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Crystal Light series original oil painting by Erin Hanson

“Crystal Light” by Erin Hanson

“When despair for the world grows in me, and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” ~ Wendell Berry

I have not lain down where the wood drake rests, but I am coming to find a kind of grace in letting loose, more than letting go, in pressing steadily forward without attachment to the outcome, in a kind of letting be, come what may.

My granddaughter came to live with me at the beginning of summer and she is with me still, having started first grade at a nearby school in which I enrolled her. I am petitioning to become her legal guardian. This comes with the blessing of my son, but not the child’s mother, who will fight this. Both are struggling with addiction, both victims of this opioid crisis.

I grieve for my son and my heart breaks for the mother, even as I fear for my granddaughter. Sometimes it seems overwhelming.

Then I take a deep breath and do what must be done, regardless the outcome.

I move toward “the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief.”

I rest in “the presence of still water,” and feel “the day-blind stars waiting with their light.”

I cannot say I “am free.”

But I do feel the grace of the world, and love of God, surrounding me and mine. I lean on that, and it comforts me.