July 16, 2019

Done with Wings

By Chaplain Mike

The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NRSV)

I think, and sometimes fear,
I may be done with wings.

For I have found myself walking
Among those confined
To beds, and wheeled chairs,
Who lie or sit at length and must be helped
To simply rise and turn.
It hurts when I stand over them,
So, bending my own legs,
I sit so our eyes can meet.
Some talk, and smile, and joke
As freely as the wind.
Some mumble a greeting,
Squeeze out a “yes” or “no,”
Eyes fixed over my shoulder,
Over yonder.
Some with shallow, leaking breaths
See no more, at least of me
Or this world.

I walk into their rooms.
I walk into their homes.
I walk beside their families.
I walk into their lives.
I walk into their deaths.
And now I find my feet
Have no desire to lift up off this earth.
My wings hang shrunken and limp
From disuse.
My thoughts rise only to the ceiling
Where they circulate
And fall like rain upon me again and again
Adding ballast that keeps me grounded.
So, feet firm, I stand
And then keep walking
And again and again and again,
Strength is renewed.

Once an eagle,
Eyes on distant hills,
All the world spread out below,
All the sky my playground.
No more.
I walk…
And this is enough,
And this is good,
And this is peace.
I once feared this.
Afraid to miss the view.
Afraid to think I might not feel
The rushing, bracing wind,
The spectacular sight
Of soaring high
And looking down on sunsets.

No longer.
For now I see unexplored vistas
In old wrinkled faces,
Experience lost worlds
Through scratched sepia.
“We’ve had a good life,”
I hear her say.
We embrace and part…
Walk on.
Feet on the ground.
Done with wings.
And this is enough,
And this is good,
And this is peace.

Comments

  1. This is beautiful, Chaplain Mike. I am glad you have come to the point where you can see it as peace. I am afraid that if I did the work you do, I would become depressed. I know my depression would be because I was not trusting that God was at work in all that I saw. But it would be so difficult for me to see God in all that I saw. Pray for me.

  2. Great post, but it does make me wonder if those OTHER (good) guys in wings look down and say “Whoa……would ya look at Mikey……the dude is SOARING…….”.

    I get ya, though, I’d say it’s enough also.

  3. Thanks for sharing these very real and meaningful words. I will print them and keep them by my desk at work.

  4. Interestingly, wings in the Bible are also used to show tenderness and protection, as when Jesus wept over Jerusalem: “If only you knew how I had longed to gather you under my wings.” (Paraphrase) You do have wings, you’re just using them for something other than soaring.

    • So nicely put, Damaris, Pastor Mike most definitely does have wings; wings of compassion.
      The root of the word comes from with(com) to suffer(passion) , he suffers with those who suffer which is a true form of love. Thank you for making this point.

    • thanks

  5. David Cornwell says

    The kind of ministry you are engaged in, real pastoral care, hearing the words of the sick and dying, loving them, is in many ways the most important there is. It is also some of the hardest there is. They will know very quickly how real you are and where your heart is. Some are desperate for words of forgiveness and assurance of sins forgiven. And others need to hear once again about the reality of the resurrection.

    I just hope there is someone around like you when my time is near. I’ve heard sad stories of the sick and dying who have received exactly zero amount of real pastoral care when they needed it most. And that doesn’t say much for the church.

    Chaplain Mike, thanks for your work and your words.

  6. whoa. Do you publish this stuff? This is powerful.

  7. Christopher Lake says

    Hey– we have a shout-out to the wheelchair users! Holla! 🙂

    (I have Cerebral Palsy. Great post!) 🙂

    • Christopher Lake says

      Although– being serious here– at 36, I am not yet facing the end of life, as are the people described in the poem, I do feel the aches and pains of a much older man, both physically and emotionally. I’m not interested in wings– I’m waiting for that perfect, resurrected body!

  8. I’ll never read that scripture the same way again. Thanks for posting this. Nothing like a helpful dose of perspective.

  9. I wonder if this is how Jesus may have felt in giving up the vastness of heaven to confine himself to walk on the earth.