Are you in love with your life?
Part of it or even all of it?
Your work, your hobbies, your volunteering, your adulting…
Do you wake up each morning excited to get started on the life you’ve built?
This poem by Mary Oliver always brings these questions to mind for me.
At first, her words are challenging… and, truth be told… exhausting. I mean who can really be married to amazement every moment of every day? Who can get up out of bed each day, arms wide open and ready to embrace the world?
I for sure can’t.
There are days that feel less than amazing for sure. There are things that challenge me and leave me frustrated. There are things going on in my world and in the world that bring grief and heartache.
So sometimes I want to push this poem aside as too aspirational for daily living in the world.
But maybe I’m reading it wrong.
Maybe Mary Oliver wasn’t talking about the daily grind but instead the total picture of her life.
Maybe these words were aspirational, a reminder of what to strive for…. Maybe she did what I often do… wrote the words down as if they could change her own life and her own perspective once they were upon the page.
I certainly see one particular line as aspirational for me. I need to type it out again and again to make the words seep into me:
“I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument.”
Yesterday, in a retreat small group, I found myself saying that the most I want to give my kids is a life they will love… maybe not each and every day (because that’s far from realistic) but the totality of it.
To do that, I know they have to see me as a model of someone who loves their own life… not every moment of every day because that might not be… honest. But instead someone who strives to love the totality of her life… someone who notes the sighs or the fears or the arguments inside of her and does something to change them.
I want them to see that I don’t rest in the disquiet but instead search for the kind of life that goes all in… the kind of life that one can love.