Gethsemane

The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.
Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.
The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows if it ever sleeps.
Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did,
maybe the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn’t move, maybe
the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
blue pavement,
lay still and waited, wild awake.
Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be a part of the story.
—Mary Oliver

We all have those things we should have done differently . . . wish we could have done differently. “The sense of the irreparable is apt to make us despair . . .” But God knew that these too would be part of our story. The disciples went to sleep when they should have kept awake. They even got a second chance but slept on. Somehow that speaks to me, reminds me of someone I know well.

Even after settling things with God, and knowing that we’ve been forgiven, we often still feel regret. Regret for hurting someone we love, for failing our children or spouse or friend. Regret for saying words we shouldn’t have . . . or not saying the ones we needed to say. Regret for choosing selfishness and feelings of entitlement over love. Regret for holding grudges and letting unforgiveness shape us bitter. Those are things we can’t undo, redo. But we can ask forgiveness of those we have wronged if we haven’t and let those failures be signposts where two roads diverged . . . ever standing to remind us to choose His way next time. The way of grace. Forgiveness is a costly beautiful thing. Don’t waste it. Accept it with gratitude. Give it lavishly. Let it change you. Jesus says finally to the sleepers, “Rise, let us be going . . .” Matthew 26:46

The sense of the irreparable is apt to make us despair, and we say—“It is all up now, it is no use trying any more.” If we imagine that this kind of despair is exceptional, we are mistaken, it is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize that we have not done that which we had a magnificent opportunity of doing, then we are apt to sink into despair; and Jesus Christ comes and says –“Sleep on now, that opportunity is lost forever, you cannot alter it, but arise and go to the next thing.” Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ, and go out into the irresistible future with Him . . . Never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action.” (My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers)

2 thoughts on “Part of the story

  1. “The way of grace. Forgiveness is a costly beautiful thing. Don’t waste it. Accept it with gratitude. Give it lavishly. Let it change you.” It truly does change us. All of us. Thanks for this.

    Like

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