(I am Here) I am There
I am not particularly religious. But I am human. An animal, to quote David Byrne, looking for a home. Sometimes I find that home--in many ways, most exclusively--in love--which is, by nature, inclusive, always. Isn't that nice? So this is not, to me, a Christian poem exclusively. I find it to be a love poem (and I think all poems are love poems).
It was among my dearly departed Gran'ma Jeanne's well-preserved mementos. It hangs by a clothespin on a line of fishing wire between my living room's two front, green-curtained windows--the curtains left open all day for my cat Bella's curious, possibly lonely stares out into the world. There's a picture of Smudge, my grandmother's childhood cat, a picture of my grandma at age 9, a picture of my Grandma Jerry enjoying a cup of coffee, leaning over the top of a car, outside, during a camping trip.
There's a lovely card stating "love always wins," from a dear artist friend. Pictures of angels and fairies. Other bright-colored things. But for the first time, late this evening, finally alone, at the end of this long, wonderful day in April, I read this piece, "I am There," for the first time. I love it because it meant much to my Gran'ma Jeanne. She saw life this way. She was connected, deeply, to this dirty and beautiful earthly domain. She was connected fearlessly to heaven and mystery and a perfect beyond. And I wanted to remember it, share it. So I'm writing it here. Seemingly contrived as it may be, I found the sentiment, and the words, very moving. And I felt my ancestors in my bones, felt my beloved grandmother in my spirit and my soul and my heart, comforted by the vastness and sweetness of this world and this life and whatever it is we don't see, something sweet, something benevolent, always cradling us, always loving us, always in us. Always. Without further rumination--for I tend to go on and on with words--here 'tis.
I Am There
Do you need Me?
I am there.
You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.
You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.
You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.
I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.
I am at work, though you do not recognize My works.
I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.
Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know Me as I am,
and then but as a feeling and a faith.
Yet I am there. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.
When you need me, I am there.
Even when you deny me, I am there.
Even when you are most alone, I am there.
Even in your fears, I am there.
Even in your pain, I am there.
I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.
I am in you, and you are in Me.
Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me,
for only in your mind are the mists of "yours" and "mine."
Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.
Empty your heart of empty fears.
When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.
You can of yourself do nothing, but I can do all.
And I am in all.
Though you may not see the good, good is there, for I am there.
I am there because I have to be, because I am.
Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of Me
does the world take form; only because of Me does the world go forward.
I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the
growth of living cells are founded.
I am the love that is the law's fulfilling. I am assurance.
I am peace. I am oneness. I am the law that you can live by. I
am the love that you can cling to. I am your assurance. I am
your peace. I am one with you. I am.
Though you fail to find Me, I do not fail you.
Though your faith in Me is unsure, My faith in you never
wavers, because I know you, because I love you.
Beloved, I am there.
--James Dillet Freeman
Mister Freeman was lauded as "the poet laureate of Unity, " lived from 1923 to 2003, and...Jim's 1947 poem I Am There went to the moon with Colonel James B. Irwin on Apollo 15. Irwin left a microfilm copy of the poem on the moon. Cool.