This is a complicated world,
but not for the sake of trying.
How do we respond? What is it that I have done?
Have I tried to lay in the long grass,
to wake early and see my breath?
When did I last wait to hear,
Not answer, not voice, but a bird,
the woodpecker’s sharp tap outside the bedroom window.
I don’t remember when I last walked in the rain
to look up and see the downpour.
Am I afraid of getting wet, of tracking mud?
How quickly I forget my coat, a pair of boots
Do I even remember where in the closet they are stored?
I must go out this next time.
I must remember that it is expected of me
to not remain dry
to track mud onto the floor boards.
It is expected that I do not remain a stoic philosopher forever.
Good reflection never came from sitting at the altar.
Unless I propose to be a monk,
but even the monk must laugh
and he does look up into the rain.
This is a complicated world
but made less so because I am not a monk
however much I would like to be.
And although not a religious
I will still pray.
Perhaps I will even pray tonight.
Perhaps my words will carry hints of the sacred.
It is a sacred found in the ordinary;
Alive and riveted by this complicated, imperfect world.
Alive and riveted by this complicated, imperfect life.
And my feet have been introduced to mud,
my hair drips rain.
Maybe I shall yet live
or at the very least I will try.
About the Rabble Rouser
Michael Krueger first met Sister Julia in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as an undergraduate student at Viterbo University and dishwasher at St. Rose Convent. She was the only sister who didn’t leave a generous tip. (All joking aside, the one and only tip he actually received was the priceless call to FSPA affiliation in 2009). He credits that “top-notch Franciscan education” for putting him on a path to La Crosse’s Place of Grace Catholic Worker House (where he lived for two-and-a-half years), SOA peace vigils, work with developmentally disabled adults (inspired by Jean Vanier and L’Arche), commitment to social justice and a chance dinner with Roy Bourgeois. He currently lives near Madison with his wife and young daughter, and recently joined efforts to begin a Catholic Worker community there.