Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's all I have to bring today

April is National Poetry Month, so I thought I would share a poem that has been flitting through my mind lately:


It's all I have to bring today –
This, and my heart beside –
This, and my heart, and all the fields –
And all the meadows wide –
Be sure you count – should I forget
Some one the sum could tell –
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.
-Emily Dickinson

I find myself reciting the first line of this little poem as I go through my days- first in the enduring, phlegmatic way.  

It’s all I have to bring.”  
Sigh.  Shrug.

How dour I can be (and dramatic), when my world feels small, and what I do feels small and insignificant.

“It’s all I have to bring-”
and then I tell myself the rest of the poem;


this, and my heart besides
He asks for nothing more from me than this:
my small work,
and my heart.

I think about what I do have to bring to God, in the smallness of my days.

I can offer Him:
quiet
thanks
beauty
compassion
contrition
grace (for others, for myself)
kind words
wonder
art
faith
attention

How often do I think that what I have to give is too meager, too shallow, too small, and so I give nothing. I do not have a lot of money to give. I do not have a lot of time. I don't have a lot of talent, or a lot of imagination, or a lot of courage. I am limited, in so many ways, to this home, this rhythm, these three children, this small, ordinary work.

But God does His work with smallness. It is our lack that He desires. Our limitations, our fear, our inability. He takes these few small loaves, the widow's mite, this ordinary life, and this is where he chooses to do His work.

It's all I have to bring today . . .
it is not up to me to define what is small. I give what I am.
It is much less than enough,
He makes it more.

This, and my heart,
and all the fields
and all the meadows wide.

(I spent a long time last night reading about Emily Dickinson, her mysterious, gentle life. She lived a lot of her life as a recluse, taking care of her mother, unseen by the world. Yet in all her smallness her voice still speaks to the world, she speaks to me).

5 comments:

ali said...

Jess, I love this. Its funny, Emily Dickinson is that poet for me that I just never "get". Now I feel like there as at least one of her poems I can enjoy now. :)

Ruth said...

Beautiful.

MommyJ said...

I have always loved Emily Dickinson. I think her poetry is beautiful. I also loved, loved this post. You have such a magnificent way of expressing yourself.

Fijufic said...

You are a lovely human being. I needed to read this today. Thank you.

Bobby

Kelli said...

LOVE!!