The first time I read the poem by John Donne about being a world made cunningly –
“I am a little world made cunningly
Of elements and an angelic sprite,
But black sin hath betray’d to endless night
My world’s both parts, and oh both parts must die.
You which beyond that heaven which was most high
Have found new spheres, and of new lands can write,
Pour new seas in mine eyes, that so I might
Drown my world with my weeping earnestly,
Or wash it, if it must be drown’d no more.
But oh it must be burnt; alas the fire
Of lust and envy have burnt it heretofore,
And made it fouler; let their flames retire,
And burn me O Lord, with a fiery zeal
Of thee and thy house, which doth in eating heal.”
from The Holy Sonnets by John Donne 1572 – 1631
I thought I would break open and indeed I did although it did not feel as clastic as I imagined it would. I was reading on my own and found this wonderful mind, this haven in what I thought would be dry, static verse.
I have been asking for healing ever since. I grew up around metal, fiery zeal, and, seeing no healing in my family, I took my observations to the nature around me. I was surrounded. Every farm creature my father collected, every insect and animal that my grandfather killed, stuffed. Then there was the sheer beauty of the Missouri River and surrounding bluffs, sloughs, sink holes and related landscape.
I felt like I noticed it all, was inclined to all. I just didn’t know where to put Donne’s “black sin.” It is still a mystery but I get the rebirth part and in my years of forgiveness of my grandfather for killing all those beautiful creatures, of my father for keeping himself apart until his essential separation in suicide, I have learned to overlook certain elements and take in the larger picture. I think that’s the message for me – don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s All small stuff. Keep the large elements in place and look for the next best step.
Oh, and remember the sun shines and the day and night come without any of us doing a thing about any of it. This is good news.