Gifts of the Holy Spirit

by Marianne Peel

for Allegra, on her Baptism

I wish you wisdom
deep, like ancient rivers,
fluid and flowing
longer than time itself
rooted in movement
the wisdom that reaches 
deep into the earth, like growing trees,
like the fingers of the Creator God
in the soil of our lives.

I wish you understanding,
the compassion that transforms you
from acquaintance to friend
a sincerity of spirit
that shines through your eyes,
knowing you can empathize,
feel with,
those you know
with a genuine tenderness.

I wish you good judgement
fine-tuned like a violin
or a cello,
a discerning ear
to know right paths
difficult paths, sometimes,
knowing your free will
is a gift from God
to be handled with gentleness.

I wish you courage
to choose overgrown paths,
paths not commonly taken.
Like Robert Frost 
and Henry David Thoreau,
I hope your choosing the lesser taken road
gives you a life filled with adventure,
a life that makes all the difference. 

I wish you knowledge,
more than the miniscule facts memorized for a test
Something deeper, more permanent.
The knowledge of connecting to the noble minds of the world
and the wisdom that emerges from living well and full.
that grass roots, homespun knowledge,
the knowing, like Gandhi, that taking time 
to spin your own cotton
can change the face of the universe for all eternity.

I wish you love,
whether you are reading a book
wiggling your toes in the sand on a beach
or soaring up and down roller coaster tracks.
I wish you that peace within
knowing you are loved
and loveable
and capable of moving lives
with the love you have to give.

I wish you reverence for God
echoed in a thousand times thankfulness
as you move through your life, your days.
The same thankfulness of the people of Guatemala
as they sing thanks praises to their God,
seeking and seeing joy, even in the heart of despair.
I wish you and awesome knowing
that your life, day and night,
will be devoted to ferreting out the divine within.

I wish you the mind of Jesus,
the gentle spirit of a person unafraid
to speak her mind and reveal her heart.
A person who embraced 
even the seemingly unembraceable
and transformed lives
with his touch,
his words,
his light.

I wish you eyes
that are willing to bear sorrows and burdens
but are also soft enough
to comfort a hurting friend.
I wish you hands
that reach out more often than in,
that aren’t afraid to touch and to hold securely.
To know, as the Nigerian proverb says,
that we must embrace true friends with both hands.

I wish you feet 
that are bold and daring, unafraid to risk.
Stepping forward with conviction,
knowing that this life is truly a journey, 
not a destination.
I wish you the blessed assurance
that gentle spirits walk with you always
and that the mind of Jesus is yours,
simply for the asking…

A middle/high school English teacher for 32 years, Marianne Peel now nurtures her own creativity. She spent three summers teaching in China; received Fulbright Awards to Nepal and Turkey. Marianne’s poetry appears in Muddy River Review, Jelly Bucket, Comstock Review, among others. Her debut collection, No Distance Between Us, was published by Shadelandhouse Modern Press in 2021.

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