When you can't stop reading a poem.

by Meredith Day


There's this poem.

And I can't stop reading it.

The curves of it. The way the words tumble around in my mind. And the images that invade.

You guys remember Thomas? The doubting one? Yeah, me too.

The one who kind of reminds me of myself.

Have you ever just needed to put your hand in Jesus' side? I have.

I think back to the first time I ever saw a visual image of Thomas. It was a few days after we rang in the new year of 2009. I was in Rome, Italy at the Vatican Museum, and I was in a season of exhaustion and questioning. I didn't know what I was doing, but I kept praying. "Jesus, show yourself. I need to see you." The painting I saw looked a lot like this...

Caravaggio's, "The Incredulity of Saint Thomas"

So the poem. The one I'm referring to is written by Denise Levertov. It is a long poem, so I will just give you a snippit, but I encourage you to find it and read the whole of it. It's called St. Thomas Didymus. Here is the ending...

"But when my hand, led by His Hand's firm clasp, entered the unhealed womb,

My fingers encountering rib-bone and pulsing heat,

what I felt was not scalding pain, shame for my obstinate need, but light.

Light streaming into me, over me, filling the room as if I had lived in a cold cave,

and now coming forth for the first time, the knot that bound me unraveling,

I witnessed all things quicken to color, to form, my question not answered,

but given its part in a vast unfolding design lit by a rising sun."

I think it is okay to tell Him we need to feel Him. 

There are some days, and weeks, and months, and years, that the only prayer we may be able to muster is, "Jesus, I believe. Help my unbelief." And He does help.

With compassion in His eyes and grace in His heart he takes our apprehensive hand and places it in His side. Saying, "Here, dear one. This is real. Unclench the knot inside that's tightening you and let in the light."

In a world swirling with speculation, that's something I can hold on to. 

That is something I can believe in.

That poem, y'all. It's something special.