Advent Word: Watch

On this Saturday evening, I am taking time to settle by my fire, to tend to my spirit as this first week of advent draws to a close. I have held my advent word (watch) close to my heart today.

For so much of my life, I have watched and waited. I realize that I was waiting for my own heart to be ready; I was watching for hands that were always reaching for me. My half hands finally could reach out, holding fragmented pieces that would and are being woven together. My prayers now, like Rilke’s below, are love poems to God:

I am praying again, Awesome One.

You hear me again, as words
from the depths of me
rush toward you in the wind.

I’ve been scattered in pieces,
torn by conflict,
mocked by laughter,
washed down in drink.

In alleyways I sweep myself up
out of garbage and broken glass.
With my half-mouth I stammer you,
who are eternal in your symmetry.
I lift to you my half-hands
in wordless beseeching, that I may find again
the eyes with which I once beheld you.

I am a house gutted by fire
where only the guilty sometimes sleep
before the punishment that devours them
hounds them out into the open.
I am a city by the sea
sinking into a toxic tide.
I am strange to myself, as though someone unknown
had poisoned my mother as she carried me.

It’s here in all the pieces of my shame
that now I find myself again.
I yearn to belong to something, to be contained
in an all-embracing mind that sees me
as a single thing.

I yearn to be held
in the great hands of your heart —
oh let them take me now.
Into them I place these fragments, my life,
and you, God — spend them however you want.

–Rainer Maria Rilke
from Love Poems to God


In response to the AdventWord global advent calendar project with the Society for St. John the Evangelist. Today’s word: #watch. Follow the worldwide advent calendar at:

About harasprice

Professor of Social Work and Priest in The Episcopal Church, parent, teacher, learner, writer, advocate, and grateful traveller along this journey through life
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