Right Here

“…..And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.”
~Wendell Berry

This week I heard this poem read in its entirety. It is a full and beautiful piece of poetry with the title ‘Wild Geese’ but it was these last few lines that gripped my heart and held on for dear life. ‘What we need is here.’

What we need is here. Do we believe this certain and direct statement? I think of all the conversations, both spoken and overheard, that tell the opposite story. The story of ‘not enough’, of ‘ not now’ is more common, of some distant future in which all will be as it should be, fully realized paradise or at least less pain and heartache. The here and now seems to hold little trust for many.

We live in a culture that lures us into believing that we are not enough, that we do not have the resources, the talent, the brains, the education, you name it, whatever it is we do not have enough of it. But Berry’s wisdom offers us another slice of a much more delicious pie: We have what we need…..right here, right now.

Those of us who make a home in institutions like the church or in other structures created to house the human spirt, schools, universities, hospitals, clinics, neighborhoods, families, often look for someone or something outside the circle to help shape an uncertain future. The present is filled with problems and challenges we did not see coming, that do not fit neatly into the boundaries those before us created. Our nation and our world, our governments and leaders face this same view of who and what we were while realizing that the sands are shifting toward a future that demands more of us. If we allow ourselves, we see, we feel this tugging and pulling all around.

I believe we live in a pivotal, tilting place and much is being required of us. Perhaps it has always been this way. Perhaps our ability to know so much about what is happening in the world in the blink of an eye, in the brush of a Google keystroke makes it seem more real, more urgent. Whatever the soil into which we have been planted, there is an itching toward change, big change for most of what we have known to be bedrock. Do you sense this?

For this reason Berry’s words have stayed with me. It is so easy to look outside ourselves for answers. And yet, this poem so clearly states that we have what we need to solve whatever perceived problem stares us in the face. We have the right people, the best resources, the answers to the questions, right here, right now. The creativity needed must be fed by a quiet heart and the clarity to see the gifts that often go unnoticed, unopened in our midst.

What challenges do you face this day? What problem seems overflowing in your life? As you look out the window of your soul toward the world that nests you, what seems to be unraveling, shifting?

Today may be the day to quiet our hearts, to see, really see with the greatest clarity. What we need is here.


2 thoughts on “Right Here

  1. This particular “Pause” is in perfect step with the Tao De Ching, a 5,000 year writing which reminds us each day that we indeed have all that we need. I love that this poem and your writing reinforces this thought.

  2. The timing of your inspired thoughts was just perfect for some friends and several patients yesterday… to support them in their uncertainties of what they already had and who they really are. That is because it hit the spot for me too. Thank you!

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