04 June 2014

Mrs Noah

"Hotel Mama"
just turned into a zoo.
A floating zoo.
I didn't really ask for it
just when my world has drowned away,
just when I'm hurting, tired, lost,
waiting for respite
and new solid ground -
didn't ask to mop up vomit
or keep the dogs and cats apart,
didn't ask to cook for armies
and have much more to clean.

And yet
I see this is a gift,
a blessing you've poured down on me,
the comfort I've been longing for,
for caring for others
comforts me.

This is my service,
this is my comfort:
Loving those who are displaced
- displaced like me.
Mothering the motherless,
comforting those in distress,
the homesick, seasick, miserable,
feeding tigers, frogs and men,
a shoulder to cry on,
a rock in this ocean,
solid ground
though I don't even feel
so solid myself.

But as I serve them
I begin to see
that you're the solid ground for me.
And so I go and pass it on,
sharing life
and sharing love.


[September 2012 - commentary 2014]

This poem went through MANY phases. Some lines remain from the original version, but the theme has completely changed, as has the tone. (But I can't remember anything of the old version anymore haha)

The thought of service bringing healing, of being comforted by caring for others instead of worrying about oneself, is a recurring theme in some of my older poems (e.g. this one). When I was going through a very dark valley my mother gave me wise words of advice: to focus on caring for others, to forget my own worries by being concerned for others instead. I think it makes a lot of sense - and can say from experience it works, with God's help. ;-)

Noah's wife was faced with quite a lot of things at once: losing everything (probably family as well), having a lot of extra work to do (and not necessarily pleasant work, either), and really having no chance to get away (imagine being cooped up in a smelly stable for 40 days and 40 nights, knowing there's a couple of snakes and other unpleasant characters next-door). I think when faced with this kind of flood of unpleasant things, one can either get mad and frustrated and upset (which would be dwelling on oneself in self-pity), or view the extra work as an opportunity to serve others, and do it freely and with joy (and I think that's an act of the will).

Whether we find healing or frustration in work depends on our attitude to what we have to do: do we do it because we have to and are forced to, or do we freely accept it and in that way turn it around into something that's not so bad anymore? "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down..." :-D

Of course it's not always so simple, but I believe with God's help we can do even unpleasant things with joy. It starts with attitude though: whether I focus on how unfair it is that I have to do such annoying things, or whether I focus on the good that comes out of it, or how it serves others.

More of the family: Noah's daughter-in-law

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