Assistant editor Daniel Kessel shares a poem that brought him unexpected comfort.
Posted in , Oct 6, 2014
Today’s guest blogger is assistant editor Daniel Kessel.
“Somebody loves us all.” The words popped into my head a couple of weeks ago as I stood in the office kitchen, waiting for my coffee to brew.
It’s a line from a poem I’d read in high school called “Filling Station,” by Elizabeth Bishop. All these years later, I still haven’t forgotten it.
The narrator in the poem describes a filthy gas station, oil-spills and grease-stains everywhere. But in a corner, she notices one bright spot: a pleasant little table covered with a flower-embroidered doily. Who on earth put the doily there? Who embroidered it?
She doesn’t know, but in this one decoration she sees a symbol of the love that permeates every aspect of our lives–even the darkest parts.
That kind of reassurance was exactly what my family and I needed this past month. Just after Labor Day, one of my aunts suffered a massive stroke at only 42 years old. She’s been in the hospital ever since, making a slow but steady recovery.
I’ve been praying with my family and have also enlisted the help of my fellow prayer warriors at Guideposts’ Monday morning prayer fellowship meetings. I know the power that faith can have in the healing process, but I still couldn’t help but wonder–were all those prayers even working?
Maybe that’s why I was mulling over poetry in the middle of the afternoon. I glanced around the kitchen. On the counters were boxes filled with different coffee and tea options, the containers arranged in a neat little row. There were cartons of milk in the fridge. Ice in the freezer. Little red drink stirrers in a cup on the counter.
Our editorial assistant, T.J., had taken time from her busy day to keep our kitchen tidy–a small touch that made a big difference, just like the bright little table in Bishop’s poem. “Somebody loves us all,” indeed! I felt refreshed as I walked back to my desk, a warm cup of coffee in my hand.
The next day I checked my email and opened up the Poetry Foundation’s “Poem of the Day” newsletter. Would you believe that day’s featured poem?
Has a poem, song, or Bible verse ever come to you just when you needed it? Share your story with us.