Archive for April 9, 2010

A Dream and Annie Johnson Flint’s poem

I had a dream the other day, I haven’t dreamed for a long time. Maybe because I am still not sleeping well while getting over jetlag, maybe there are other explanations.  In this dream, I was visiting a school, maybe a high school and the climb up to whatever office was getting higher and more perilous as we went.  What I recall was that I was putting my feet in stirrups that were in the shape of an O.  That would not have been the only thing that was problematic about my climbing to the top.  I was also trying to hold a plastic bottle with something valuable inside and the cover had come off.  So, as not to lose the contents I was trying to get the cover back on and feeling like a tightrope artist above the circus tent crowd.

Then as dreams often do, I was back on the ground, terra firma, but I was in a very compromising situation.  I won’t go into details but fortunately I was with my husband. I was fearful of what others might think and then I became angry. End of dream, I woke up. That’s what usually happens, there was no resolution to my problem, the dream stopped without a solution as soon as I awoke.

What to make of this strange dream that really is a collection of my thoughts and fears from my subconscious?  I don’t know except that I’m trying to be careful with something fragile and it is like a dangerous circus act that people are watching.  My stepping higher and higher into stirrup steps instead of steps as we know it, is like being in unfamiliar territory. I certainly am all that in Kazakhstan. I’m used to climbing up regular steps, as uneven in their height as they sometimes are in Central Asia.

Why the fear and anger though? Those are common feelings amongst us expats who live in this wondrous land of Kazakhstan.  I usually am not afraid and it takes a LOT to get me angry so maybe this is the opposite feeling that I’m expressing to the rest of the world right now. I am trusting I am in the right place at the right time.

Perhaps that is why I like this poem by Annie Johnson Flint, a great poet from a century ago.

In a factory building there are wheels and gearings,

There are cranks and pulleys, beltings tight or slack—

Some are whirling swiftly, some are turning slowly,

Some are thrusting forward, some are pulling back;

Some are smooth and silent, some are rough and noisy,

Pounding, rattling, clanking, moving with a jerk;


In a wild confusion in a seeming chaos,

Lifting, pushing, driving—but they do their work.

From the mightiest lever to the tiniest pinion,

All things move together for the purpose planned;

And behind the working is a mind controlling,

And a force directing, and a guiding hand.


So all things are working for the Lord’s beloved;

Some things might be hurtful if alone they stood;

Some might seem to hinder; some might draw us backward;

But they work together, and they work for good,

All the thwarted longings, all the stern denials,

All the contradictions, hard to understand.

And the force that holds them, speeds them and retards them,

Stops and starts and guides them—is our Father’s hand.

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