Thank God for those who contribute to the pages of life’s instruction manual. Poet, Mary Oliver, who recently passed from life to Life, was one of them. In the three simple sentences above, she gave us a nutshell guide to living. This quote is one of my favorites from the woman who not only shared her own observations and words in a deep and beautiful way, but also teaches us the power of doing the same. This is the core of what we do here at Writing Life. It is what Mary calls us all to do. I believe it what Life calls us to do, too.
When we pay attention and give value to the everyday things we are blessed to see, hear, touch, eat, drink and to the people we encounter, each of these becomes bigger, more important, more greatly appreciated. Gratitude, recognizing the good fortune in every good thing, is the door to astonishment. And telling about it is how we stay grounded in this way of being, and how we remind ourselves and one another to see the gifts that lie before us every day. When we base ourselves in this way of living, this noticing and appreciating, we stand on a foundation that allows us to live more fully and more joyfully. Don’t we all need more of that?
“It doesn’t have to be blue iris. It can be weeds in a vacant lot, or a few small stones; just pay attention, then patch a few words together and don’t try to make them elaborate. This isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks, and a silence in which another voice may speak.” Mary Oliver wrote this about praying, but I think it applies to living, too. Taking a moment and putting into words what we see, feel and experience gives each thing its due significance. It reminds us that every gift matters. I suppose every hardship does, too.
Today, I dwell on the words of a poet woman whose instruction for living matters. Put words to your life, whether you consider yourself a writer or not. Put words to your experiences, even if only in your own mind, or whispered in gracious Thanksgiving to the One who provides them. In this way and others, we are all writing the pages of our lives, day by day and page by page.
Today, I will notice more of what I encounter and my long list of things for which I am grateful will include this woman who taught us that poetry, like the pages of our lives, can be simple and yet profound, a guiding force. Blessed are those who share who they are and how they do this thing called life, even as they stumble through it. They give us beautiful handrails to help us as we stumble, too.
Peace, love and gratitude, Underdogs!