Walk with me

“Jerusalem” donkeys live in a pasture near my home. They are so named for the cross formed by black stripes across their shoulders and down their backs. The donkey is a symbol of peace, for they are peaceable creatures, although farmers know they will protect livestock by driving away coyotes.

The donkey currently plays a significant role around the world with the observance of Palm Sunday and Holy Week. The Gospels of Matthew and John both proclaim the fulfilling of Zechariah’s prophecy that the Messiah would come to Jerusalem humbly, riding the foal, or colt, of a donkey. In Mark and Luke, Jesus directs his disciples to a colt “on which no one has yet sat.” Only Matthew records that the unbroken colt doesn’t come on this mission alone: Its mother walks alongside as it carries Jesus through the shouting crowds in the streets of Jerusalem.

It is the image of the mother walking beside her colt—her child—as a calming presence amid chaos, as a needed coach in fulfilling the sacred duty, that suddenly pierced my heart and inspired today’s post.

 

Walk with Me

My world is confined

to the home that I know

until strangers come

to lead me away

—please, will you come with me,

walk with me?

I know not the destination

only that it’s far

beyond what I can see

and I can’t go it alone

I need you by me,

to walk with me.

The crowds, the fervor,

what can it all mean

 but that I’m not safe

in this place of screams

don’t leave me now!

Just walk with me.

Such heavy burdens in this

untamed human world

some worthy, some not.

What’s the difference?

—Show me, I am watching you

walk with me.

A step and a step and a step

at a time,

I find I can carry on

as long as you are here

—because you don’t fear

to walk with me.

It is new to me, 

my burden; but it is light

despite the shadows

you are at peace

—and so am I

for you walk with me.

I know, somehow,

you’ll see me home

when this day, these cries,

this purpose, are done

—so walk with me

walk with me

keep me ever close 

and

walk with me.

Jerusalem donkeys

Mother & baby Jerusalem donkeys. Barbara BresnahanCC BY-SA

16 thoughts on “Walk with me

  1. “Critical mass”–the number of people you can relate with in a space that make you feel comfortable and safe. Sometimes it just takes one–Ruth Bader Ginsburg did that for Sandra Day O’Connor. Mothers act as critical mass to their babes, guiding and protecting. A lovely perspective on these high Holy Days.

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    • Thank you, Chris. “Critical mass” – what a fascinating response! I found it especially poignant that the mother was allowed – requested, even – to walk beside her colt. I wonder how frightened the colt must have been. How beautiful that the mother was there to lend the familiar sense of calm and safety. This really struck me on multiple levels. The power of relationships…

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  2. What a powerful image of loving care and tender guidance. I never really considered the role of the donkey in scripture and her comforting force. Thank you for sharing. – Krista

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  3. Wow, I’ve read and reread this several times. It tugs at my heart. I think of the mother but I also can read it as a prayer asking God to walk with me when I’m doing something new. Thank you for your gift.

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    • Thank you 🙂 As I wrote, I had a sense of many situations and relationships beyond mother and child being drawn into it. I even thought of children starting school and the teacher as the comforting, guiding presence. Or a coach with a teacher … the ripples of the idea kept widening. I especially appreciate your interpretation of it as a prayer. I see and sense that, too – especially at the closing. Again – thank you!

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  4. I too have read this several times and each time I read these words I think with a different perspective of who to walk with whom. Each perspective brings such a deeper understanding of the beauty of these words.
    As I enter into Holy Week I will carry these beautiful words with me and imagine a companion walking at my side.
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so glad you point out different perspectives of “who walks with whom” – although I didn’t start out writing the poem that way, that is what it became. It can encompass so many relationships. The necessity and beauty of that comforting presence, just when we need it most to navigate the uncertainties of life … thank you, Christine. 🙂

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  5. So many layers here – donkey, mother, Jesus all spring to mind. What a beautiful contemplation of support, and a wonderful discovery in the Gospels. Thank you for these words that will stay with me during Holy Week and beyond.

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    • Thank you, Amanda. I think what strikes me most is that Jesus might have calmed the colt, but instead he brought its mother along to comfort it – as he knowingly rode toward his own destiny. Profoundly beautiful and poignant to me. Joy to you 🙂

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  6. What a beautiful picture at the end. No wonder you were inspired to write that soothing poem. I could hear a mother’s reassuring voice throughout. It reminded me of a gospel song, “Never alone” “I don’t have to worry cause I’m never alone, for you walk beside me…” I like the use of repetition of the “Walk with me” I see you walking as the poem progresses.
    Happy Easter, Fran!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lovely connection to the song, Colleen! Thank you for your words. I wanted a better picture of the donkeys that live around the corner from me – they look just like the ones at the end of the post. They lift my spirits, just seeing them. I always think of that colt and its sacred duty that long-ago day. Happy Easter to you also!

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  7. Such a powerful, beautiful poem! Palm Sunday is one of my favorite services at church, yet I had never stopped to think about the donkeys and the role of comfort. I read your poem several times and was struck with the repetition of “Walk With Me.” I am printing this one off to reread as I reread scripture this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Trina; I am happy to know you found the poem so meaningful. I found those two verses in Matthew, where the mother is requested along with her colt, to be so moving; I have a study note about it likely being to keep the colt calm in the noise of the crowds. To me this speaks of many things – compassion, provision, love – the colt did not have to come frightened and alone to carry Jesus toward his ultimate destination. Cuts right through me. Easter joy to you. 🙂

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