Seeking something thoughtful for the beginning of a new year, I turned to Mary Oliver and found these excerpts to be excellent reminders of who and what I wish to become. (Apologies for the lack of indentions from the original; I can't seem to get them to work in this venue.)
from "Six Recognitions of the Lord"
Oh, feed me this day, Holy Spirit, with
the fragrance of the fields and the
freshness of the oceans which you have
made, and help me to hear and to hold
in all dearness those exacting and wonderful
words of our Lord Christ Jesus, saying:
from "On Thy Wondrous Works I will Meditate"
I would be good -- oh, I would be upright and good.
To what purpose? To be shining not
sinful, not wringing out of the hours
petulance, heaviness, ashes. To what purpose?
Hope of heaven? Not that. But to enter
the other kingdom: grace, and imagination,
and the multiple sympathies: to be as a leaf, a rose
a dolphin, a wave rising
slowly then briskly out of the darkness to touch
the limpid air, to be God's mind's
servant, loving with the body's sweet mouth -- its kisses, its
My work is loving the world.
[. . .]
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
[. . .]
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.