Saturday, March 17, 2012

Good Morning

Erin and I are sitting in a coffee shop, Coffee and Friends, this morning. It's sunny. I got to talk to my family. I had a spontaneous coffee shop conversation about mass media, vaccines, work ethic, the medical society, and goats with the owner who was an older gentleman with suspenders and a farm.

I feel happy. I feel fortunate. I feel the sun through the window and I love it. I'm wearing sandals and shorts and a t-shirt and it's March. As Alison would say, "PRAISE-THE-LORD!" (Al, if you're reading this, we need to get together asap...)

Lake Michigan from St. Joseph, MI
Taken during spring break last week

I also wanted to share a poem from The Cost of Discipleship, my newest book I shouldn't have started yet. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is described as "a man who lived in, and loved, this world. He, a giant before man, was but a child before God. While he was in the body, the fight between flesh and spirit, Adam and Christ, was going on in him. Sometimes he seemed to have become a riddle to himself. One day he gave expression to this conflict in his soul in a moving poem written from the prison cell..."


Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell's confinement
calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
like a Squire from his country house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
freely and friendly and clearly,
as though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
equably, smilingly, proudly,
like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
yearning for colours, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
thirsting for words of kindness, for neighbourliness,
tossing in expectation of great events,
powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
faint, and ready to say farewell to it all.

Who am I? This or the Other?
Am I one person to-day and to-morrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
and before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army
fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!

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