You Are Not Alone In This
A hundred years ago, I graduated from Florida State University with a degree in English Literature and then got halfway through a Masters degree in British History with a minor field in Renaissance Literature.
I'm telling you all this not so that you will find me a bit more interesting (although that would be a great by-product), rather so you will know why we're going to be studying poetry by a British poet over the next two Daily Devos.
Here's the first poem in our little literary study. It's entitled "The Little Boy Lost" by William Blake:
'Father, father where are you going?
O do not walk so fast.
Speak father, speak to your little boy,
Or else I shall be lost.'
The night was dark, no father was there;
The child was wet with dew;
The mire was deep, & the child did weep,
And away the vapour flew.
This poem resonated with me so much that I just had to share it, along with the companion poem, which we'll read tomorrow.
The poet takes on the persona of a small boy, and the imagery is a bit vague, but what is easy to glean from these two stanzas is the feeling of lostness, utter aloneness, despair and fear born out of isolation.
It's possible that what has left the child feeling lost is the loss of innocence, the loss of pure faith, the loss of belief that there is a hand that will reach out and rescue.
The reality of his surroundings overwhelms the boy. He is cold, wet and wading through mud. It's then that we have that last, excellent line: "And away the vapour flew."
Is it hope that evaporates? His belief in goodness? His childlike trust in God? The meaning is subjective in a way--leaving it up to the reader to identify with the child and reach her own conclusions.
Have you felt this way before? Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed and lost right now. Perhaps you are mourning loss---the loss of a loved one, the loss of your career, your health, a relationship...
Or maybe you are feeling the loss of God in your life. You feel alone and struggling. And truthfully, we all experience this. We have all been that little boy in Blake's poem. We all know what it feels like to feel lost and isolated.
But you are not alone. You may be lost, but you are not alone. You may be overwhelmed, but you are not alone.
Today we will let ourselves sit in this moment of lostness, and we will do our best to trust. There may be clouds and rain and muck today, but the sun will rise tomorrow. And we will have light to see that we are not alone in any of this.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.