Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February 7: Everything is Going to be Okay, William Stafford, "Bess"

Tonight, I have a friend who's really struggling in her life.  She's a single mother with two boys.  Her sons are almost the exact ages as my kids.  In the last few months, she's had to move and, just today, she realized that she's going to have to take a job that she's going to hate.

She texted me earlier, told me that she's been crying all day long.  When I asked her if there was anything I could do, she texted back, "Just tell me everything is going to be okay."

I texted her that everything was going to okay.  I texted that message to her over and over.

William Stafford has a poem about a woman in a difficult situation.  Bess is dying, and yet she is able to hold on to joy.  It's a poem that never fails to move me.

Saint Marty prays that his friend finds some joy in her life.


by:  William Stafford

Ours are the streets where Bess first met her   
cancer. She went to work every day past the   
secure houses. At her job in the library
she arranged better and better flowers, and when   
students asked for books her hand went out   
to help. In the last year of her life
she had to keep her friends from knowing   
how happy they were. She listened while they
complained about food or work or the weather.   
And the great national events danced   
their grotesque, fake importance. Always

Pain moved where she moved. She walked   
ahead; it came. She hid; it found her.   
No one ever served another so truly;   
no enemy ever meant so strong a hate.   
It was almost as if there was no room   
left for her on earth. But she remembered
where joy used to live. She straightened its flowers;   
she did not weep when she passed its houses;   
and when finally she pulled into a tiny corner   
and slipped from pain, her hand opened
again, and the streets opened, and she wished all well.

1 comment:

  1. Pain seems to be felt even more keenly when we are surrounded by stress and discord. I'm working with a number of young people who are struggling to function at all right now. :-/