This morning, I got an email from Josh Bernstein, a Discovery TV host (okay, so it wasn’t a personal email, but one from his listserve – I could only wish he would email me individually. I’m a great fan of his.) In the email, he was explaining that he had just taken a week off – “No cell phone, no email — it’s been fantastic.” – only to return to his email to see that a bunch of his fans were panicking about changes in his show schedule and such. After assuring his fan base that we will get back with more information when he has it, he says:
Sit tight and may I suggest you take a deep breath and
relax. Life’s too short and precious to worry about something like this.

Wow, that was the message I needed to hear today. I have been so stressed out about work, about my house, about life in general . . . and here God comes with an email to remind me, via Josh Bernstein, to take a deep breath, wait, and it will all work out. I’m always complaining that God doesn’t leave notes or put up neon signs, but today I got an email . . . God is good.

Sometimes it is so easy for me to get wrapped up in politics and planning, to always be thinking about how to work something out, how to get it all done, how to do it the best way or the right way – that I totally lose sight of living right now. I forget that most of these things are so unimportant in the grand scheme of life. I forget that the important moments are those spent on a couch looking at photos with a friend, or talking about cross-stitch with two men and a woman as we listen to drummers outside, or sitting in my basement and marvelling about how much work has been done down there in the past two years. These are the moments that make life sing.

So today, I want to give us all something small to remember throughout the day, something that, hopefully, when we begin to bury ourselves in the unimportant stuff we can remember and use as a ladder to climb back up out of the pile.
The Waking by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

I love this villanelle, and it reminds me to go slow and “learn by going where to go.” I first learned of this poem when David Conte set it to music. His piece “The Waking” is so beautiful, and so today, when I start to collapse under the weight of everything I pull to myself, I will hear these words in Conte’s song and take a deep breath. May you be able to do the same.
I Learn by Going Where I have to Go – “I Learn By Going Where I Have To Go” by Joe Shlabotnik