Fatherhood has brought with it some profound truths and terrifying moments of self-reflection. In the quiet moments lying in my bed, I find myself playing a mental game of fateful table tennis with myself. The realization that my character, my work ethic, my morals, my politics, and my faith will directly influence my children is both selfishly exhilarating and terrifying. It is in these late night contemplations that my trust in my Creator is tested. Do I know/trust his plan for my life, for my kids’ lives? Do I truly know him deeply? Does he know me?
Wendell Berry has captured this profound thought in one of my favorite works. In one simple verse he rips open the young father’s heart and exposes his deepest fears. This piece is a beautiful breathing in and out of man’s tragic desire for legacy and his paranoia that he is somehow inadequate, the inhale of panic and the sweet exhale of allowing grace to wash over him and bring him into the rest of his Creator.
The Peace of Wild Things
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
of 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.