This poem wouldn’t have made sense to me at 15, or 25, or even 35. It may not make sense to you today. But in all the language I’ve used around identity over the years, of what it means to “know who you are in Christ” and my grossly underestimated definitions of what it means to “die to self” — I was really trying to say what this poem says.

I found it in my study of Richard Rohr’s life-altering book, Immortal Diamond. It is a book that shook me awake and so much so that I’m presently reading it a second time.

 No, I’ve never quite been able to say what I sensed down deep inside.

 So I’ll just let the poem say it from now on, and I’ll try and keep my hands empty:




In this high place

it is as simple as this,

leave everything you know behind.


Step toward the cold surface,

say the old prayer of rough love

and open both arms.


Those who come with empty hands

will stare into the lake astonished,

there, in the cold light

reflecting pure snow


the true shape of your own face



(Tilicho Lake by David Whyte)


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