One of my gifts at Christmas this year was a framed poem. My daughter designed the artwork around one of her favorite pieces from William Stafford. The poem is called, “Assurance” and it now resides over the area where I write each day. I love this piece for many reasons and thought I’d share it with you.
The poem starts out with this line. “You will never be alone.” As a single woman, as a gypsy who moves from one place to another, as a person who continually goes back to the starting gate and heads out again for a new opportunity, that’s a comforting idea. Certainly, I’ve felt alone, invisible to the world, wondering if there’s actually a reflection of me to be seen anywhere. Perhaps because I’ve been there, this gift was even more meaningful, even more precious. It’s one thing to be alone and enjoy those moments, it’s another to feel alone.
One of the reasons I guess that I’ve always been a Jesus girl is that I have a place to go when I feel alone. I know that I can ask for His presence as I walk through a lonely space and He’ll be there, reminding me that all is well. I see His hand in my life everywhere and that gives me a sense of belonging that nothing else can offer. The Stafford poem goes on to say, “You hear so deep a sound when autumn comes. Yellow pulls across the hills and thrums. Or the silence after lightening before it says its names–and then the clouds wide-mouthed apologies. You were aimed from birth…you will never be alone.”
What a comforting and beautiful image. What a sense of blessed assurance to know that we are indeed “aimed from birth” and part of everything, part of all that God created. We belong here.
When the rains come, when sadness or fear or uncertainty pummels the landscape around us, we are not shaken. We have assurance in the One who made us and is ever present. Stafford finishes the poem by saying, “Rain will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon, long aisles–You never heard so deep a sound, moss on rock and years. You turn your head–That’s what the silence meant–you’re not alone. The whole wide world pours down.”
Assurance is a beautiful reminder that we’re all connected to all that is. God has blessed us with each other, with joyful noisy moments, with friends and family, mixed with utter downpours of silence…enough to quiet our spirits so we can once again embrace all that He means for us to understand. In the sun and the rain, the gains and the losses, the smiles and the grief, we have assurance of constant love, pulling the blue from the sky and the yellow from the hills.
Whatever you’re doing today, remember you’re not alone. You’ve always got this space, this place where you were intentionally aimed from birth…and in some dear way you’ve also got me. How blessed we are to be on this path together!