“We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is not restriction in our
affections, but only in yours. In return – I speak as to children – open wide your hearts also.” (2 Corinthians 6:11-13)
I give you the end of a golden string;
Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate,
Built in Jerusalem’s wall.
William Stafford often quoted these poetic lines by William Blake when he described his own writing process
as a poet. Stafford believed that any detail, set to language, becomes the end of a golden string — the sound of
a barking dog, the memory of your mother’s hands, the crack of a tree branch. These details will lead you to
Heaven’s gate – which might take the form of a beautiful poem – if you are open to following that golden string.
The stance of the poet must be one of openness. He or she is to be susceptible and ready. There can be no
preconceived notions. The writer is not to impose his or her ideas on the poem, but simply follow the
This is beautiful wisdom for us as followers of Christ, too. Paul speaks of his openness to the Corinthians.
He meets them where and as they are, with no expectations, no restricted affection. Such openness is a stance
of love, and a position of trust. These people might lead you to Heaven’s gate. One never knows. But only if we
are open will we be able to discover the gold they have to offer.
Examine: Recall a moment in your life when you felt stuck, unable to discern what to do or what
direction to go. Breathe. Notice thoughts and feelings that arise.
Imagine: Imagine you are out for a walk and discover a golden string on the ground. Pick up the string and follow
it carefully. Don’t pull or tug on the string, just wind it in a ball as you follow. Notice where the string is leading
you. Pay attention. Breathe and let go of all your expectations. What do you discover?
Pray: Free me for love, O God, so I can live with heart.