Fourteen years ago I found a great treasure in a small package. Emmaus Bible College, where I studied for two years, has an annual book sale in the library. In '95, one of my precious finds was a little book by George MacDonald called The Diary of an Old Soul. MacDonald is one of my favorite authors, and to find this book of poetry, a stanza of seven lines for each day of the year, was thrilling. In the years since as I've read it, I've been alternately thrilled and pierced to the quick, with many stops in between.
I've never managed to read The Diary on a truly daily basis, which probably makes a statement about my consistency and discipline that I'd rather not consider...
This year, I have read more often than in the past, at intervals close enough that I am able to start where I last read and catch up to the stanza for the day. It has been a treat!
Just to whet your appetite, here are a few of my May favorites (so far):
Thy great deliverance is a greater thing
Than purest imagination can foregrasp;
A thing beyond all conscious hungering,
Beyond all hope that makes the poet sing.
It takes the clinging world, undoes its clasp,
Floats it afar upon a mighty sea,
And leaves us quiet with love and liberty and thee.
Christ is the pledge that I shall one day see;
That one day, still with him, I shall awake,
And know my God, at one with him and free.
O lordly essence, come to life in me;
The will-throb let me feel that doth me make;
Now have I many a mighty hope in thee,
Then shall I rest although the universe should quake.
Haste to me, Lord, when this fool-heart of mine
Begins to gnaw itself with selfish craving;
Or, like a foul thing scarcely worth the saving,
Swoln up with wrath, desireth vengeance fine.
Haste, Lord, to help, when reason favours wrong;
Haste when thy soul, the high-born thing divine,
Is torn by passion's raving, maniac throng.
Afresh I seek thee. Lead me—once more I pray—
Even should it be against my will, thy way.
Let me not feel thee foreign any hour,
Or shrink from thee as an estranged power.
Through doubt, through faith, through bliss, through stark dismay,
Through sunshine, wind, or snow, or fog, or shower,
Draw me to thee who art my only day.
O Christ, my life, possess me utterly.
Take me and make a little Christ of me.
If I am anything but thy father's son,
'Tis something not yet from the darkness won.
Oh, give me light to live with open eyes.
Oh, give me life to hope above all skies.
Give me thy spirit to haunt the Father with my cries.
If these lines resonate with you, I have good news! While I can't easily find you a beautifully yellowed copy of The Diary of an Old Soul printed in 1927, the book is readily available in other forms. For free, you can download it at Project Gutenberg. You can also find it in several formats (including Kindle!) at Amazon.