This is the Time to Be Slow
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.
John O'Donohue (1956-2008) was an Irish poet, author, priest, and philosopher, best known for popularizing Celtic spirituality.
Near where I live is a tunnel. It is formed by trees where the road pierces a dense wood and extends for about half a mile. At night, we’d stop and turn off the car lights for an instant to give the children a thrill; they’d squeal, in excited terror as the blackness swallowed us. We revelled in the comfort of steel and glass shielding us.
One night I was coming home alone at midnight. My family was away, and no car waited at the railroad station. I phoned taxis until my pence ran out, but they didn’t answer or had nothing available. I had to walk it. At first the four miles promised to be fun on the soft, warm night. Then I reached the country highway. In the back of my mind loomed the and every hobgoblin of my childhood screamed out at me.
As I stepped into the tunnel, the thick heavy trees completely obliterated any starlight. My only sense of direction came from the hard surface of the road. Deep nameless fears closed in on me.
And then, like a song filtering through the night, I remembered, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”. I was my Father’s son. Jesus said so.
The thought flooded me with joy. My Father owned those woods, just as He owned the world. I felt as confident as if I were in my own back yard. As I walked on through the woods, my eyes even adjusted to the darkness.
We all have tunnels to walk through. If we remember that they are His tunnels, we can travel through them in peace and confidence.
Morristown, New Jersey.