that you may contribute a verse

My husband sent me a link to a site — I clicked the link and read the words: What will your verse be? I read and reread the article — trying to comprehend the depth of the meaning of the words.  I read the poem from which the thought was taken.  I still mulled over the words.  In an instant they’re easy to read and understand.  What will your verse be?  What will your verse be? What will your verse be? What will your verse be?  Hmmmm… you mean today, right now?  Does this mean tomorrow?  Does this mean in the end? Does this mean in my obit?

Not remembering this poem specifically, but knowing that in my earlier years I’d read it in my American Lit class — still, I needed to go and look it up.  Hmmmm, Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman, O Me! O Life!  I’d read him and liked his work.  It was sometimes light, sometimes depressing, introspective  — at once meaningless and meaningful to me.

Even today I read depressing things from time to time and am assaulted by the resulting oppression.   Sometimes I sink into the hopeless emptiness and have to really examine why in the world am I letting myself be entertained by the dead end nature of the writing?  Thankfully, faith in Jesus is, or soon becomes for me, a springboard to as quickly refute the worthlessness of the baseless depression as quickly as I fell into it. I have to guard against allowing myself to wander into the abyss of worthlessness or regret or self-deprecation – the rehashing failures or regrets.  And, man is easy to trip and fall into it. Maybe it is for you, too.

So that site and intriguing heading: What will your verse be?   It’s worth reading the article – well, for me it’s worth reading articles of this sort from time to time that are written from a perspective that might differ from mine.  It’s like I see things from a different angle and that angle so sharpens or contrasts my own that it makes me check and/or define what I think — makes me defend the Truth (or at the very least carefully affirm what is True).   It’s in articulating the Truth that affirmation is cemented in the heart.  Well, that, and daily Bible reading.  And prayer.

This is the poem, Oh Me! Oh Life! by Walt Whitman

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here—that life exists and identity,

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

All this has been particularly interesting to me today – a low day, a what in the world am I here for? sort of day. And then I recall my devotional… and the message at church this morning… and helping our daughter here in our home with her newborn baby… and so many other blessings… and God’s great mercy despite my failings… and the grace of God.

And I mull over the last few words of the poem: the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.  And I think: what will the verse be that I contribute?  In this life — this powerful play, What verse may I contribute?  This isn’t (for me) a who am I and what am I here for? sort of moment.  Rather, it’s a pondering, it’s a question: In this powerful play, what verse might I contribute?  Meaning, I’ve got a part to play – I’ve got a verse to contribute!!  I mustn’t go another day just squandering the gifts of the Lord.  What verse might I contribute today?  What will be summed up in the end??  What will your verse be?


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