One of the beauties of Unitarian Universalism is that we draw inspiration and wisdom from so many sources, among them direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder, and another the words and deeds of prophetic women and men. So, I’ll be branching out a bit more as I select material for this website, to include more of these kinds of things, as well as writings from our own members and leaders.
It seems that when life gets busy, it gets harder and harder to take a moment to hold still and really look at the people around us, particularly children who seem to never stop moving and growing. This poem by Elizabeth Spires from her book Now the Green Blade Rises, featured by the Writer’s Almanac on May 25, 2007, helps me to focus, for just a fleeting moment, on what enormity there really is in this journey of life.
children, deepening, elizabeth spires, poetry
“The Faces of Children”
by Elizabeth Spires
Meeting old friends after a long time, we see
with surprise how they have changed, and must imagine,
despite the mirror’s lies, that change is upon us, too.
Once, in our twenties, we thought we would never die.
Now, as one thoughtlessly shuffles a deck of cards,
we have run through half our lives.
The afternoon has vanished, the evening changing
us into four shadows mildly talking on a porch.
And as we talk, we listen to the children play
the games that we played once. In joy and terror,
they cry out in surprise as the seeker finds the one in hiding,
or in fairytale tableau, each one is tapped and turned
to stone. The lawn is full of breathing statues who wait
to be changed back again, and we can do nothing but stand
to one side of our children’s games, our children’s lives.
We are the conjurors who take away all pain,
and we are the ones who cannot take away the pain at all.
They do not ask, as lately we have asked ourselves,
Who was I then? And what must I become?
Like newly minted coins, their faces catch
the evening’s radiance. They are so sure of us,
more sure than we are of ourselves. Our children:
who gently push us toward the end of our own lives.
The future beckons brightly. They trust us to lead them there.