Lent 26 ~ The Drying Stream


When the devil wants to capture our soul, he first divides our mind by many cares. Some of them appear to be necessary, others appear to be fraternal charity; and as he thus divides it, the stream of compunction is dried up, and when it is dried up the city is captured, and reason perishes. ~ St. Anthony of Padua


I have a little place in my life where the sun does not quite reach in. Yet, there’s no sorrow there. No grief, nor tears. It is just where I sit and watch the world go by in a parade of achievements, banners of glory and victory unfurled.


From where I watch, I see fists raised in triumph and backs patted in acknowledgement of success. I see doors of opportunities swing open. I hear names being called. I hear cheers and the happy sounds of a winner’s feast.

And from my little cove-away-from-the-light, I watch and listen. I step out from time to time to cheer on those who need it. Sometimes, I try to whisper, “If you need me, I too can do the same….”, and I smile away my shame when I hear the excuses, and see eyes glaze over and smiles tighten. I know rejection in all its forms.


You see, I don’t belong to that golden group with the sun in their hair and diamonds for smiles. The people everyone wants on their team, the ones with the Midas touch. I’m the one who shuffles behind those who confidently stride ahead. My spot is in the shadows, whilst others court the sun and its glory. My place is where the winds come to rest, and water ripples end their bloom of circles.


For some reason, I can never make the crowd of the Sun gods. There is almost never a breach in the circle of gold wherein they reside. Despite my overall contentment doing what I do best, from time to time, a tiny pang of wistfulness finds its way to me when I nurse a dream of glory. When I ask, Why not me, O Lord?

My Jesus’ answer comes to me through Ellen M. Gates:


by Ellen M. H. Gates

If you cannot, on the ocean, sail among the swiftest fleet,
Rocking on the highest billows, laughing at the storms you meet,
You can stand among the sailors, anchored yet within the bay,
You can lend a hand to help them, as they launch their boats away.

If you are too weak to journey up the mountain steep and high,
You can stand within the valley, while the multitudes go by;
You can chant in happy measure, as they slowly pass along;
Though they may forget the singer, they will not forget the song.

If you have not gold and silver ever ready to command;
If you cannot toward the needy reach an ever open hand;
You can visit the afflicted, o’er the erring you can weep;
You can be a true disciple, sitting at the Savior’s feet.

If you cannot, in the conflict prove, yourself a soldier true,
If, where fire and smoke are thickest, there’s no work for you to do;
When the battlefield is silent, you can go with careful tread,
You can bear away the wounded, you can cover up the dead.

If you cannot, in the harvest, gather up the richest sheaves,
Many a grain both ripe and golden oft the careless reaper leaves;
Go and glean among the briars growing rank against the wall,
For it may be that their shadow hides the heaviest wheat of all.

Do not, then, stand idly waiting, for some greater work to do;
Fortune is a lazy goddess, she will never come to you.
Go and toil in any vineyard, do not fear to do or dare,
If you want a field of labor, you can find it anywhere.