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An Epiphany Poem

For Those Who Have Far to Travel

If you could see the journey whole

you might never undertake it;

might never dare the first step

that propels you

from the place you have known

toward the place you know not.

Call it one of the mercies of the road:

that we see it only by stages

as it opens before us,

as it comes into our keeping

step by single step.

There is nothing for it but to go

and by our going take the vows

the pilgrim takes:

     to be faithful to the next step; 

     to rely on more than the map;

     to heed the signposts of intuition and dream;

     to follow the star that only you will recognize;

     to keep an open eye for the wonders that

     attend the path;

     to press on beyond distractions

          beyond fatigue

          beyond what would tempt you from the way.

There are vows that only you will know;

the secret promises for your particular path

and the new ones you will need to make

when the road is revealed by turns

you could not have foreseen.

Keep them, break them, make them again:

each promise becomes part of the path;

each choice creates the road

that will take you to the place

where at last you will kneel to offer the gift

most needed— the gift that only you can give—

before turning to go home by another way.

~Jan Richardson

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