Getting Old Being Gold

(if you are viewing this via email, the website has a recording of this poem and commentary; click the title above)



When we suffer loss, people often reach for metaphor, supposing it will comfort: windows being opened, gold refined of dross. But the view out a window is sometimes bleak, and gold in finished form not always something we would seek.

In plain terms, one of the themes I keep returning to in my poetry is a sense of loss, and how to deal with it. I think of Paul’s claim

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12,13

Paul isn’t self-sufficient. Jesus’ provision of strength comes at least partly through fellow believers. The immediate context of Paul’s claim seems to be his thankfulness for financial support from the church at Philippi. But in the rest of the letter to the Philippians, Paul mentions other kinds of support. Notice the words and phrases in chapter 2: encouragement, compassion, comfort, looking to the interests of others, concern, having mercy, sparing from sorrow.

How do we participate in this mutual encouragement? What I’m suggesting in the poem above is that it starts with acknowledging difficulties. In order for any of us to support others in their grieving or loss, we need to first acknowledge grief or loss in ourselves, and let others do the same.

(background image by Karn Badjatia on Pixabay)

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