“fear and relief from fear,”
a momentary calmness in the midst of churning waters
a gulp of air before diving again below the surface.
too much power relinquished to those who accept and approve,
too little owning of inner authority.
temporary respite from striving to achieve,
a brief release before working toward the next requirement,
the next vote,
the next performance review,
the next awful anxiety.
Embrace, with open arms, all abandonment, all rejection, all failure – once and for all.
Instead, I continue to bargain:
and I will work to achieve much for you
that you may approve of me!
Such indentured servanthood, such self-sold slavery!
I try to make the same deal with God, but God refuses to make that bargain.
Acceptance and approval and much, much more –
are already given, and God scoffs at my efforts to achieve.
Degrees and diplomas, certificates and resumes, lie torn and trampled,
stinking in the waste,
the used-up, no-longer-needed garbage of my life.
 from “The Glittering Noise” by Denise Levertov