My work is loving the world… Mary Oliver


icy-leavesAnd I quote,

Okay. Okay. I’m breathing again. Send me your address ASAP.”
Allison–High School Principle, former student and one of my most memorable Teaching Assistants

And not 24 hours later Allison’s favorite collection of poems by Mary Oliver arrived on my doorstep. Thank you Allison, for introducing me to this wonderful poet. My work is loving the world, Oliver says.  That friend speaks my mind, as we say in my Quaker church.  How else can I love God except to love what God loves?  What better time to practice at standing still and learning to be astonished than in these long nights and short days awaiting winter? And in times of fear and sadness?

Beauty and sadness commingle together.  Our small town is grieving the loss of life and a gathering place by a fire this morning at Critter Cabana, our local pet store. Love embracing the sadness is well documented by Beth Woolsey , blogger of “Five Kids is a Lot of Kids” (her blog is worth following). And the greater Portland area grieves a shooting at a shopping mall earlier this week where three people died. I’d like to think it makes us all pause and reflect more deeply about what we love and treasure, and how we could love the world better.

Juniper, my 2 1/2 year old granddaugter, greets me with enthusiasm and hugs and wants to walk in the woods when she comes to Fern Creek.  Last time she wanted me to carry her because she didn’t like the leaves. I think the magnitude of them overwhelmed her, or maybe the possibility that her feet might get swallowed up by damp leaves that hide things both living and dying.  I carried her and described the soft cushion of leaves under my feet as we waded through the woods.  Later, when she wanted to go again I said she’d have to walk this time, and she said, “the leaves are nice.  I like to walk on them.”

May I turn like Juniper, leaning toward love and away from fear.

My work is to love the world.  It seems a doable task, after all, and maybe even simplifies some of my choices.



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