Seeking, Finding, Sought, Found

lost-coin

Luke 15

I, too, have lost
and bow to sweep
neglected corners
and hope to find
-the parabled woman-
she one in ten coins lost
I one in ten find
days myself.

Could I recover
-the voice of my husband
-the face of my mother
-the sight of children known
          -my name-

would I too gather
rejoicing friends.
Yet they know me
no more than I
any longer
-a Jubilee stranger
none would know.

So each room
-or the same-
I wander in hope
I’ll remember
what I remember only
to look long for.

O Lord, as much as she
Deliver me.

I wrote this poem during and after Doug’s sermon on Luke 15, the three parables of God’s seeking and saving the lost.  I no longer remember the particular insight Doug gave, but as I listened to the story of the woman seeking the lost coin, an image came of an elderly woman, stricken by alzheimers, searching, ever searching for her memories.

The image was powerful and impressed itself deeply, not particularly because of her in the image; rather, I was struck by how we are all always searching for the lost past, for the who that we were, and often, the who we wished we were.  We all find this truth, as Fitzgerald writes in the last line of The Great Gatsby, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

I have no illusions; those memories I cannot seem to recall are sometimes as damning as those I cannot seem to forget.  I struggle, sometimes raging, sometimes as the woman in the poem quietly, despairingly, wandering and wondering and lost in myself.

Yet in both, I am forgetting, forgetting in the biblical sense of not just not remembering but not being.  I am forgetting that it is God who writes my story and has written it.  It is God who directs the current.  Yet his current carries not ceaselessly into the past, but it is the very River of Life which flows not into my past or our past but ever forward towards the glorious City of Life.

I forget the parable is not about me seeking and finding, but about me being sought and found.  I forget that my task is not to redeem my past but to experience God’s peace, His declaration of Shalom upon it, both now but even more when I stand before Him who does not forget, for He has forgotten nothing of what He has done.  He can see all of me, not just the entirety of who I am now but the entirety of who I have been and who I will be.

O Lord, as much as she,
You will deliver me.

Todd Wedel