Sunday, April 08, 2007

Turning Easter Clods...


Happy Easter! When I entered the Church in 1994, I took “Amy” as my confirmation name, after Amy Carmichael (d.1951), a Irish Presbyterian missionary who was both a warrior and a poet. Amy’s biography, A Chance to Die, has been one of the most influential books of my life … It inspired me to consider carefully not only how I wanted to invest my life, but by what terms I was going to define “success.” It convinced me to think deeply, observe carefully, and to write fearlessly. All these things, Amy did without exception.

As my Easter gift to you, I would like to share with you two selections from Mountain Breezes: The Collected Poems of Amy Carmichael. The first is one of my favorite hymns, which I clung to as a candidate on my final hesitant steps toward the Vigil. There came a point when I realized that there were some questions to which I was going to receive answers only after I had been received into the fold. God was calling me to trust … and, in the end, I’m glad I did. I'm happy to say all those niggling questions are gone, gone, gone ... and oh, the riches I've discovered instead!

The second selection is a poem Amy wrote in memory of one of her "treasures"; little "Pearl" had been sold by her own parents as a child prostitute to a Hindu temple in India. Pearl was rescued by Amy, who determined to raise the little girl at Donavur Fellowship -- and then the girl died suddenly. Though Pearl was one of dozens of children who lived at the orphanage, Amy's expression of love and loss in the poem is heartfelt. Reading it again, as the mother of two adopted children, I find my love for this woman as fierce and devoted as ever it was.
This week Amy's poem about loss seems especially appropriate, though I have nothing concrete to report about Tony. I share it with you anyway as a reminder for you to continue to pray for the Benkovics.

Under the Mercy.

MAKE ME THY FUEL/FROM PRAYER THAT ASKS

From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went Thy Crucified)
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire;
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, O Flame of God!

AC p.223


LENT TO THEE

Dear Master, all the flowers are Thine,
And false the whisper, "ours" and "mine."
We lift our hearts to Thee and say:
"Lord, it was Thine to take away."

And yet, though we would have it so,
Lord, it is very good to know
That Thou art feeling for our pain;
And we shall have our flower again.

So help us now to be content
To take the sorrow Thou hast sent.
Dear Lord, how fair Thy house must be
With all the flowers we've lent to Thee!
AC, 157


UPDATE: Kind thanks to our dear Irish sister Ann Murray, who lives just miles from Amy's birthplace. She sent this link to alert me to the honorary memorial recently installed at Amy's family's estate (November 2006). Thanks be to God!

1 comment:

Veritas said...

Oh happy coincidence, Heidi, that Amy was born less than 20 miles from here! Your post and her lovely poems prompted me to read up about her on Goggle. What an extraordinary, inspiration she was/is. The article cites a quotation attributed to her - One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving. Thanks for this Heidi and for the traffic! Ann