Peace defeats rage

"He fixed thee mid this dance
Of plastic circumstance,
This Present, thou, forsooth, wouldst fain arrest:
Machinery just meant
To give thy soul its bent,
Try thee and turn thee forth, sufficiently impressed."
(Robert Browning, from Rabbi Ben Ezra)

Before I left for my latest scan, I was upstairs, sorting through old hat boxes from high school. The old, scented dust rose from crackled remains of dried rose petals, photos with edges curled, a few award plaques, a hat or two from my extensive and eccentric collection amassed at yard sales and flea markets in the early 1990's. I found some treasure, as one always does in old boxes: long-lost baby photos of my sweet brother Benjamin; a packet of letters from a friend recently reunited with; a list of goals I wrote as a senior, mostly fulfilled by this (young) age of 30. I found this poem among the scraps of paper saved. I penned it in the awkward script of fourteen. Posted it on my bedroom door for years, a talisman against self doubt and the inherent rage-against-the-machine of figuring out your purpose in life as a teen in a self-absorbed culture.

How fitting, still...these lines. "This Present," I "forsooth, wouldst fain arrest". For still I am not sufficiently impressed. Still being broken, remolded, reshaped in an image far greater than that which I would naturally grow into. I want to die in 60 years or so, much more than the sum of my wrinkles and white hairs.

I am pleased as punch to be in a place where I can finally say, "I have learned to wait. I have learned to rest. I have learned the discipline of being a soul at peace amid turmoil." I don't think I've perfected it - don't get me wrong. But how much better I am at these quiet arts than I was a year ago! Another scrap of paper is pasted to my window sill near my kitchen sink, a talisman against self doubt and the regrettable rage-against-the-machine of figuring out that your purpose in life is still subject to an invisible, unknowable God - not to mention a world of other humans struggling along with free will.

"Do not fret or have anxiety about anything,
but in every circumstance & in everything,
by prayer & petition (DEFINITE REQUESTS), with thanksgiving,
continue to make your wants known to God.
And God's peace shall be yours,
that tranquil state of a soul assured of it's salvation
through Christ, & so fearing nothing from God &

that peace which transcends all understanding
shall garrison & mount guard over your hearts & minds in Christ Jesus...

I am READY FOR ANYTHING & equal to anything through Christ
(Phil. 4:6,7,14, emphasis mine)

He gave my voice back, USE IT WISELY! 6.29.2008