Instructions for Survival -- A Sestina
By Ellen Mary Raster - Elm Grove, Wisconsin, USA - 18 February 2015
At times a prick appears within one’s heart.
Last night, a friendship swiftly cracked then broke.
Invisible, a nettlesome hair shirt covered
My soul. Remembering the loss, I walked.
If barbs take root go court comfort.
Look to the list below. Transform the sting.
First task, and this is hard: accept the sting.
Arms wide in cruciform, ignore your heart.
Move pain to one side of the soul. Comfort,
That weight is just a bruise, there’s nothing broken.
Silence comes back from where it walked.
A welcome mate, hushing is kind cover.
Second, less difficult: ask God’s cover.
Too many slights, and many painful stings
Were borne by Him when long ago He walked.
Put your wound into His -- His crown, or heart?
Or hands, or side from where the mercy broke
Free, a flow from stab of lance? Place yours, and His comfort.
To make sure (Third:) your charge did not wander,
Attempting entry to your park of peace, cover
Your bet. Look, Abba Father never broke
His word to His children. Give Him the sting
Now found in a wound yet hurting your weak heart.
He’ll make it glorious -- boundless comfort.
For Four, try trust: seek not only comfort.
Again to Father God, all love, wander.
He will replace the part crushed in your heart.
Thank Him before it’s done. That will cover
Holes from all tests, especially this sting,
Reminding you it was a bruise -- not broken.
And fifth, final advice for friendship broken
In two. Repeat the list until comfort
Comes sneaking softly in to pull the sting
Out of the eyes and soul. Repeat ‘til thoughts wander
Out of reasons. Keep free your open heart,
Yet know loss comes again, no way to take cover.
When other stings wander with pain to hearts,
Remember, nothing broke. Cover with grace.
Say thanks to God, He’ll do the hardest parts.