A final poem by Rumi.
Joseph is back.
And if you don’t feel yourself
in the freshness of Joseph,
Weep, and then smile.
Do not pretend to know something
you have not experienced.
There is a necessary dying,
and the Jesus is breathing again.
Very little grows on jagged rock.
Be ground. Be crumbled,
so wildflowers will come up
where you are.
You have been stony for too many years.
Try something different. Surrender.
Again we hear about Joesph, a beloved figure in Rumi’s iconography and this time we are be able to place him in the Judeo-Christian tradition, along with Jacob and Jesus. It’s easy to forget that Sufism, and its parent religion, Islam, also honor the Hebrew scriptures, since they are one of the world’s three monotheistic religions. In this Easter season, Rumi’s references to Jesus are as welcome as they are surprising and with his outsider’s lens, we are able to see Jesus’ actions anew.
I read and reread the last two stanzas over and over again. We are invited to imitate, not just celebrate the universal pattern of death and resurrection.
It is so easy to remain stony, jagged ground. That is precisely what we have been taught: to defend what is ours, to protect what we have earned, to get what we “deserve,” to eliminate discomfort, to cultivate only the seeds we have planted.
But that was not Jesus’ message – not the one he taught, nor the one he exemplified with his life. He surrendered and became fertile ground. Wildflowers were his harvest, along with mustard trees, vineyards, wheat and weeds.
I want to have the courage to “be crumbled” as he was and poetry like this helps me remember that wanting. Without it, I become stony and jagged again.