This poem, entitled "Breathing Under Water," was written by Carol Bieleck, R.S.C.J., and has come to be via Richard Rohr in his book by the same name. It is proving to be a persistent sign post that will not let me blithely continue on. Therefore, I pass it on to you so we can go forth together. I will try to keep the same formatting that is in the book. I pray that even if I fail in that endeavor, may this mysterious poem remind you of the eternity that is within you, and bring you grace in any stress that may be holding you today.
I built my house by the sea,
Not on the sands, mind you;
not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock,
A strong house
by a strong sea.
And we got well acquainted, the sea and I,
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance,
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.
Always, the fence of sand our barrier,
always, the sand between.
And then one day,
- and I still don't know how it happened -
the sea came.
Without welcome, even.
Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand
less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but coming.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning
and I thought of death.
And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.
And I knew then, there was neither flight, nor death,
That when the sea comes calling you stop being
Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance, neighbors
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe under water.