Here, what’s made, these braids, unmakes
itself in time, and must be made
again, within and against
time. So I braid
your hair each day.
My fingers gather, measure hair,
hook, pull and twist hair and hair.
Deft, quick, they plait,
weave, articulate lock and lock, to make
and make these braids, which point
the direction of my going, of all our continuous going.
And though what’s made does not abide,
my making is steadfast, and, besides, there is a making
of which this making-in-time is just a part,
a making which abides
beyond the hands which rise in the combing,
the hands which fall in the braiding,
trailing hair in each stage of its unbraiding.
Love, how the hours accumulate. Uncountable.
The trees grow tall, some people walk away
and diminish forever.
The damp pewter days slip around without warning
and we cross over one year and one year.
~Li-Young Lee from “Braiding”
“I am sorry I ran from you. I am still running, running from that knowledge, that eye, that love from which there is no refuge. For you meant only love, and love, and I felt only fear, and pain. So once in Israel love came to us incarnate, stood in the doorway between two worlds, and we were all afraid.”
~Annie Dillard in Teaching a Stone to Talk
Some doors in our lives remain forever closed and locked. No key, no admittance, no way in, no way out. There is clarity in a locked door with no choices to be made. If there is a choice and I’m unsure of what I should decide, I tend to run scared.
The locked door is an invitation with the potential to change everything when the key is handed to me. I now must make a choice, even if the choice is to do nothing.
Do I lose the key and stay put where things are at least familiar?
Do I knock and politely wait for the door to be answered?
Do I simply wait for the moment it happens to open, take a peek and decide whether or not to enter?
Or do I boldly put the key in and walk through?
The choice to be made is as plain as the key resting in my trembling hand.
When I approach, drawn to the mystery, the door is already standing open.
For unto us a child is born, a son is given.
He is the threshold between two worlds, the unlocking love that allows us to throw away the key.