About once a year, I share this poem, First Lesson by Philip Booth.

I keep sharing it because in 2003, when I had tried so hard to do everything right, and as a result I was so depressed I couldn't get out of bed, this poem spoke peace to me.

I keep sharing it because I'm always talking to women who've tried so hard to do everything right.  They've prayed and read their Bibles and submitted and been Good Christian Women, only to find the world crashing down around their ears.

The hard work for God just hasn't worked.

And they don't know what to do.

The problem I find, and I think the problem a lot of us have, is that we don't want to stop trying hard.  

We don't want to give up that control.  

And yet, that is many times this is the only way forward: to lie back, to float, to stop thrashing, to let the water nurture and uphold us.

So for anyone who needs it today, once again, the beautiful words of Philip Booth.

(And the beautiful water of the Big Island.)

Big Island, Hawaii (photo, Andy Bruner)

Big Island, Hawaii (photo, Andy Bruner)

First Lesson

Lie back, daughter, let your head

be tipped back in the cup of my hand.

Gently, and I will hold you.  Spread

your arms wide, lie out on the stream

and look high at the gulls.  A dead-

man's-float is face down.  You will dive

and swim soon enough where this tidewater

ebbs to the sea.  Daughter, believe

me, when you tire on the long thrash

to your island, lie up, and survive.

As you float now, where I held you

and let go, remember when fear

cramps your heart what I told you:

lie gently and wide to the light-year

stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

--Philip Booth

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