Monthly Archives: March 2008

To Sarah

Today, I am mourning a woman I never met. But who, in this moment, feels so part of who I am it hurts to think I was not at her burial this morning. On her birthday. My grandmother’s birthday. 

I often thought about what it would be like to take her into one of those StoryCorps booths. To finally have the chance to introduce myself and hear her voice and hold her hands and ask her what this life has taught her or if she ever thought about having this conversation, too. Instead, I can only be grateful for the connection I am fortunate to share with my own parents and mindful that it’s a relationship I don’t nurture often enough.

There’s a poem I like to give to friends on their birthdays by Rainer Maria Rilke called “I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.” Like all poetry, I’m sure it speaks differently to each who read it, but to me it’s about choosing to move and live FORWARD, regardless of what has been said by or about you in the past — good or bad. To seize moments more often with total abandon. And to know that even if you have fallen short of doing this before, believe in the possibility of making that change in yourself now. Believe in the many rich conversations to come and be part of what helps make them happen.

Even though she’s not here to read it now, I’m still posting this poem for my grandmother on her birthday as a reminder to myself. I find hope in its words. I hope you do, too.

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear 
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning, 
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.
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