Sunday, August 7, 2011
A Journey, like Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
By Robert Frost 1874–1963
Steeped in the sultry dog days of summer, this poem comes to my mind. Its cools me with its imagery of snow falling gently and piling on the branches of the firs, but in a deeper sense, it implies to me a journey. Its a journey with which I am quite familiar. Its a journey that sometimes seems to end, but is really destined to continue...like life. And sometimes it continues whether I am ready for it or not.
The road of my life is lined with woods of mystery, quietness, unknowing, peace, places and people I stop and attend, just as the sleigh driver attends on this snowy evening. I become a part of the 'snowy evening' simply by being there. My spirit feels a sense of belonging to the woods, to the scenery, to the people and places I encounter on the way. And I could rest in the comfort of that belonging for.....
But like the horse, Life is impatient. Life may allow me to linger for a year, or for moments, but the journey continues, and Life shakes the harness bells to awaken my complacency and remind me to move on. The stops I make to be attentive, the relationships I forge along the journey, will hold me and teach me, but for a time. The sleigh treads of my time with friends and family will soon be covered by the "sweep of easy wind and downy flake." Life does not wait. Lingering is a luxury. Being in the scene is a gift.
My promise was made before I arrived. The covenant I keep, the sacred trajectory of my purpose and plan IS the mystery of my life, and my journey must continue. After all, in some way my microcosm life expands into God's cosmic "woods" of eternal mystery. There is only me to make this journey. Me... and God. And I have miles to go before I sleep.
May the cool image of these quiet woods refresh you. May you realize the sacred and mysterious gift of your life, as it comes to you in scenes and relationships along the way. May you always be mindful to stop doing and "Be" in the moment, for that peace is your joy. May you be still enough to discern the sleigh bells of Divine providence quietly urging you further into the woods of life, closer to your promise, into the waiting arms of God who has called you.