The Lump

Robert Frost, one of our most beloved poets, once said, “A poem begins as a lump in the throat…”

I don’t have any poems tonight.  I do have a lump in my throat.  There may or may not also be a tear in the corner of my eye.

The world is atwitter with the latest scandal; shameful actions by a young star.  I refuse to look at either photos or video of the event, but I remember with a lump in my throat that she has parents who are looking on.

I received news of the death of an old friend, a dear lady who served her God all of her long life.  Her passing removed her from days filled with pain and distress to a better place.  But, again I remember with a lump in my throat that she has children and siblings who are left to mourn and miss her.

A number of other friends have shared news of events which are crushing them under an unbearable load–sickness, family issues, loss of homes.  They cope, but still they are devastated, and this lump in my throat won’t go away.

I have no rhyming words, no iambic pentameter, not even a haiku, with which to ease the lump.

Mr. Frost went on to suggest where the lump was likely to originate.  He suggested homesickness or lovesickness.  I was thinking that there might be other causes, but now that I consider it, he is probably right.

We hurt because we love.  Oh, I’m not speaking about the sappy, mushy stuff of novels and chick-flick movies.  There are times when the lump may come because of that, but we usually get over those events quickly enough.  The love that really hurts is the love that cares so deeply that it won’t give up when all else seems hopeless; the love that stays even though the heart is ripped out of those who care so deeply.

I have also felt the lump in the throat which was caused by homesickness.  But, almost certainly, that lump came from the same source as the other one already described.  We are homesick because we love.  We love the people; we love the familiar scenes and smells and noises; we love the place we came from more than the place in which we find ourselves stranded.

Often these days, when I feel the lump, I am homesick.

Oh, I’m not homesick for any street address, and not for any place or event in my past.  When this homesickness hits, I remember that I’m not home yet.

Mr. Frost may have been remembering this also as he stopped by the woods on that snowy evening. I often think of his words as I go through my days; “But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

No, we’re not home yet, but we are on the road home.

Lumps in the throats and all.

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”
(From “An Essay on Man” by Alexander Pope ~ English poet ~ 1688-1744)

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice, who ruled them while He dwelt below.
(Katherina von Schlegel ~ German Pietist songwriter ~ 1697-1768)

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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