Monday, December 27, 2010

"Married to Amazement"

I found this poem on Everyday Epiphanies
and am taking the liberty of stealing it in honor of the new year.

Who doesn't want to start the new year by stealing something good?

In the past year, I have settled my feet on the ground in NY, after 3 years in Congo. For my husband and I, coming back to this country, in the midst of an "economic downturn" with no money under our belts and no jobs lined up, was not exactly a prudent move. Let's just say the health insurance debates, and unemployment statistics, were very real to us.

But this year I have been amazed.

Somehow, in the midst of it all, I have been able to continue working with the SHONA women. And they have astounded me with their strength and commitment. For over a year, they have plugged away, month after month, making good decisions when bad ones would have been so much easier. Being reliable, despite the fact that nothing in Congo is reliable.

I have been amazed at my students and friends here in the US, adults who dearly want to learn English, and who daily count this country as a blessing. Too many of them celebrate Christmas far from their own families, and unable to visit. They work in the back of restaurants on Christmas Eve and ride bicycles in the midst of a blizzard to deliver food. They are an honor to teach and to live beside.

And I shake my head.
At the inexplicable blessings on my own table.
And how quickly I grow accustomed to them.

As this poem says,
I want to live my life "married to amazement",
because truly this life calls for it.

When Death Comes

by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;

when death comes
like the measles-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,

and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

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

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

I'm so glad you stole it - as I did myself before you! Happy New Year. :)