Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Wild Geese", a Poem by Mary Oliver

In her poem "When Death Comes" Mary Oliver says:

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

A friend of mine, one of the most giving people I know, suffered yet another tragedy in her life a few days ago. She awoke to find her husband of 27 years lying dead on their bedroom floor. The hardships this woman has suffered in the last year are numerous.  She deserves so much more.

The poem in the video is also by Mary Oliver, "Wild Geese". It acknowledges that we all have hardship. We all feel lonely at times. And when we do we don't have to be anything. Just be. Feel what you feel and share what you feel but also don't forget the world goes on and has much to offer.

I used to get angry when someone would say "Well, life goes on" and shrug off whatever was upsetting me. But you know what? It does. The world keeps turning.  The sun rises and falls. My children still count on me and need me. The bills still have to be paid and the cat still has to be fed. The world doesn't stop because of some turmoil in my life. And really, how big is that turmoil anyway?

I didn't wake up to find my loved one lying on the floor dead this morning. I didn't get a phone call about my daughter who's been having strange symptoms for a few weeks, advising me that she's paralyzed. I didn't get a phone call that the Haitian girl I've been trying to adopt so she can get proper medical care has died of pneumonia. I didn't spend a month in the hospital with unbearable pain the doctors couldn't diagnose. Or have to go back in the hospital due to complications from surgery on my esophagus for damage caused by chronic reflux. Or get news from my doctor that I need heart surgery as soon as possible because my left ventricle is barely functioning. All of these things have happened to my friend in the last several months, not even a year.  And you know what? The world goes on.

But you know what else? There are people in that world that care. And that world has beauty to offer her if she takes the time to look. Thank God she does or I don't know how she would have gotten through these months. In her dark time
"the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

"Married to amazement" - yes! 

"A bridegroom taking the world into my arms" - yes!

When I'm gone, I want my children to remember me as someone who didn't let the difficulties of life cloud my view of the world. I want them to remember me as someone who always saw the beauty of life no matter what it was throwing at me. 

So, I leave you with a light look at the rain that falls and facing it with humor and perspective. A classic song in a classic movie with a guy who is one the greatest actors ever who also happened to be a really great human being. Enjoy, my friends. 

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