Mary Oliver’s “The Journey”

Mary Oliver extends the challenge beautifully but so many of us will not put one foot in front of the other.  Though the trip will lead to our true selves, we are not willing to leave and to leave behind what is familiar and routine.  But, there are a few of us who have heard all that there is to say, are aware of the dos and don’ts, of what’s been done and the way it has always been.  Still, we are willing to take the journey.

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice–

though the whole house

began to tremble

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.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

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.

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2 thoughts on “Mary Oliver’s “The Journey”

  1. Thank you for the Afirmation of the burning fire in my belly, that the steps I need to take are indeed the steps I need to take, even at the risk of something miraculous happening in my life. Others want to speculate as to what God is doing in one’s own life, but you and God are the only ones who really know. Thank you God for being YOU all by yourself, and thank You for finding new ways of reminding me to Trust You when I know not the where, when or how.

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