Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Musings from Mary Oliver

Hello, all! Welcome to my blog.

To those who know me, it is no surprise to hear that the past four months of my life have been incredibly difficult. I have battled depressive episodes, a lack of vision, and an overall feeling of loneliness. I have no doubt that I will be tempted to endure many of these seasons in has proven that once you've experienced one bout of depression, it is very likely that you will again. And let's face it, we all know someone who is constantly plagued with these battles.

I refuse to be one of those people, though. I am slowly but surely scraping my way out of the Chasm of Misdirection and Loneliness. I am taking steps in the right direction. I am making my way to some sort of starting point. (Some would argue that I'm already at the starting point). I look forward to being able to look back on my 23rd year of living and saying, "Man, that was a painful time in my life. But you know what? I am so much stronger because of it." Sounds cheesy, yes, but it also incredibly relevant to anyone you meet...try and ask someone if you don't believe me.

So what does one do when they are feeling down? When they have cried their eyes out, or even worse, are so numb that they are unable to cry in the first place?

I myself am a big prayer, and I would encourage you to try it if you haven't before. To me, there is no relief like feeling the Lord's arms around my body. The cold breeze I always sense when I am deep in prayer, seeking the Lord and asking the Holy Spirit for his direction.

Poetry is also a grand way to gain some relief. I've always enjoyed reading poetry, but I never fully appreciated it's purpose and power until now.

Recently, a dear friend of mine handed me two books of poetry (whose titles escape me, I apologize) by Pulitzer Price-winning poet, Mary Oliver. Visible from the top of the books were fragments of neon-colored Post-It notes; my friend had selected poems that she felt would be encouraging to me (what an awesome friend, eh?). You will find these poems below. Most of them are just a few highlighted stanzas, but one of them, The Journey, is the full text.

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
(final stanza)

Whoever you are, not matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh
and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Humpbacks by Mary Oliver
(final verse)

Listen, whatever it is you try
to do with your life, nothing will
ever dazzle you like the dreams 
of your body,

its spirit
longing to fly with the dead-weight bones

toss their dark mane and hurry
back into the fields of glittering fire

where everything,
even the great whale,
throbs with song.

The Journey by Mary Oliver
(full text)

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice-
though the whole house
began to tremble 
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though the melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds, 
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world, 
determined to do
the only thing you could do-
determined to save
the only life you could save.

I hope these encourage and inspire you as they did me. Thank you for reading this post. Not all of my updates will be this deep, but it's always good to hit the ground running, and I hope that this lifted your spirits.

Have an absolutely wonderful day.

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