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Trust Our Heaviness

How surely gravity’s law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.


Each thing—
each stone, blossom, child —
is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we each belong to
for some empty freedom.


If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.


Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.


So like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God’s heart;
they have never left him.


This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

by Rainer Maria Rilke, How Surely Gravity’s Law

It’s been a long time since I posted an entire poem, but Rilke’s demands a full reading. And if I were bolder I might just leave it there by itself, instead of injecting my own commentary on the world. But a blog (to me) necessarily demands contribution not simply reposting. And so my own words dare to follow Rilke’s, reaching for a place at the table.

The key word in the poem is surrendered: to earth’s intelligence, to God’s heart if you will, to our own heaviness. You realize your imperfection and embrace it. In doing so you recognize the entanglements and struggles in others. You accept them for what they are as well. And learn to trust others and most of all your own voice.

You reach a point in life where you let go of it all and to stop worrying about place and whether you’ve earned it. You stop worrying about everything, really. The work remains, but the will is stronger. You’ve rooted yourself to things tangible and true and begin to rise up.

To push out beyond. Grounded. And anchored so, we begin to fly.

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