“Dig deep,” said the Master.

      “In the dirt?” I asked, wrinkling my nose.

            “Dig deep.”

So I dug up the dirt with shovel and hoe

      and found richness in the darkness of it

            and nourishment for the fruit I would bear.

                  And I was thankful.


“Dig deeper,” said the Master.

      “Through this hard rock?” I asked, stretching my aching back.

            “Dig deeper.”

So I dug at the rock with chisel and axe

      and found diamonds in the hardness of it

            and gold to buy what I needed.

                  And I was thankful.


“Dig deeper,” said the Master.

      “What more can there be?” I asked, soothing my blistered hands.

            “Dig deeper.”

So I broke through the rock and found a cave

      and I was blind in the darkness of it

            and alone with myself in the silence of it.

                  And I was afraid.


“Dig deeper,” said the Master.

      “But I cannot see!” I whined, cradling the treasures I already had.

            “Dig deeper.”

So I dropped to my knees and felt sand

      and dug with my fingers in the coolness of it

            and pulled it away from the center of the cave.

                  And I was perplexed.


And the Master was silent

      and the cave was quiet

            but I kept digging.

And the sand became firmer and the sand became mud

      and it oozed and was slimy —

      And I cringed at the feel of it

            and watered it more with my tears.

                  And I was disheartened.


And the Master was silent

      and the cave was quiet

            and I wept as I crawled through the mud.

I knew not what to do

      but I could not turn back

            So I kept on digging.

                  And I knew I was forsaken.


I heard a faint sound like a tinkle

      and the mud became squishy and wet

            and the sound grew to a trickle,

                  a gurgle — and louder, a sound of  movement.

And the mud gave way to a spring

      that bubbled up from the center

      and I heard the music of it

            and felt the healing of it

                  and drank life from it.


And the spring became a river and bore me along

      Out of the dark silence of the cave

            breaking forth into the brightness and music

                  of the dawning of hope — into

      the inexpressible beauty of Light,

            the unspeakable joy of Love,

                  the unshakable security of God’s Faithfulness,

      where the Master welcomed me

            with open arms.

                  And I knew I was Home.



© 1996


About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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One Response to Digging

  1. Frank Ober says:

    WoW! what a journey. I like the metaphor. And the trust to continue when you heard no direction. Reminds me of Mother Theresa during the period when she felt no connection with God but kept on knowing that what she was doing was “right.” Frank

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