Comfort, Wisdom, Wit & Adventures for Halflings

Crimson Leaves: Old Soul Devotions (Inspired by the Sonnets of George MacDonald): January 1

The Horizon of Hope

January 1

“LORD, what I once had done with youthful might,
Had I been from the first true to the truth,
Grant me, now old, to do–with better sight,
And humbler heart, if not the brain of youth;
So wilt thou, in thy gentleness and ruth[1],
Lead back thy old soul, by the path of pain,
Round to his best–young eyes and heart and brain.”
– G.M.

The new year of an old soul begins. Age is the enigma: an inverse paradox. The life-journey normally begins with a robust physicality as host to embryonic wisdom in a culture of cognitive and emotional immaturity. In many ways, we are we are little packets of self, full of energy and wants and needs. Unbridled. Unattached—as far as we are conscious and concerned—to any larger purpose beyond ourselves.

But larger, more ancient forces than ourselves are also at work: some of them forming, shaping, breaking, re-forming, drawing, nurturing, protecting, and teaching. And loving. All of the foregoing influences constitute, among the more pleasant considerations, and in varying degrees, “a path of pain.” All of the necessary limitations required of a man God is making will be registered on the continuum of pain.

This path of pain is needful because there are other forces, aligned with a determined darkness stranded into our DNA, which, unless opposed, will take all of the fresh, wonderful, ebullient potential energy of the essential “me”—as yet not thinking or seeing clearly—and craft it into a monstrosity more shocking than we could ever conceive of.

This “path less taken” is the crucible of wisdom and maturity—a potter’s wheel which, surrendered to, can alone bring forth a vessel which bears the impress of a King. This strange, hybrid vessel is still tyrannical clay on the outside, but has a hidden inner lining of the purest gold, refined by fire, deposited over the unholy shell by the Holiest of contents. This vessel born of pain is emblematic of our redemption. Our sanctification.

MacDonald’s pain expressed here is anointed with a balm of hope: a gentle, merciful Heart is behind and before the present pain—not imprisoned by this moment, but flying above it and drawing the old soul in its wake on toward the joyful horizon …”The best—young eyes and heart and brain.”

Abba, Father, Macdonald’s pain is my pain. Remind me that his hope is my hope as well. Thank you that, in contrast to my own self-abuse and the unrelenting hatred and accusations of other voices, you, with “gentleness and ruth,” are bearing me on eagles’ wings toward the horizon of ultimate hope. Amen.         —MOW

[1] Mercy, compassion


© 2015-Michael Olan Webb. From Crimson Leaves: Old Soul Devotions (Working Title). (Sonnet quoted from Dairy of an Old Soul by George MacDonald: Public Domain.)

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