Pathway Poem #19

I lead a contemplative class on Sunday mornings. This week, one reading we had was from Mary Oliver’s Thirst.

Praying

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could 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

One of the most impressive prayers I have ever heard was voiced in 1971 when I was leading a youth group in El Sobrante, California. A teenager had joined our group (and church) a few weeks before. One night after church the young people met in a member’s home. At one point, I had invited the young people to voice their own prayers to God. Several did. Then toward this end, I heard the soft voice of this young man pray. He simply said, “Thank You.” I have never forgotten that beautiful two word prayer.

Mary Oliver asks us to do three things. First, pay attention to life. Second, voice thanks to the creator of life. Third, sit in silence to perhaps hear another voice respond. This is a good pattern for a contemplative life.

croaking frogs
chittering birds
Creator listens

May wisdom fill your mind and peace overflow in your heart,
LaMon

As always fill free to share this blog with your friends and encourage them to follow it as well.

Reflection on Ageing

I am in the L’s of my poetry books, so here is one by Thomas Lynch, a poetry-writing funeral director. My favorite poem by him is almost 40 lines and a little long for my blog. It is called “Local Heroes”. Perhaps you can find it online or purchase the book from which that poem and today’s is found, i.e. Walking Papers, published by W. W. Norton and Company.

Refusing at Fifty-two to Write Sonnets

It came to him that he could nearly count
How many Octobers he had left to him
In increments of ten or, say, eleven
Thus: sixty-three, seventy-four, eighty-five.
He couldn’t see himself at ninety-six–
Humanity’s advances not withstanding
In health, self-help, or New Age regimens–
What with his habits and family history,
The end he thought is nearer than you think.

The future, thus confined to its contingencies,
The present moment opens like a gift:
The balding month, the grey week, the blue morning,
The hour’s routine, the minute’s passing glance–
All seem like godsends now. And what to make of this?
At the end the word that comes to him is Thanks.

I am almost 75. I was diagnoses some 14 years ago with ALS. After a bout of serious depression, I turned to writing a thanksgiving list of people, places, events (major and minor) for which I was and remain thankful. The depression lifted–most days. 2 years later I was told that the ALS was gone, never to return! It was a wonderful day.

I am not thankful that I had ALS, but I am thankful that I learned the importance of thanksgiving. I continue to keep the list up, but I confess, more sporadically.

However just this last week, I read something about a library or a librarian. My thoughts wandered back to my childhood. I remembered discovering the Albertville Library–then located downtown. It was there that I fell in love with reading. So, I added that experience to my thanksgiving list.

I always feel closer to God or the divine whenever I am thankful. It is a wonderful pathway.

bluebird
nibbling at our feeders
thankful

As always feel free to share with a friend–and be thankful for those you have! Peace, LaMon