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C – G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

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“One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.”

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an English writer, philosopher, and Christian apologist, and a literary and art critic.  G.K. Chesterton is also the author of one of my all-time favorite books, “The Complete Father Brown Stories.”

If you think of a mountain, the peak is way the heck up there.  It can be crisp and cold.  The air is thin.  And mostly you’re alone, or with a very few.  The perspective from the peak is wide-ranging.  Peak experiences in our lives are wonderful and essential.  But it makes perfect sense that the daily-grind good work is mostly all done down in the valley.  Mostly done in a thousand small things we do every day. The great works of our lives.

A Poem From The Valley

Following is a poem that will be included in a collection of my poetry I am hoping to publish within this year.  It is a poem from the valley.  The deep and desperate valley of my long-lived divorce.  

I am including it in today’s wisdom because it was a unique and transformative peak experience in the midst of a dark and hard time. 

Jason and I were on a trip down in Mexico.  On one of the days, we decided to hike up to a lookout point where there was a lighthouse.  The day was riddled with arguments and misunderstandings, anger, hurt, and fear.  And yet, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the hike.

Once I reached the top, I was awed by the expanse.  The wide-open space called to a deep and wounded part in me that had forgotten how to hope.  The perspective from the peak gave me a moment of clarity.   I caught a glimpse of what my life might look like apart from Jason.  Ease, peace, love.

Eventually, we made our way back down the hillside, back to our desperate and destitute vacation together.  Down deep in that valley of the end of our marriage. 

The Third World
	from Mexico
There is a phantom
To third world countries.
An unpredictable beauty
Deep and hidden slyly
Beneath their poverties.
Where you are afraid
I am enticed.
A seductive specter calls to me
Come down this shabby path.
Up the hillside I follow obediently.
Beyond the bashful lizards.
Up. Up to the highest lighthouse in the world.
Well, second highest, but who is counting?
And there I stand
The specter and I – breathless.
Full of wonder.  
Full of life.
And what did I learn there?
That your poverty calls to fear
And he is a dominating force
Over my spectral beauty.
Fear will not be told to go
Or to stay for that matter, either.
But makes himself
At home up on this peak
Down in the city
In your heart
In the space between us.
And now I know what 
Keeps men from beauty.
What keeps you.
We are a predictable pair down here
Me and my beautiful phantom
You and your poverty.
There is no need for us to travel
In search of third world mysteries
Ever again.

If you are in the valley, or if you are up on the peak, there is grace in both places.  Let’s be friends~

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