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The Moment

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

-Margaret Atwood

This poem speaks to me of this Lenten invitation to strip down and surrender the unessential.  This journey is so that we might reconnect with the truth of our being: that we own nothing, that all is sheer grace and gift, that our hearts might be filled with gratitude.

(The poem came in my Panhala email last night.  The photo was taken in New Orleans about a year ago.)

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3 Responses

  1. Presently living in a friend’s family’s home I am reminded of this truth daily. And each day I am more and more grateful for the gifts that come our way. Yet I recognize that I had to let go of most everything – the many attachments of life – to receive this gift, the freedom of not owning and not being owned by much. Another paradox in the journey…

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