This morning during my quiet, meditating time, I rediscovered poet Mary Oliver, an American treasure. I was late – I had charged myself with finally completing the dreaded “elevator pitch” for my next book, Finding Grace: journeys of grief, courage and healing. I needed some centering time before I tackled the pitch, one more time, with its required 25-words-or-less limits necessary to summarize years of work. It was then “The Journey” jumped into my lap.
Never meant as a book keynote, this eloquent poem inadvertently and magically recaps the very essence of Finding Grace. It speaks to the hard-won surrender we experience if we’re to leave behind what has been harmful to us and move forward into a new life path – to save ourselves into new realities, beyond grief.
I offer you a portion of Mary Oliver’s “The Journey” – courageous directions for listening to a grace call during troubled times.
“One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice - - . . . 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 their melancholy was terrible. . . . 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.”
Let gracious voices keep you company as you journey toward saving yourself - whether during joyous or troublesome times.