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Somebody Loves Us All

Assistant editor Daniel Kessel shares a poem that brought him unexpected comfort.

Assistant editor Daniel Kessel

Today’s guest blogger is assistant editor Daniel Kessel.

“Somebody loves us all.” The words popped into my head a couple of weeks ago as I stood in the office kitchen, waiting for my coffee to brew.

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It’s a line from a poem I’d read in high school called “Filling Station,” by Elizabeth Bishop. All these years later, I still haven’t forgotten it.

The first few lines of the poem, "Filling Station," by Eizabeth BishopThe narrator in the poem describes a filthy gas station, oil-spills and grease-stains everywhere. But in a corner, she notices one bright spot: a pleasant little table covered with a flower-embroidered doily. Who on earth put the doily there? Who embroidered it?

She doesn’t know, but in this one decoration she sees a symbol of the love that permeates every aspect of our lives–even the darkest parts.

That kind of reassurance was exactly what my family and I needed this past month. Just after Labor Day, one of my aunts suffered a massive stroke at only 42 years old. She’s been in the hospital ever since, making a slow but steady recovery.

I’ve been praying with my family and have also enlisted the help of my fellow prayer warriors at Guideposts’ Monday morning prayer fellowship meetings. I know the power that faith can have in the healing process, but I still couldn’t help but wonder–were all those prayers even working?

Maybe that’s why I was mulling over poetry in the middle of the afternoon. I glanced around the kitchen. On the counters were boxes filled with different coffee and tea options, the containers arranged in a neat little row. There were cartons of milk in the fridge. Ice in the freezer. Little red drink stirrers in a cup on the counter.

Our editorial assistant, T.J., had taken time from her busy day to keep our kitchen tidy–a small touch that made a big difference, just like the bright little table in Bishop’s poem. “Somebody loves us all,” indeed! I felt refreshed as I walked back to my desk, a warm cup of coffee in my hand.

The next day I checked my email and opened up the Poetry Foundation’s “Poem of the Day” newsletter. Would you believe that day’s featured poem?

Elizabeth Bishop’s “Filling Station.”I read the poem’s final line again, feeling certain that my thoughts and prayers were being heard–by somebody who loves us all.

Has a poem, song, or Bible verse ever come to you just when you needed it? Share your story with us.

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