by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894)
Christina Rossetti was an Anglican Christian, who, after E. B. Browning's death, became England's most prominent poet, though today, in our modern/post-modern era she is largely overlooked. (Many modern anthologies of 19th century English poets do not contain or mention her works.)
Rossetti, like so many whose writings touch our souls deeply, suffered greatly, enduring long periods of melancholy, probably due to the fact that she was abused as a child, or so her biographers believe. Her road, in actual fact, wound uphill "the whole long day."
Yet her faith in God seldom wavered and in her final years Rossetti turned her pain into great good, writing and publishing her most compelling devotional and children's poetry and serving as a volunteer in a home in London for under-age prostitutes.
The structure of her poem, "Uphill," lends poignancy to its over-all appeal. Her questions lie buried deep in our own thoughts. Someone answers with authority and assurance.
Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.
But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow, dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.
Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you waiting at that door.
Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.
It's sometimes said, when old, that we're "over the hill," with the inference that everything now is downhill. I find aging to be just the opposite, however: the road winds uphill all the way and the steepest slopes may lay ahead. Old age does not necessarily bring respite and repose, but greater toil and effort "the whole long day"-'til night closes in.
But is there for the night a resting place?
There is a roof for when the slow, dark hours begin, for Jesus has promised, "I go to prepare a place for you." (If it were not so he would have told us.)
May not the darkness hide this place?
No, for Jesus has shown us the way to our Father's house. We cannot miss that inn.
Shall we meet other wayfarers at night?
Yes. Those who have gone before will be waiting for us there. The Lord has given and taken them away, but he will give them to us again, better, wiser, stronger, more beautiful than ever before.
Then must we knock or call when we're in sight?
No, Love, like the Prodigal's father, will rush to embrace us and bring us in from the night.
Shall we find comfort there, travel sore and weak?
Without a doubt, "the weary traveler will be welcomed home and will find rest there."
Will there be beds for me, and all who seek?
Certainly, for our Lord has promised: "In My Father's house there are many places to dwell." All are welcome there where every comfort that Love can give awaits them.
"And you know the way..." Jesus said...
 Read John 14:1-6