To Instruct Myself Over and Over in Joy
“Every day,” says Mary Oliver, “I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight.”
For me, late one night, it was seeing a full moon through the latticework of winter-stripped trees. I don’t know what it will be today. But I do know that keeping my eyes and ears open for something that will “kill me with delight” is — to quote Mary Oliver again — “to instruct myself over and over in joy, and acclamation.” There’s always something, and it’s a good way to live.
It requires no special talent or effort to look at our world and point out the things that numb us, or dumb us down, or depress us. In fact, it’s a no-brainer! But becoming keenly and consistently aware of what’s good, true, beautiful, and life-giving around us and within us demands a discipline: we must open our eyes, minds, and hearts. And we must keep them open.
The reward for that discipline is great: as we open up, we start to see beauty everywhere, not only in nature, but in human nature. There’s a lot of bad news out there, but there’s a lot of good news as well. Pass the word and help keep hope alive!
by Mary Oliver
I see or hear
that more or less
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
(Excerpted from Why I Wake Early. Read the full poem here.)
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