You Are Not Alone
The other day, I was reading through a collection of poems by the 13th-century poet Rumi and came across one that blew me away.
After reading it a half dozen times, I decided to write it down to think about it more until I felt like writing about it. Well, today, I felt like writing about it. It hit me suddenly, and I feel like sharing.
So first, here's the poem:
how sad that I am alone
in this odd time
sailing in the sea
seeing no shoreline
moving the boat
in a grim dark night
in God's water
with God's grace
At first blush, you might think this poem to be a bit on the darker side. It reflects a lostness, a sense of melancholy and resignation. There's almost a hopelessness in the first few lines.
But then it takes a turn with the last two.
In the last two lines, the speaker describes being alone on the sea with no shore in sight on a dark night. But then the speaker declares that they are "in God's water" and "with God's grace."
This is reminiscent of the poems in the ancient Psalms in the Hebrew Scriptures. The psalmist will cry out in anguish, feeling alone and forgotten, and then at the end, they acknowledge their hope in God's providence and purpose.
I love how Rumi put this, though. The speaker realizes at the end of their lament that they are floating in "God's water," which speaks to me of the presence of God in all of Creation.
The speaker also is not alone because they declare they are "with God's grace," which I take as a reference to the presence of God within the speaker, not just in the water.
In other words, the speaker is completely surrounded. God goes before them and is all around and in them.
I don't know about you, but there have been more than a few times in my life when I felt like the world was falling apart around me, only to have a rush of realization that God was in the midst of it.
Maybe that rush came with a feeling of peace or a word from a friend that was exactly what I needed to hear. Or it was something more, a moment of rescue, a transformation of my circumstances that felt miraculous.
Sometimes, the rush of realization doesn't come until after the journey through the dark. Some bits of wisdom don't manifest until we are in the light, standing on the shore and looking back at the way we came.
So today, if you feel like a sailor alone on the sea with no shoreline in sight. Take a moment and let yourself feel the presence of God in the water around you. Breathe deeply and visualize God's grace within you.
And know that you are held in loving hands and that God is always with you and within you.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.