I awaken feeling others’ woes. How can I help? Will what I deny myself make its way to them?
The hunger I perfect increases no one’s plenty. The world does not need an empty vessel.
Lord, show me how my hands may help build other’s homes.
My woes are heartaches over the ones for whom I care. How can I give, to improve their lives?
Lord, I am powerless. Grant me willingness to loosen my grip on the world.
The gardener cannot force growth, he instead takes away obvious blocks. You, Lord, create thriving life.
Let me stand aside and allow the ones I love to grow.
Minor chores loom large. I fear them.
The courage I seek is no more than that of a child, afraid to jump into a swimming hole.
Let me leap, Lord.
My fellows go their own ways even as I fashion gifts to leave next to them while they sleep. I stay behind and labor for this, Lord, is what you call me to do.
Can I infuse love into every object I touch? Let grumbling stop at my lips, Lord. Let a smile be part of the gifts I give.
Let your love flow beyond me.
They drink from the well on my land, they pick the apples from my orchard. They do not ask before they take. I am depleted, my stores grow bare.
Who am I to say this tree is mine, this water mine?
Lord, let me not fancy myself generous when I give what is yours to my fellow children.
Yea, you made the day, even my time is not my own.
You exist in the exchange between one and another, you are circulating love.
Let me onpass what has been given.
I awaken to fresh trial — by noon you will have delivered me.
Where once there was shame and ignominy, now my neighbors shout praise.
The lack will be filled.
All this you promised and I did not believe. Yet you kept your covenant even as I sat idle.
How, now, shall I serve you, that I trust what you have said? My fellows will decide for themselves what to believe and what to scorn.
Is it enough, now, that I quietly tend my fields?
How narrow is the way. Dare I walk?
I feel on a knife’s edge, the ground falling away on either side.
Behind me are fellows depending on the trail I blaze. But I dare not turn to look.
O Lord, walk with me, walk ahead of me! Fix my eyes, that I do not lose my balance.
One trench to dig today.
Yet, Lord, I scatter my efforts and chip away at pit after pit. I am a child darting here and there.
Direct my energies, Lord, that I may have a result to show you at day’s end.
Let labor be my devotion.
Look, there are the ones I love. They tend their gardens and their families. Let not plague and pestilence fall upon them. Let them thrive, Lord.
Here I labor. Cleaning my own rooms does nothing for theirs. Yet when they visit in need, they may find a clean bed.
Lord, let me tend my garden, for it is devotion itself to do so.
The remains of a structure smolder and smoke at the edge of my lands. Was it a bridge to safety? A storehouse of treasure?
I burnt down the barn. Kept inside was heap upon heap of woe, catalogued and collected bit by bit. I kept it all with pride, proof of my worth, my diligence.
Dawn came, and I saw there was no use to be made of my secret wealth. These coins I could not spend.