,
and faith is a feeble thread
tying us to a heavy anchor.
And it seems that we are still sinking,
the water is rising and we have still not learned
to swim.
But we know somehow that we will not drown.


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