When It Comes to Nothing

Worry is a soul-killer and brain-washer. It makes us feel we’re doing something as it saps our strength and renders us lifeless.

Jesus said, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

We know this is true, but we still borrow sorrow from tomorrow, as my mother likes to say.

Even now, I find myself sliding into an anxious place–not because of some big thing, or even a thousand small things, but because I’m letting my mind drift.

(I don’t mean I’m letting myself daydream. I mean I’m inching into the land of the Mean What-If’s. It’s good for novel writing, but not good for real life.)

A friend posted this poem by Mary Oliver, and it came at just the right time (as good poetry so often does). Maybe it will speak to you, too.

Ride This One Out

I came across this poem today (thanks, Rod Dreher). I’m trying to ride out some specific things in my tiny world, so it seems especially apt. Maybe it comforts you, too?

white and black moon with black skies and body of water photography during night time
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Ride This One Out

Ride this one out, as you have done before.
Batten down what can be battened. Reef
What can be reefed, avoid the white sea-shore,
Do not expect a rescue or relief.

Endurance is its own kind of relief.
The other ships are sinking. You must be
Hope’s light for them, the north star of belief,
Time’s substitute for lost eternity.

And so resist the onslaught of sad thoughts,
That useless, wavering activity
Of mind stretched to its raveled uttermost.
Resist the hopeless cries, the grim reports.
Resist the landsman’s way, to hate the sea.
And hold on for the final sunlit coast.

Frederick Turner


Return to Sender

An old lady looks back on her life as she sits in my living room and tells me things no one else knows. She offers tinted stories and looks hard in my eyes to see if I suspect hers aren’t the only shades.

road town old town black white
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She doesn’t speak to her daughter, she says, because

the girl doesn’t love her,

won’t help with anything.

She wishes, in fact, she didn’t have kids.

It isn’t safe to answer, so I say nothing because she cries as she paints her life for me, and old woman tears are the saddest.

Then I hear from her daughter, the one who

never visits,

never calls.

And her side is black and blue (and then it’s my turn to cry).

How many mistakes do a mother and daughter get before they break what they borrowed?

Why can some patch up ragged holes, while others lie bleeding (but never quite dead)?

I want to return these stories, but they belong to me now.

So this morning I hug my teenaged daughter while she crunches cereal, and I try to send into her all the tender things I hope she’ll


and I pray for grace.