The Slow Arm of All That Matters

The Slow Arm of All That Matters September 14, 2015


In November, Sounds True will publish a new, expanded edition of Inside the Miracle: Enduring Suffering, Approaching Wholeness, which gathers twenty-eight years of my writing and teaching about suffering, healing, and wholeness, including thirty-nine new poems and prose pieces not yet published. One of the great transforming passages in my life was having cancer in my mid-thirties. This experience unraveled the way I see the world and made me a student of all spiritual paths. With a steadfast belief in our aliveness, I hope what’s in this book will help you meet the transformation that waits in however you’re being forged. The following piece is an excerpt from the book.


The Slow Art of All That Matters

I have fallen through and worked into

a deeper way—one step at a time, one pain

at a time, one grief at a time, one amends at

a time—until the long, slow arm of all that matters

has bowed my estimation of heaven. Now, like a

heron waiting for the waters to clear, I look for

heaven on earth and wait for the turbulence to

settle. And I confess, for all the ways we stir things

up, I can see that though we can stop, life never

stops: the lonely bird crashes into the window

just as the sun disperses my favorite doubt, a

sudden wind closes your willing heart as the

moment of truth passes between us, and the

damn phone rings as my father is dying. All

these intrusions, majestically unfair, and not

of our timing. So we spin and drop and catch

and land. And sometimes, we fall onto these

little islands of stillness, like now, from which

we are renewed by our kinship with all and that

irrepressible feeling resurrects our want to be here,

to push off again into the untamable stream.


A Question to Walk With: In conversation with a loved one or friend, discuss what it means to you that life is “majestically unfair.”

Browse Our Archives