When I Consider How My Light Is Spent
by John Milton
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide;
"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or His own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."
I have been thinking about times of crisis recently and what the purpose of crisis is in a life. Certainly there is a wake-up call sensation that occurs when a person is plunged into a situation out of their control. I think about how I'll be remembered by my children, will they know without a doubt that they are loved by me? Will they remember only the times I grouched? I remember those days, I take them to heart:
February: 8 a.m.
by Amy Unsworth
Barely daylight, and I have been cruel
to two of those I love: the child who would not find
his coat, the dog who would not brave the cold.
What poison rises before the sun, bitter and dark
to mar the beginnings of the day? Already, I’m
on my knees, begging, for grace, for sunlight
to pierce, to break, the cover of clouds,
to shine down on us all: the boy waving curbside,
the dog returned to dreaming, my curtained heart.
I wonder if Milton knew, in his struggles documented above, how much of a comfort his poem would be to others as they too struggle to attend to the simple yet difficult task of waiting. I often subscribe to the "make it so" school of thought. Set the goal, make it so. But at times like this, when the doors seem firmly shut, I wonder if it isn't all for a reason I cannot yet comprehend. I feel as if the universe demands that I stand and wait. And so I listen to the words from centuries before to find some wisdom there. And breathe. And wait.