Don’t surrender your loneliness
Let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My need of God
+ Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafez (c. 1320-1389)
Hefez was a Persian poet, highly acclaimed throughout the Islamic world during his lifetime. His collected works are treasured by the Iranian community, many of whom still learn his lyrical poetry by heart.
If you are experiencing a season of deep sadness, or know someone who is, try committing this poem to memory. Advent and Christmas can be difficult times for those who have lost loved ones, or a job, or a home.
But in a world so full of shadows, here’s the good news of the Christmas gospel: Emmanuel, "God with us," comes alongside us in our grief with a gentle, persistent invitation to travel toward healing and wholeness.
Thanks to Robb North for this strong and lonely dwelling place.