God’s Grandeur


Gerard Manley Hopkin’s sonnet, “God’s Grandeur,” came to mind last week when Dave and I spent time with our Hawaii kids and grands at one of the Barber Point cabins. As the powerful waves crashed in, we held an impromptu photo op on the beach with the grandchildren. Then God sent us more thunderous waves, endangered monk seals, and hand-painted skies. How does making a living get in the way of making a life? I’ve been there, then confessed my workaholism to the Lord and asked His forgiveness. Somehow, these years as a grandparent help me recapture some of the angst Hopkins poured through his pen back in 1877.

The world is charged with the the grandeur of God

It will flame out like shining from shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

      Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

And all is seared with trade, bleared, smeared with toil

And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod

And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward springs —

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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