The following poem was inspired by a dear friend in Moscow, Valentin, whom I met in the early ‘90s on my second trip to the former Soviet Union. He was an invalid from the age of seventeen due to juvenile arthritis, a very debilitating disease that left him paralyzed from the waist down and, therefore, bedridden. In spite of the turmoil and suffering (or perhaps because of it) Valentin developed a refined sensitivity to the feelings of others and was a man of deep thought. 

Valentin would often say to me, “Let love decide.” This phrase had meaning on several levels, but I ultimately decided to write the poem using Love for the person of God.



“Let love decide,” he said.

And so to Love I bade, “Speak to me

In deepest rest.”


The best of what we are, we have,

We owe to Love and not ourselves.

Lest in our foolishness we think

We are “I am.”


Oh, yes, to Love I bade,

“Suffer me to come to you on quiet knees,

With long-held breath.


“And show me where my heart is set to go,

That I may wander not to places sealed against

The night. But journey in your sight without a care

Amongst the lilies of the field.”

Barbara Van Driel