August 17 – last day of this new academic year’s 1st week – David Whyte

Friday, August 17  “You are not leaving.

Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.”

This week, it seems, is packed with one-off start-of-the-year events:  a gathering of c. 1000 teachers from the Detroit Catholic school system,  Betsy, a soul friend of 30 years heads back to Philly to start her work year as I start mine here; how many friends return from hiking in mountains or in the high and deep places of their souls, bringing stories?  The President’s Convocation for the new  academic year;  a  6 hour conference call to consider two finalists to be the next President of the national Jesuit Volunteer Corps.   And this morning, about 18 new faculty from 5 colleges gather for our now-traditional half-day mission and identity retreat.   Next week begins with Colleagues Days and, for us Jesuits, concludes with two days at the Manresa Retreat Center for our begin-the-year retreat.   These are hardly routine times.

I ruminated about which of the list’s “go-to” poets might offer a voice from the surprises waiting this week to be noticed.   David Whyte came to mind.  Best to read him out loud, with pauses.  You can listen to him read the poem with a link and picture at the end.

Have a blest weekend.


john sj

ps. John Law, a dear friend who lives too far away in the UK for my comfort, wrote over night after reading Debra Spencer’s “The Discovery of Sex”

“The piece by Debra Spencer made me laugh, and reminded me of a friend of mine who said to one of his daughters: ‘Gee, if I’d known grandchildren were such fun I wouldn’t have bothered with children!’ (Her response: ‘Oh Dad!’)”

Today’s Post – David Whyte “The Journey”

Above the mountains

the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

from House of Belonging by David Whyte

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