This poem makes me think of my mother and father, who, from my vantage point, seem to spend most of their time doing good things for others. Need sixty pounds of stuffing for the Octoberfeast? Sure. Need a ride to your dentist appointment sixty miles away? No problem. All-day help in the homeless shelter kitchen every third Wednesday? Of course. A listening ear in a time of sadness? They are there. They are there, they are there, they are there. Some people write checks and then there are the people like my parents, who wade in knee deep to fill the plates and then wash the plates, brew the coffee and then pour the coffee, welcome the new babies, slip a $20 in their graduation cards eighteen years later, and stand in line in dark clothes to say goodbye when the time comes. We are all headed to the same place; may as well name it Jerusalem, or Mecca, or the meaning-of-a-life-whatever-that-may-be, and make those steps count.
Walking to Jerusalem
– Philip Terman
Pedometer attached to her belt, your mother, spry and strong
at eighty, joins the other Methodist Church members
in calculating the 5,915 miles, no matter the weather, to add up
all the way from Linesville, Pennsylvania to Jerusalem.
They need not worry about miracles or pausing
at the signs of the cross. They need not stop for security
to check their purses for weapons. They need no visa
nor baggage, no money to exchange for shekels, no guide-
book, no guide. They need no ancient tongue or prophecies.
They are, simply, day by day, walking, mile after mile:
the sink to the table, uptown to the post office, down
the block to visit the sick neighbor. Sundays to and from church.
And when they walk far enough, adding up their pedometers
together, they will arrive in Jerusalem. And keep walking.
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