Oh, we had a terrible time of it, there’s no doubt about it.
They were the worst years of our lives.
Never mind the tales of heroics in the desert.
It was hell and we all just barely made it.
One day or another, every one of us lost our way,
our self-assurance, our hope— and also our parents.
Don’t you believe a word you hear from the cocky ones
about self-reliance. They withered with the rest of us.

No, here’s the truth, that we could hardly comprehend
then, and can scarcely believe now: there wasn’t one of us
in that wilderness that didn’t survive on manna.
Every day, out of the blue, there it was. We lived on
mystery. We never did get used to leaving
each place where we’d found it, nor seeing it again
wherever we ended up. Troubles came and went,
but what was constant was the gift.

Divisions between strong and weak,
deserving and undeserving,— these are lies, made up
by minds too small and hearts too fearful to grasp
that everything is a gift.

Look around you, child:
your house, your work, your struggles,
your dreams, the air you breathe. It doesn’t matter
how hard you worked for them. You don’t really know
where they came from, do you?
It’s easy to miss now, because it looks like other things.
But it’s all manna, I’m telling you.
It’s all manna.

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