I watch where I step and see
that the fallen leaf, old broken glass,
an icy stone are placed in
exactly the right spot on the earth, carefully,
royalty in their own country.
If the pebble, the leaf, the walnut shell, the moss, the fallen feather
are placed exactly right where they belong,
then so am I
~even when I may rather be elsewhere~
even when I could get stepped on,
even when I would rather hide in a hole,
even when exactly right feels exactly wrong.
I’m placed right here to watch where I step
for some reason beyond understanding:
a simple peasant
asked to serve a royal purpose.
We know when we are following our vocation
when our soul is set free from preoccupation with itself
and is able to seek God and even to find Him,
even though it may not appear to find Him.
Gratitude and confidence and freedom from ourselves:
these are signs that we have found our vocation
and are living up to it
even though everything else
may seem to have gone wrong.
They give us peace in any suffering.
They teach us to laugh at despair.
And we may have to.
— Thomas Merton from No Man is an Island
For three decades I have worked in a public setting,
my faith checked at the threshold as I walk in the door.
Preoccupied with the needs of the day,
my prayers for patients and co-workers
stay silent but not unheard
as God knows how to find His way in
through the cracks, under the door.
Even where He is deemed unnecessary
He is present, incognito.
I’ll turn a corner and find Him there,
in streaming rays through the window
illuminating a polished tile floor.
He’s streaming down the face of a patient,
or behind the smile of a co-worker.
He will not be turned away
even when we bar the door to keep Him out.
Knowing this helps me laugh
when I need it most.
Knowing this sets my soul free
Knowing this, I shall look to find Him
wherever He may be,
even where He is unwelcome.