When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
“We are often indifferent to our brethren who are distressed or upset, on the grounds that they are in this state through no fault of ours. The Doctor of souls, however, wishing to root out the soul’s excuses from the heart, tells us to leave our gift and to be reconciled not only if we happen to be upset by our brother, but also if he is upset by us, whether justly or unjustly; only when we have healed the breach through our apology should we offer our gift.”
The words of this father of the church take us to the heart of the Christian journey and demand our attention. We are in the midst of many upsetting and unsettling situations throughout our lives. This wise church Father instructs us not to look for blame or fault, but to rather take action to correct the situation. The most difficult challenge in life is to put aside our feelings for the sake of someone else. A Christian’s foremost goal is to develop a kindness of heart, because from the heart all else flows. If we have a good heart, we can accomplish much. This idea of reconciliation with someone who is upset by us, justly or unjustly, is a hard saying. However, the spirit of these words is that we should do all that we can to right the uncomfortable condition. The father tells us to offer our gift. I have pondered, “What is the gift?” The only conclusion I can offer is that it is the peace of Christ. His peace reconciles all hurts and ills of life. His peace was brought down to earth and manifested by his reconciling death and resurrection.