Collecting Ourselves and Something Else

The poet William Wordsworth defined poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility."

I love that word "recollected." Something about the sound of it.

And it is that word, hyphenated by Foster into its two parts re-collected, that stood out to me in Chapter 4 of Sanctuary of the Soul.

While Foster spoke of psychological relaxing and surrendering, through sitting still and maybe going over a Scripture in one's mind, I was somehow thinking of daffodils, and how Wordsworth once wrote of them...

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Thinking of the daffodils, I remembered how psychologically relaxing it had been to spend time outdoors every day for a year. So relaxing, in fact, that my body began to develop a new 4-o'clock sense of longing for solitude and fresh air and my cup of tea. A "pattern of life" (as Foster puts it) had developed, and from it came deep times of collection— collection of images, truths, inner spaciousness. I wrote more poetry during that time than I ever have or have done since. I re-collected the past and somehow came out with a larger sense of love.

I don't sit outside daily anymore. It had its time and place. The other day, in Wordsworth style, I allowed myself to simply lie on the couch. The afternoon sun was warm on my arm and I fell asleep. I woke up filled with so many little epiphanies it was almost overwhelming.

Is it important how we go about collecting and re-collecting ourselves? I'm not so sure it is. Sitting still in a chair, going outside with a cup of tea, lying down on the couch in the afternoon, with a sense of wanting to know anew: each can be a basket into which we gather refreshment, vision, and love.

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Anonymous kingfisher said...

"...with a sense of wanting to know anew: each can be a basket into which we gather refreshment, vision, and love."

Oh, I like this! I certainly need to gather refreshment, vision, and love. Thanks for reminding me to keep looking in the in-box (or basket) of my life.

I've been thinking about how, when I'm discouraged, tired, don't like what's going on in my outer, or my inner, life -- I may often realize that underneath the other thoughts my mind is singing an old hymn of the church, or a praise chorus, or a Scripture has popped into my mind -- maybe something I haven't even thought about recently. That's the Holy Spirit at work, re-collecting me. I'm concerned, though, about baby Christians, or illiterate ones or the persecuted church, none of which have much background or training. They are so weak and deprived! How do they find enough to hang their faith on? They haven't "collected" enough experiences of "recollections" to fall back on in order to re-invigorate and re-encourage themselves. A matter for more prayer, no doubt. We are to pray to the Lord of Harvest for the workers to go out. May we not also pray the Holy Spirit will send them a touch of God-Himself in fresh revelation so they gain the experience to recollect God's mercy and love?


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