I’m not a woodcarver, but I’ve read that woodcarvers look at a piece of wood until they see what it could become, then they carve away everything that isn’t what they want the wood to be, using tools and techniques that would seem brutal if the wood was sentient.
I wrote this poem after my son and I read a book in homeschool about a community of women who made a coat for a little girl who had none out of scraps of material from other clothing. When the schoolchildren teased the girl about her patchwork coat, she told them it was a coat of stories–because each scrap had a story behind it. After we read the story, I pondered the pieces of my life and the stories they told.
I loosely based this poem on The Hobbit by J.J.R. Tolkien, which I love. I have always seen myself as a Hobbit–someone who liked security, peace, and no surprises or adventures. I’ve felt God is like Gandalf, dragging me out of my nice, safe, comfortable life into a life of danger and risk. At first, I protested but the adventure changed me, and eventually I realized that I had grown to enjoy the life He dragged me into.
This poem is based on the story of Hagar in Genesis 16 and Psalms 139. After Hagar encountered God in the desert,
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi [The Well of the God Who Sees Me]. (Genesis 16:13-14)