Holy Thursday – Naomi Shihab Nye – “Missing the Boat”

Thursday,  March 29

You could imagine that today’s poet, Naomi Shihab-Nye, had read Monday’s post where I tipped my hat and even bowed my head to remember my soul friend Connie di Biase.   About our long shared love, I wrote “Over 4 decades of kinship, Connie de Biase and I partnered in a mutual commitment to noticing.”  Noticing creates a habit of expecting that you live in a world alive with graceful surprises.   They open you to unexpected wonder and unlock hope when grief or fear or just mean crankiness seem to assume the power to lock down your imagination in a prison of dead-ends.

Like today’s poet, Connie loved to tease, or even scold . . . “You are stuck just now, aren’t you?  Missing your own beauty, treating your own self with meanness that you would never inflict on the people of your life.  GET A LIFE!  You are beautiful and beloved just as you are.”  Connie was never so alive with beauty as when she showed you that she noticed your own unique beauty, and she never scolded except when you were missing the boat and getting lost in gloom. When she noticed that, she rose to heights of insight and teasing that could fill your imagination for a lifetime.

No wonder so many people miss her voice.  No wonder, too, “Missing the boat” catches my attention during these days of Christian Holy Week,  makes me laugh and then apologize for the grace I’d been missing.  Have a blest Thursday.

john sj


Today’s Post – “Missing the Boat”

by Naomi Shihab-Nye

It is not so much that the boat passed
and you failed to notice it.
It is more like the boat stopping
directly outside your bedroom window,
the captain blowing the signal-horn,
the band playing a rousing march.

The boat shouted, waving bright flags,
its silver hull blinding in the sunlight.

But you had this idea you were going by train.

You kept checking the time-table,
digging for tracks.

And the boat got tired of you,
so tired it pulled up the anchor
and raised the ramp.

The boat bobbed into the distance,
shrinking like a toy—
at which point you probably realized
you had always loved the sea.

Naomi Shihab Nye Different Ways to Pray- Breitenbush Publications, 1980

Naomi Shihab Nye
(b. March 12, 1952)


Connie di Biase
(d. February 10, 2017)

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