A Poem Well Lived
The last day in Wales, our pilgrim group visited a monastic community of Cistercian sisters. After we joined them for Non, the mid-afternoon prayer in the liturgical day, they served us strong black tea with milk and home-baked cakes on fancy china. They welcomed us to ask any question we may have of those whose lifestyles were so different than ours.
Too many of us to ﬁt in one room, I joined a group of four pilgrims to sit with the eldest of the Sisters. Wrinkled, witty, wise and wonderful, I couldn't help but ask her, “Would you bless us?” Her body was too frail to show her enthusiasm, yet her eyes and voice as she called out to a younger novice captured the joy she was about to offer.
With no instruction other than, “get the paper under my bed,” the younger scurried off to retrieve what was soon to become the highlight of my ten day journey in Wales.
No tears, but a light so strong in her eyes I could scarce bear the brilliance, the 86 year old woman recited the words as if she said them hundreds of times before. She shared her treasure as both invitation to us as well as a recommitment to live with passion the rest of her days.
Landscapes of the Mind
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.