This poem crossed my desk today. It reminds me that, whatever we do for God, some of it will pass away, some of it will endure, and some of it will come back to bless us. We can never be sure. We only perform our labors of love because we were made to do so, and must carry them out, regardless of the results.
Shu Ting (a pseudonym) is a contemporary, female Chinese poet who entered the Cultural Revolution as a teenager, worked in factories for several years, and then went on to become renowned in Chinese literary circles.
Perhaps these thoughts of ours
will never find an audience
Perhaps the mistaken road
will end in a mistake
Perhaps the lamps we light one at a time
will be blown out, one at a time
Perhaps the candles of our lives will gutter out
without lighting a fire to warm us.
Perhaps when all the tears have been shed
the earth will be more fertile
Perhaps when we sing praises to the sun
the sun will praise us in return
Perhaps these heavy burdens
will strengthen our philosophy
Perhaps when we weep for those in misery
we must be silent about miseries of our own
Because of our irresistible sense of mission
We have no choice
~ Shu Ting ~
(Translated by K. Kizer in Cool, Calm & Collected)