Labyrinth: A Patchwork Psalm for the Road

Birthday card (from Amani ya Juu in Kenya)

Birthday card (from Amani ya Juu in Kenya)

Exactly 22 years after
crowning at my dawn birth
and nearly a month after
cap and tassel crowns me an adult

I stand at the crossroads and look.

Behind me are
the jobs I turned down and the ones that turned me down,
the housing offers I passed up
because my gut wouldn’t settle.

Ahead of me is
where the sidewalk ends
and before the street begins.

I used to walk
hoping the length of my strides
would project strength I didn’t have on the inside.

This time I humble my pride,
silence myself to seek the ancient paths.

A ring tone
an editor
tells me my writing will be published.
a coauthor
quotes Antonio Machado
“Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.”

In Walden’s solitary naturescape
feet padding to the pond
wore a groove through the grass.

A ring tone
a stranger
calls me
to work on the Africa Study Bible team.
the job
calls me
to move to Nairobi.

I wanted to settle
two more years at least in Minnesota
but my gut
freed me of job or house ties.

There is no reason I couldn’t.

A ring tone
my pastor
calls me
to read Isaiah 42:16:
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not seen
Along unfamiliar paths I will guide them.”

For my birthday my parents give me
a card from Kenya –
flipflops and a proverb:
“The path is made by walking.”

I will be collecting proverbs
connecting them with scripture’s wisdom.

I have already started.

New things shown
God
calls me
“This is the way, walk in it.”

I have already started.

Sing into the unknown
I
call out:

“If you will be with me
   On this journey I am taking
If you will give me food to eat
   And clothes to wear
So that I return safely
   To my father’s household.
Then you, Lord, will be my God
   And I will follow you.

“Like in blindfolded partner dodgeball,
Your voice will tell me “This is the Way.
Through a shadowed valley,
    Your word is my streetlamp.
I wait for your direction
I listen to your commands.
If I do what you want
   You will make certain each step I take is sure.
You hold my hand
   So if I stumble, I still won’t fall.
Knowing you will never forsake me,
    I walk with grace and confidence.

“You go before me,
   You hem me in behind.
I trust in you,
Because you are the path-maker.
I step inside your footprints
You have already pressed the snow smooth.

“Your ways are higher than mine,
You see the labyrinth’s end from a bird’s eye view.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   Too lofty for me to attain.

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”

I have already started.


7 responses to “Labyrinth: A Patchwork Psalm for the Road

  • Liz Kimmel

    Hannah, this is beautiful! We will miss your regular presence at Bethel, where you have been such a blessing these past four years. It is with tears of joy that we release you into the exciting destiny that the Lord has planned for you – but WOW! Your absence will leave a big space for Him to fill!

  • Audrey Hinton

    I like your poem, Hannah, and the process, and the praise. God will bless you on your journey.

  • Dumpster Diving Artist | hannahras

    […] stepped out blindly onto a path and soon found myself climbing a […]

  • Haggling with God | hannahras

    […] after my graduation from college, I posted a poem quoting Jacob’s prayer at Bethel: “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this […]

  • Beth Fleming

    Hannah – you are unbelievable and have blessed me with your writing.

    Years ago you and your family spent Mother’s Day at my house, where we found you rollerblades that fit. For me that was the last contact I had with you. God is awesome and through you has inspired me with your message in a way that only He can arrange.

    I particularly love how you have linked portions of this poem to Scripture. This just filled me with joy and confidence, as I too am walking a path

    Thank you. God bless you and keep on being led, inspired and writing and inspiring.

    Beh

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