Lord, I am weary of the way

by Elouise

This poem is for anyone who, like Amy Carmichael, finds life changed in a heartbeat. Anytime. Anywhere. My comments follow.

A Burdened Awakening

My thoughts had said:
Lord, I am weary of the way;
I am afraid to face another day—
Frustrated, limited,
Guarded, Confined wherever I would go
By close-set “cannots,” That like hedge grow
About me now. And then our dear Lord said,
“I am about thy bed.”

Amy Carmichael, Mountain Breezes: The Collected Poems of Amy Carmichael, p. 329;
© 1999, The Dohnavur Fellowship, published by Christian Literature Crusade. First published in Though the Mountains Shake, 1943

* * * * *

Amy Carmichael was 76 years old when this poem was published. For more than 10 years before that, she had been confined to her room. She suffered from many ailments including such things as acute neuritis in one arm and arthritis in her back. Possibly because of an accident in 1931.

That year, Amy’s never-stop, never-say-no, never-give-up life came abruptly to an end. She spent almost all the next 20 years confined to her room before she died in 1951. Pain was her constant companion.

Suddenly she was dependent on others, not in charge anymore. Every day and night she dealt with physical, emotional and spiritual demons. She worked hard to maintain faith and her naturally cheerful spirit.

This isn’t just old age. This is old age magnified by unexpected tragedy.

I resist the thought that in old age I could be confined like this. I’ve defined my life chiefly in terms of productivity. I’m making a contribution to humanity. I’m not sitting around expecting others to wait on me. I get up and walk at will.

Then I read Amy’s poem. From the opening line, it seems the following words represent what she would like to say to God about her situation. This includes her anguish about the ever-growing list of things she cannot, must not do.

Her thoughts are interrupted by the voice of her “dear Lord” who says simply, “I am about thy bed.” That’s all. Just five words. No explanations, apologies or attempts to make her feel better.

It seems the Lord knows exactly what to do and say. Perhaps because he’s been there, cut off from every avenue of escape and facing an unknown future. And so he offers to Amy what he can: his presence and his compassion.

I can’t help thinking about military personnel, refugees, trafficked persons, victims of earthquakes, bombs, avalanches, abuse, accidents, sudden death and disabilities of all kinds. Lives traumatized, changed in an instant no matter who they are or how they’ve lived their lives. Being human means being vulnerable.

Amy’s poem is a gift for anyone whose life has been turned upside down. Amy wasn’t alone. Neither are we. I’m counting on it, one moment at a time.

“I am about thy bed.”

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 23 May 2015