During a restless night, I felt like the Israelites again. All the things I have to do were advancing toward me with their sharp spears, while my heels backed into the Red Sea. The cold reality of deadlines lapped at my ankles.
Help God, I prayed again. Remember your promise to be with me.
I longed to be settled to sleep, but more worries came out of hiding.
Sometime in the night, I remembered what a friend said. “I just want to go with God’s flow. Not forcing it, not holding back.” Her words, inspired by a poem by Rilke, reminded me that I don’t have to make anything happen. God is present, as promised, and flowing in me like a river. When I feel myself pushing to make something work, I don’t need to push harder. I need to let go and relax back into the flow.
Now in the morning, I find the poem my friend quoted and let it speak to my soul.
I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clear
without my contriving.
If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.
Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.
— Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
(Translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)
I am drawn to the image of singing–not fretting, not panicking, but singing–in the swelling and ebbing currents and deepening tides.
As I sit in an eddy of God’s presence, I feel anxiety ebb and hope begin to swell. I am being drawn into a current of faith: God loves me. God is here. God will act.