Last Sunday I interpreted Jesus' famous words from John 14: "In my Father's house are many dwelling places," as words of comfort for the living: know that in the heart of the God there is enough room for you. The key to being at peace and helping others to be at peace is the knowledge that we are welcome in this world. This poem by Mary Oliver speaks to me in the same inviting voice as it approaches its closing line "over and over announcing your place in the family of things."
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."
as printed in Kevin Young, ed., The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing (New York: Bloomsbery, 2010), 251.
Rev. Mark F. Sturgess