I Thank You, God, For The Wonder of My Being (a psalm)

My God,

All those years it didn’t show and no one had to know.

Pain, yes, but no one can see another’s pain.

Now, some days I limp or have use my cane,

Food falls off my fork. I wear my napkin like a bib.

I ask for help and grind my teeth behind the smile.

Must I say “No, I can’t” after “Yes, I can”?

“Can we reschedule? I’m in the hospital.”

“I can’t help–my back is in spasms.”

“I can’t come–it’s a bad arthritis flare.”

My God,

I’m tired.

I’m humbled.

I’m embarrassed.

I want to be whole and healthy,

I want to walk for miles on Your green and flowering earth,

Or just to move more easily.

I want a simple boo-boo to simply heal.

Instead a hole in my elbow requires surgeons and stitches,

Bandages that won’t stay on and packing with silver

And lots of poking with the wooden end of a Q-tip.

An infection requires 3 days of IV vancomycin in room 1342

And 8 days of cleocin pills 3 times a day with lots of yogurt.

All because the dog tripped me months ago

And when I fell I banged my elbow.

I feel fragile these days.

My soul is weary.

I feel ashamed

Of illness, of frailty, of looking older than I am,

Of vulnerability, of dependence, of need, of fear.

My soul cries out to You

Help me!

And so the word “Acceptance” appears on the blackboard in my brain

As I lie in the MRI machine with my face 2 inches from the rounded wall

And my ankle is stretched in a way it doesn’t go

That makes it still hurt a week later.

And so in an article in an email,

I read about Passivity:

The less I do, the less I commit, the less I expect of myself,

The less I’ll disappoint or feel incompetent.

I know why I sit.

And so I read about Resilience:

The ability of something to return to its original form

After being pulled, stretched, pressed, bent.

 Terry reads “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou as liturgy Sunday.

“Just like the moon and the suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes spring high,

Still I rise…

Leaving nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear…”

And so I walk for 15 minutes at Bicentennial Garden

And I hear the birds and see the flowers

And look into the eyes of other walkers.

I receive the smiles and greetings of those I pass.

I gather in Your beauty,

Revel in Your gentle breeze,

Feel the muscles in my legs move

And send blessings to my malformed feet.

I move out into Your Grace.

And so I say “Yes” when my daughter says “I need you.”

I say “Yes, I can do that today.”

And so I will drive to Raleigh to be with Maggie,

The embodiment of Your joy and wonder and love.

My God, I thank you.

My Spirit thanks you.

My Soul is full of Your Grace.


(The title is from a chant by Isabella Bates on the CD “Sound Faith.”)


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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Robin,
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem. I have passed this along to my parents hoping your words will strike a chord. I love you for your perseverance, your keen observations and your unfailing ability to see the light.

    • Thanks, Anne, for sharing my writing. It means a lot to think I can help others.

  2. Raw, real, gorgeous. Thank you.

  3. Absolutely beautiful. Best one ever.

    • Thanks, Steph. Sometimes it just comes out of me. This is one of those.

  4. This really resonates with me …

  5. I can relate to this in so many ways. What a powerful way to share those feelings.

    • I bet you can! Your perserverence and ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other inspire me, Cathy.
      Tough old broads, aren’t we?

      • Hahaha…Yes we are!

  6. Robin, I am so touched by your psalm, as I too share much of your physical pain. What a way to end this beautiful piece.

    • Thanks, jeri. I always hope my writing can help someone else.

  7. Beautiful post. Some days are like that for so many…thank you for sharing yours. Yes, we are tough old broads! And proud of it.

    • Sometimes I get tired of being tough, but then I’m glad i can rally once again.

  8. I am late to this conversation, Robin, but I made it. Some months ago, you responded to a post of mine in which I was having a particularly difficult time. Frankly, your words inspired me to try yoga one more time, and it has made all the difference. I settled into it and realized why it was not working. Now, it does, and so do I, in a “still I rise” kind of way, slow in every regard but not without a flow that does get me to where I am going. Thanks, Robin, for in reading your psalm, I rise still.

    • Karen, I am always touched by your writing and I’m so pleased I can help you, too.

  9. Robin, this brought me to tears, and I thought, I need to send this on to Karen–and then I saw that she had read it and responded already. I wish I knew why suffering is part of the deal called life. Among its many short comings is the fact it is so unevenly distributed. You and Karen endure it all the time. For me it is rare, and I’ve done nothing to deserve this free pass. Feel better!

  10. i do have my “free pass” days and, boy, do I treasure them! Your gifts may not come out of suffering but you have much to share with the rest of us.

  11. How beautiful and relatable….you rise indeed – with grace and resilience and spirit

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