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Grand Rapids, MI

Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Reflections on Rilke Part i


The German poet Ranier Maria Rilke in a poem entitled Du siechst, ich will viel writes…

…So many are alive who don’t seem to care. casual, easy, they move in the world as though untouched.But you take pleasure in the faces of those who know they thirst. You cherish those who grip you for survival.

You are not dead yet, it’s not too late to open your depths by plunging into them and drink the life that reveals itself quietly there.

I resonate with Rilke. He speaks for how I often feel. As I make my way through yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows I am astounded at the growing apathy in the world. “So many are alive who don’t seem to care” and the question arises in my mind like bubbles in a soda bottle, “Are they alive?” Apathy is the deadening calm that creeps over a person who has no passion, no vision, no hope, no fervor – someone who is fanatic about nothing. Where are the fanatics? Where are those with zeal for God and zeal for life? Where are the zealots like Peter and Paul, the Sons of Thunder like James and John? [Mark 3:17] Try an American football game or better yet, a global football (Americans read “soccer”) game; does anyone paint their face anymore for the gospel? [Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Borrows and Joanna Macy, Riverhead Books (1996).]

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