Talked to six high school students this morning, Two young men and four young women, for 20 Minutes each. Ostensibly the discussion was all About college admission essays, but one thing I Have learned in life is to be quiet and listen and Out will pour real honest naked hard holy grace, And there it was, child after lanky child. So very Many masks worn as armor. So many polite bits Of college admissions essays that skated over the Stories they were so desperate to tell they would Even tell me—given the chance, the shy window Through which to whisper. When we were done I stood up rattled and blessed. Such terrible gifts And such generosity in the giving. I remembered Confession, in the old days, when the old shutter Made of oak or pine would shiver open suddenly And a voice, often so calm and gentle, would say Say what you most want to say, and have not said.
I don’t tell you how much it matters to me that you are my friend. I’ll never tell you, bluntly and face to face. I can’t summon words That way. They only come to my fingers occasionally if I’m silent And give up thinking. Our fingers are a lot smarter than we know. Like today when my fingers want to say something like: your gifts To me have been ears and humor. We speak some strange language That few other people speak. I don’t know why that’s so. It’s surely An accident. It’s not like we set out to find each other in the tumult Of this sweet wilderness. But we did somehow. You can put names On the finding if you want. The names all mean the same thing. An Old name is Providence, which is another way to say God, which is A way to say We Have No Idea How, But We Are Aware of Grace. There are more names for God than we’ll ever know, and one is you.