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Try To Imagine

I’ve heard it said that we can’t really understand someone until we’ve walked in their shoes and, of course, we can never do that. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

When I was a girl, I used to lie in bed after the light was out imagining I was somewhere else, in another age, or even someone else. Florence Nightingale was one of my favourites. I’d imagine walking along her hospital ward in the Crimea and listen to her footsteps, reach out and try to feel the rough blankets on the soldiers’ beds and imagine smelling what she was smelling. That stood me in good stead when I wrote biographies for it helped me to know what questions to ask. I never felt it was time to begin writing a biography until I could feel into the subject in that childish way.

I tried to imagine myself older and frailer when I wrote this poem. I think I must have caught something of that for I entered the poem in a competition and the judge’s comments showed that he thought I was describing my own situation.

Still learning

It’s morning, Lord;

you’ve spared me to another day.

I don’t know why;

I have so little left to give.

I’m old and tired,

my memory often fails.

I pray for faces

and forget their names.

You’ve kept me, Lord,

you’ve never let me go.

You’ve been the centre

of all my joys and pains.

Throughout the years

you’ve been the constant one

and now in older age

you’re with me still.

I’ve served you, Lord,

over these many years,

not well, dear Father,

but I’ve tried.

You’ve taught me lessons

all along the way,

Lord, keep on teaching;

I am learning still.

I’ve felt it dawning, Lord,

and now I know it’s here.

The time has come to serve

through being served.

God, grant me grace

to accept each helping hand.

Lord, keep on teaching;

I am learning still.

Written for the Scottish Fellowship of Christian Writers and used by kind permission.


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