Written by Ruth Marie Paterson

Gift of self

Why is it that the things we say, make, or do
never hold the same weight for others
as they do for ourselves?

What I wouldn’t give for self-forgetfulness,
for not caring who I am or what I do.

But being a self always results in a level of self-consciousness
that can’t be erased.

I’m tempted to name this poem “the burden of self”
but I must stop and think
and retrain my brain:
This is not a burden, or, not only a burden—
this is a gift.

Being alive, a self, a selfish self
is a burdensome gift.

It helps if we learn to laugh at ourselves
and try our utmost
to look past ourselves
(beyond and through and over ourselves)
and meet people where they are.
How wonderful to hold another’s self for a while
and see what life is like through
another self’s eyes.

This is my cup

“Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22:42, NLT).

“… this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people” (Isaiah 58:6, NLT).

“If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine” (Matthew 10:38, NLT).

To untie the bonds of slavery,
Comfort the lonely,
And care for the poor.
This is My cup.
Will you drink it?

To free My people from the power of sin,
Rescue them from the evil one,
And seek truth, love, and justice.
This is My cup.
Will you drink it?

To die a martyr’s death,
Lay down my life for those who hate Me,
And show love to my enemies.
This is My cup.
Will you drink it?

To stand on the words of God,
Submit to Him humbly,
Praying, “Not my will, but Thine be done.”
This is My cup.
Will you drink it?

To go into all the world,
Make disciples,
And be filled with the Spirit.
This is My cup.
Will you drink it?

To join the Father in Heaven
And dine at the
Marriage supper of the Lamb.
This is My cup.
Will you drink it?

These poems were originally published in Ruth’s poetry collection, Gently Planted, which was published in April 2021. Reprinted with permission. Find more of her writings at ruthmariepaterson.ca.