Those who know me well, know how I love poetry that teaches or tells a story. I’m not exactly fond of sonnets and odes to eyebrows or rhapsodizing over an autumn leaf, but tell the story of a drunk in a French barroom, how children saw Jesus in action under the name of ‘Santa Claus’, or the lesson of a wise ‘fool’ and I’m all eyes and ears. I love the rhythm, the cadence. My throat catches when I hear it read well.
Those who know me well, also know my love for Edward Roland Sill’s The Fool’s Prayer. This poem depicting a court jester called forth to ‘entertain’ a drunken rout of royalty with a prayer (presumably the expectation is of irreverence) has a lesson we could all learn. The king in the poem certainly learns but there are two verses that pierce me every time I hear or read it.
These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Amid the heart-strings of a friend.
The ill-timed truth we might have kept-
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say–
Who knows how grandly it had rung!
Today I was reading a book and in it, it referenced another book Leaving the Light On by John Trent. I’ve never read that book but they shared an excerpt from it in the book I am reading and it reminded me of this poem. It haunts me deeply. I found myself beginning to feel choked and tears formed at the back of my eyes. This is how my book The Worn Out Woman retells John Trent’s story.
“… John Trent tells a beautiful story about a little girl who is feeling out of sorts. One Saturday morning the dad tells his little girl that he wants to take her on a date to her favorite restaurant- she can choose. Within an hour, they’re sliding into a booth at McDonald’s. Before they start in on their foam platters of eggs and pancakes, the dad takes his little girl’s hand and tells her how thankful he is that she belongs to their family. He uses words like treasure and precious and he points out some specific things about her that he loves.
“When the father finally picks up his fork to start eating, the little girl pushes his hand back down and softly pleads ‘longer, daddy… longer.’ So once again he takes her hand and tells her how much she means to him. Three more times he hears, ‘Longer, daddy… longer’ and complies. then, when they finally get home he hears her skip into the kitchen and announce to her mom, ‘Guess what! I’m special. Daddy told me so.'”
Can you imagine the impact if someone did that to you in your lfe? I truly cannot imagine it but it’s beautiful. It is so beautiful. I saw a video on YouTube recently that illustrates it uniquely. Bones fans will love it!
Do yourself and those you love a favor in the next week. Make a point to fill someone’s heart with your love and admiration for them. Don’t choose the person who always gets your affirmation. Choose someone you don’t usually do this with and see what happens. Think about it; would you rather hear how much you are appreciated and loved from the person who always tells you that or would you just once want to hear it from the one person that you never felt accepted you?
Now… sit back. Close your eyes. Hear Jesus’ whisper. “You are loved with an everlasting love.” Even if no human has ever expressed that kind of cherishing and love for you, Jesus did. With everything in Him, He calls to you. “Come you who are weary and laden with burdens and I will be your rest.”