Some October, when the leaves turn gold, ask
me if I’ve done enough to deserve this life
I’ve been given. A pile of sorrows, yes, but joy
enough to unbalance the equation.
When the sky turns blue as the robes of heaven,
ask me if I’ve made a difference.
The road winds through the copper-colored woods;
no one sees around the bend.
Today, the wind poured out of Canada,
a river in flood, bringing down the brilliant leaves,
broken sticks and twigs, deserted nests.
Go where the current takes you.
Some twilight, when the clouds stream in from the west
like the breath of God, ask me again.
Well, it’s October and the leaves are turning gloriously gold. And how would you answer if you were asked if I’ve done enough to deserve this life / I’ve been given. Have I done enough? Will I ever have done enough? And is it enough to deserve this life just because it has been given; not because of what I do but who I am?
Sorrows and joy, wonder and grief, Mark Nepo and, still the scales balance, Jane Hirshfield. Joy enough to unbalance the equation. This has been my experience though it took me half my lifetime to realize it.
Ask me if I’ve made a difference. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately – days when I fear I have not; days when I know I have, as we all have whether for better or not, but a real difference simply by our presence here on this earth. And as the poet says, no one sees around the bend. Who knows how your life has touched another in ways you may never come to understand?
The wind blows, stripping leaves, twigs, nests – unstoppable, beyond our control. Go where the current takes you she advises. Life will take us places we cannot determine despite our insistence on trying to steer the ship. Yet we can go with the current, not passively but by choice, with clear intent.
The final ask me again makes me realize that I am as deserving of this life I have been given as you are, as we each are. You have only to look at the clouds, the blue sky, the copper-colored woods to understand this, to know this is the life you have been given.