Meet Susan Payne, contributor in the September/October issue, “Transitions.” Her poem, “For Now,” appears on page 48. To get a copy of this issue or to order a subscription to Alive Now, call 1.800.972.0433 or order online.
The poem, “For Now,” was written a couple of years ago during a time of deep transition in our life. Actually, I wasn’t transitioning very well at all. It was more like I was frantically trying to maintain my equilibrium in the aftershocks of an earthquake. My husband had finally decided that early retirement was on the near horizon for him because of his Parkinson’s disease. The backup plan was for me to begin to carry our health insurance. But at the end of the summer, my employer announced the elimination of one hundred positions. Mine was one of them.
So one October day I sought refuge in the woods, where I thought I might renew and reconnect with God. That day I found myself in the middle of an autumn concert of falling leaves. Brilliant red, yellow, and orange leaves fell on and around me as the wind urged them to let go. Those soft maple and oak sounds were punctuated by occasional tympanic percussion notes of giant shagbark hickory leaves that clumped their way to the ground. And that is when I noticed the most delicate of ferns, the maidenhair, dancing a few feet away from me. I had nearly missed her quiet contribution.
Once in a while, God inspires me to put words to paper. It’s almost as if they become my own personal psalms of lament, wonder or gratitude. This particular prayer/poem was God’s gift at a specific time in my life. It became my main prayer communication with God, as I recited it over and over. Sometimes it was a prayer of supplication that I would stay in the present moment and not worry about security, health insurance, finances, the future. But the mystery was that at other times I heard these words as God’s whisper in my very own heart – reassurance that God would never leave me; direction that I should trust, and encouragement that I must just dance.
Susan Payne was called to parish nurse ministry twelve years ago and has served People’s United Methodist Church in Oregon, Wisconsin ever since. She and her husband live in Cottage Grove, and delight in their six grandchildren.