Passing Through

Posted: December 5, 2013 in World On The Edge

file000635831350This world is not really ours. We’re not in control of it, no matter how much we might think so. We are only passing through.

As we travel through our life, the days change for each and every one of us. Each day is different, and each day, we become better or worse, whether we realize it or not.

The ‘better or worse’ is interchangeable.

A day of sadness can suddenly become joyful. A day of joy can abruptly turned to sadness. What is it between these two extremes that holds our life together?

Most definitely it is Hope, that sometimes tiny voice in the heart that strokes us like a loving hand. Hope is a virtue we need to stir up inside ourselves, to get excited over,  to pray for, and to practice.

We are more than just a bunch of skin and bones and organs. We are more than what we do with our bodies, or our minds. We truly have a divinity within us, and we are headed back toward the divinity that we came from. The virtue of hope has been instilled in us as a guide—-and to let us know this is our temporary home.

And the older we get, the more we realize that fact.

Stanley Kunitz (1905 -2006) became the tenth Poet Laureate of the United States in the autumn of 2000. Kunitz was ninety-five years old at the time, still actively publishing and promoting poetry to new generations of readers.
Here is his poem, Passing Through, written on his seventy-ninth birthday.

Nobody in the widow’s household
ever celebrated anniversaries.
In the secrecy of my room
I would not admit I cared
that my friends were given parties.
Before I left town for school
my birthday went up in smoke
in a fire at City Hall that gutted
the Department of Vital Statistics.
If it weren’t for a census report
of a five-year-old White Male
sharing my mother’s address
at the Green Street tenement in Worcester
I’d have no documentary proof
that I exist. You are the first,
my dear, to bully me
into these festive occasions.

Sometimes, you say, I wear
an abstracted look that drives you
up the wall, as though it signified
distress or disaffection.
Don’t take it so to heart.
Maybe I enjoy not-being as much
as being who I am. Maybe
it’s time for me to practice
growing old. The way I look
at it, I’m passing through a phase:
gradually I’m changing to a word.
Whatever you choose to claim
of me is always yours;
nothing is truly mine
except my name. I only
borrowed this dust.

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