I am so excited to introduce you to Sylvia Robertson from Sylvr Pen today!
Behind the scenes, sacred synchronicity happens. I asked if Sylvia would like to share a poem, which I in turn would respond to with a mixed-media collage. After savoring her poem, I asked her to share a little of her experience behind the poem. And she did!
And now, here you go! Enjoy these words from Sylvia’s heart and pen.
When a Number Gets You Down (Your Age)—In Which I Reveal a Dirty Little Secret (Mine)
“The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” –Psalm 90:10 NKJV
“October 1, 2015.” I wrote it at the top of my journal page, and looked at it. It seemed ominous. Psalm 90:10 resounded in my head. I felt like I was standing at the head of a street marked with a big “Dead End” sign.
For so much of my life, autumn had been a time of new beginnings. New crayons, new pencils, new notebooks, new clothes, new classes, new adventures! I had taught school. I had home schooled. Before all that I’d gone to school as a pupil myself, and the brilliant leaves that drifted down to a clatter on the sidewalk had always excited my young heart. Their fresh color and crackling crispness had always said “new,” to me, not “old,” with a newness to match the prospects of a new year: school-wise, grade-wise, and age-wise, too—for my birthday almost always arrived right at the peak of fall color.
But now my approaching birthday, and the turning leaves, and the chilling air, all seemed to speak of endings. And oldness! After all, I would now be officially old, wouldn’t I? In fact, I would have used up all the allotted days that Psalm 90 talks about!
“And,” I wrote in my journal, “it isn’t an age that tends to make people think of hopeful futures or educational equipping for them, or new energetic adventures. Instead it’s more associated with a lot of crass jokes about what doesn’t work anymore (in the body or mind), with slowdown and greatly diminished activity, and with the themes of out-to-pasture and end-of-usefulness.”
Well! Whenever you start thinking along such lines, you head yourself right toward the pits—and you’d better get yourself another think, and head yourself in the opposite direction!
So I did.
And as a result (of that and a surprise family birthday party that I think was my best birthday ever), by the end of October I had penned the following poem expressing my new heart-view.
[In upcoming Thursday (“Themesday”) posts on my blog, I plan to share in more detail how my spirit got turned around so totally. But for now, let’s just say that to great extent it’s a matter of what you choose to notice. For instance, that scripture verse above was composed by Moses… who, at the age of eighty, led the whole nation of Israel out of Egypt, and who continued leading them afterward till his death at the age of… 120! (Selah! i.e., So there!)]
Since I reached that day
of life’s expected limit,
Each day after
first thing off,
even in the still-dark hour of my awaking,
a precious gift acknowledged,
“Every day I think of death,”
I think that’s also true of me,
But nothing morbid in it,
Only joy at realizing
what gift, daily, the alternative—
what still-breathing, singing
tide of opportunity—
like the piquant untamed autumn air,
full of color flying,
there at each window-opening.
“Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, -Psalm 92:13-14 NKJV
Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved. Prose and Poem by Sylvia Robertson. Artwork by Kel Rohlf.