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Inside Out: Advent Week One

child stacking brightly colored blocks the way that I wish I could stack my joys

Do you ever feel like you’re inside out? Or like the world is?

This Advent, I’d like to explore the theme of “light in the midst of darkness.” So I begin with this old poem and will continue next week with a reflection on the last two lines. Then … well, we’ll just see what happens after that. (Because right now, I have no idea what I’m going to write!)

Inside Out

or A Soul’s Preparation

I would like

to have grown

from the inside out,

To know myself,

with eyes closed,

before I explored

the external world

of color, shape, and sound;

To learn, internally,

to hold and release

my anger and grief

before my fists were formed.

As a baby, I instinctively


the brightly colored toys,

and my hands learned

to handle.

I would rather have learned

to stack my joys

into a castle precarious,


and when it falls,

to laugh and rebuild.

It seems to me

that we have all grown from

the outside in,

and our construction

has suffered from it.

For think how easy it is to see a light

in the midst of darkness,

And yet how difficult to see a hope

in the midst of despair.

© 2021 Christina Chase

original poem © 1996

Feature Photo by La-Rel Easter on Unsplash

Christina Chase View All

Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.

2 thoughts on “Inside Out: Advent Week One Leave a comment

  1. Dear Christina,

    Thank you for this poem. I attach a recent ‘villanelle’ I have written, because in the final stanza I allude to my own ‘despair’ that Our Lady rescued me from, on the Feast of her Immaculate Conception in 1984.

    I would like to ask your prayers for two important things: I hope to do an all-night vigil at our church in preparation for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception next Wednesday. Please pray that it will be fruitful and that God will answer my prayers for the spiritual ‘rebirth’ of our parish/parish church. The other prayer request is that parishioners at our church will go to Confession this coming Sunday, the 2nd Sunday in Advent, when our pp is making it available. I asked him to do this but he is very pessimistic that people will come. He tells me it is ‘a dying Sacrament’. I can’t bear the thought that this may be true – although the UK is largely a spiritual desert these days, I feel we must light candles in the darkness. If people come to Confession, he will make the Sacrament more available; if they don’t, I fear he won’t.

    I don’t write book reviews any more (remember, I blogged about your book and interviewed you, for the Catholic Herald some time ago.)

    God bless, and Advent prayers, from Francis


    • I have prayed for your intention, Francis, that people will take advantage of the Sacrament of Concession today, and experience the healing joy of it! I need to avail myself more often of this sacrament. Sacraments can’t die, of course! But we definitely can become blind and lose sight of what’s important and valuable. Your parish and parishioners are in my prayers, as are you and your family.
      Pax Christi


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