This opening line from Sara Teasdale’s poem “Barter” has been a staple in my life since I was a little girl. One of my mother’s favorites, she would quote it to us often when we would come upon a breeze rustling the leaves or when we would sit on the beach shore watching the waves roll in at dusk.
She would recite this poem from memory wanting us, even in our callow youth, to pause—to rest in nature’s grace and majesty.
Now that I’m grown, this poem reminds me to pause where God’s grace is most visible. We experience moments in our lives when we feel an alignment with God. More than just a general sense of faith and spiritual connection that comes from regular participation in Word and Sacrament; no these moments are brilliant flashes where there is a “loveliness” in the rhythm of life, where it is truly “beautiful and splendid.”
I am living out one of those moments now—moving into my third month of internship at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Laramie, Wyoming. In a recent Facebook post I wrote, “So is it OK to say I’m in the best place of my life ever? After three VERY busy 12-hour days full of work and church meetings, I feel energized (not exhausted) and really aligned with my authentic self. #vocationisreal #Godisawesome.”
In this place, for these moments in my life, I can see those flashes of brilliance, and I am resting in them, cherishing this lovely gift.
In the closing words of her poem, Teasdale reminds us…
Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.
I invite everyone today to consider the “loveliness” in your life. Take a breath, wait for a beat, close your eyes and drink it in.
God’s grace is always with us, but taking the time to store up memories of when you could feel it most acutely will carry you on those days when the light is not so bright. Blessings on your journey.
Jenny Michael, former churchwide president for WELCA (2011-2014), is now in her third year of seminary at Wartburg Theological Seminary serving an internship in Laramie, Wyoming. She credits her experiences within the community of women that is Women of the ELCA with helping her to develop her call to ministry in this new way.
Photo of Laramie, Wyo., by Jenny Michael