November 21


Today's Quotation:

When it's 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.

Mary Oliver

Today's Meditation:

Are we just visitors here, on this planet only to look around and see the sights and then leave, moving on to somewhere else?  Or are we here to contribute to this planet, to our communities, to the world as a whole?  Do we just look at everything around us and assign names and labels to everything, or do we allow all that we see to give us a sense of wonder, a sense of awe?

A couple of lines earlier in this poem ("When Death Comes"), Mary says, "I want to say all my life / I was a bride married to amazement."  Mary wants to be an integral part of this life that we're living, and she wants her time here to mean something, to stand for something.  She wants to be curious and learn all that she can while she's here, to get the most that she possibly can out of all that touches her life.  She wants to appreciate, to cherish, to feel her connection to everything else that's here.

When I die, I hope the same thing-- that I will have lived my life fully, that I will have contributed to the greater good somehow, that I will have taken all that is offered to me and made the most of it all.  I don't want to reach the end of life and regret all that I haven't done, or feel that I didn't appreciate all the wonderful things in my life when I had the chance to really appreciate them.

So what can I do now to make sure that I don't reach the end with a ton of regret for wonder that I haven't felt, for awe that hasn't inspired me, for amazement that I've squelched and not allowed to be expressed or felt?  Quite simply, I can open my eyes more widely and try to see more than I normally see-- I can pay attention to things that I usually ignore.  I can look at them more closely and find things to appreciate about them.  I can learn from the children around me who feel that sense of wonder constantly until we teach them not to do so.

You're visiting this world, but you don't have to be merely a visitor.  You can be a contributor, an integral part, a wonderer.  It really is up to you whether you want to make the effort to be so or not.

Questions to ponder:

1.  Why and how do so many of us lose our sense of wonder?

2.  What do the words "simply having visited this world" mean to you?

3.  What are some possible things that you can make of your life?  What would your life be like if you did so?

For further thought:

Like Confucius of old, I am so absorbed in the wonder of the earth and the life upon it, that I cannot think of heaven and the angels.

Pearl S. Buck

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