Friday, July 2, 2010

Despite Appearances

I did not have a bad day today. Had you been looking in on me as I had the brilliant idea to get my car inspected on my day off, and then received the news that it would cost $1400, or maybe $1800 to get it to pass, and oh, you need a new front license plate, and then drove to the other shop closer to my house to have it looked at again, and sat for another 45 minutes while they went through it, oh, only $1000, good news. Still need new plate. Don't get pulled over. Bring it back Tuesday.

Then coming home to find that my aging dog had left a gift for me on the bathroom floor. Clean that up. Take the clothes off the line. Dishes need washing. Clothes need folding. (Thank god there are no children who need tending.)

But the reality is - it's all ok. None of it is a crisis. No matter the cost of the car repairs, I can afford it and then my car will be better and last me longer. Dishes can be washed. Clothes can be folded. Life will go on. No one is sick. No one is dying. No one has been betrayed. I come home to a safe and clean and beautiful neighborhood. I have everything I need. My life is beautiful.

Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no 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.

I love this poem. Every so often when I start to get anxious, I think "oh, if I am good and get things in order and exercise and clean and do all the right things something will notice and it will be better. I'll be good, I swear." Then I remember this poem, I do not have to be good and walk on my knees. I just have to be. And I can clean or exercise, not because I need to be good but because it feels good to move and live in a pleasant environment.

But it was still a tiring day, with lots of reminding myself that it wasn't a bad day. So I might just find a sad movie to watch and start again tomorrow.

No comments: