Recently, my life has been far from inactive, full of the tranquility of rest (thank you Merriam-Webster for defining quiescent). I’ve spent the past three days trying to rewire my kitchen before the drywall is hung next week, crawling around in tiny attic-like crawlspaces, breathing in more cellulose than I care to admit. Every night, my kitchen floor needs to be mopped once again due to all the sawdust, plaster, and dirt I’ve managed to stir up in the few working hours when I’m not staring at the walls, almost willing the wires to find their way through the plaster and lath wall cavities on their own. This is the third month of home restoration, and, in many ways, it reflects the world at large … but that’s another story.
In the midst of that extra chaos, now amplified by the fact that a return to the classroom is likely just around the corner and I still need to lay the floor and trim all the windows in the addition, there has been little quiet time to ponder, reflect, and allow creativity to take root. Even now as I type this, I’m doing my best to tune out the three children trying to decide on a movie to watch at 10:50 on a Saturday night. And so I’m dipping back into the archives once again, but finding a timely reminder in the process.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, like I am tonight, it’s particularly easy to allow the soul to atrophy into dormancy. With all that one must contend with in a normal day, it’s easy for the soul to be worn down into a state of quiescence, but not one founded in true peace and contentment, but rather in seeking to avoid any confrontations and pursuing the easiest way of life. What follows is a letter from the true self, the spirit-man or heart, if you will, speaking to the soul rendered inactive and powerless by the burdens of life. For me, it’s like Jesus calling into that four-days old grave, “Lazarus, come forth!”
Letter to the Quiescent Soul
Vincent H. Anastasi 2017
When did you become such a gentleman,
so willing to linger in the wings,
take your number, have a seat,
flipping through outdated magazines,
casting wistful glances
at the self-important clock,
your number never called?
You hold the door – so kind! –
for each abiding responsibility,
an unkempt, unshaven footman
I hardly believe it’s you,
your very frame slipped
“into the lean and slippered pantaloon,”
through years of quiet service,
well-aged, yet unlike fine wine or cheese,
more akin to an untreated deck
under unrelenting sun
or a heavily trafficked rug.
Keeper of the peace
lest the tables upturn,
the boat rock,
or the apple cart upset,
you struggle to speak,
gasping for breath,
by the perpetual demands
of this tyrannical present.
Yet everything within throbs
with the pulsing of the eternal soul,
and I cannot but pray
for your resurrection:
punch a hole in civility’s wall,
beat down decorum’s door,
drive off those trespassers –
the little foxes –
the ubiquitous demands of the moment
and simply run barefoot over the grass,
through every lingering puddle of ingenuity
(even if none sees or hears but He)
animated once again
with the passion of a lover
who will not leave his beloved
to lie in the empty lap of promises
nor lean one’s ear to the seductive whispers
of misplaced expectations,
but rather seek “that untraveled world
whose margin fades forever and forever”
except in the quiet of boredom
and the faithful embrace of divine dreams.
One thought on “Letter to the Quiescent Soul”
This is your struggle. You penned it all in this one poem. God is calling you out of this slavery. What is it? Where is your soul trapped? It’s time to “beat down decorum’s door,
drive off those trespassers –“!!!!!
It’s absolutely MARVELOUS stuff that God is making through you and in you!
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