Edwina Gateley, There Was No Path, So I Trod One (Gateley Publications, 2013), 121pp.
This collection of eighty poems, which was first published in 1996 and then again in 2000, includes one of my favorite poems of all time. It's called Let Your God Love You.
Before your God.
Let your God look upon you.
That is all.
God loves you
With an enormous love,
And only wants
To look upon you
With that love.
Many of us work very earnestly to know, love and serve God. In the poem Small Deeps Gateley counts the ways — the holy places, books, rules, regulations, rites, rituals, etc. But like many of our wisest mystics, Gateley points us to the reality that God is always and has always been near us and in us. Our invitation is not to work harder but to listen more carefully, to cultivate awareness and recognition. Tillich called it accepting that your're accepted. Nouwen described it as the life of the beloved.
Gateley's mystic bent is tempered by the harsh realities of her ministry among the homeless, prostitutes and pimps of Chicago (which has won numerous awards). And so there are poems here to honor the memory of these loved but lost people. Today Gateley continues to write (she's published a dozen books), lead retreats for abused and marginalized women, and serve as a "Mother Spirit" for Exodus, a program in Chicago for women in the second phase of recovery from prostitution. She also speaks and leads retreats internationally.