Sometimes a simple task is the hardest to accomplish. Recently, I wrote about “hands off my happy bucket” and how I have the power to decide who can drain my happiness. I have attempted to live out this belief. I read the words of a spiritual director who talks about redeeming your time, peace, and life. I began to focus on redeeming my peace. When I started paying attention to who owned my peace, I was in for a shock.
Relatives who called to complain only to share the complaint as gossip about another family member disturbed my peace. Children, in particular MY children, who did not follow directions robbed me of my morning happiness. And the slow cashier who answered the phone as she inaccurately tallied my order sent my peace into outer space. Apparently I am not the owner of my peace at all but I can redeem my peace. I can reclaim it.
While deep breathing over some disturbance of peace, I was bemoaning the already rising temperatures in our state where summers reach the 100s and stay there. I pondered floating. What would it feel like to just relax into the refreshing waters of God’s grace and float? What would it feel like to not struggle against the aggravations of the moment, to not deep breathe and bemoan how I should be redeeming my peace? What if I could just float?
A member of a women in ministry peer group in Tennessee introduced me to this poem by Denise Levertov. I do not recall which minister shared the poem but I remembered the joy of hearing these words.
As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.
Avowal, meaning to make a statement of truth, is a good word for Oprah’s “what I know to be true.” Levertov asserts that she can dare to float, and God’s grace will support her. She can dare to glide, and the Spirit will sustain her. What I hear in this poem is I can stop treading water. I can stop flapping my wings of redemption for a while. I can float or glide and God will redeem my peace. God will hold that which is disturbing my happiness. Grace can redeem my peace. I can float.
I suspect I will return to my old habits of swimming against the current and trying to fly too far too fast, but for today, I relax into the “all surrounding grace.”
Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina. Avowal may be found at http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-avowal/