A Small Bouquet

for mary oliver*

Image by conceptvessel via Flickr

“Luke, feeling unique and being unique aren’t the same thing.”

“I know.  But still.  We have to count.  I want to be part of history.  I want a Wikipedia page.  I want Google hits.  I don’t want to be just a living organism that comes and goes and leaves no trace on this planet.”

“And what’s wrong with that?”

–Douglas Coupland, PlayerOne

When Death Comes

When death comes

Like the hungry bear in autumn

When death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

To buy me and snaps the purse shut;

 

When death comes

Like the measle-pox;

 

When death comes

Like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

 

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering

What is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

 

And therefore I look upon everything

As a brotherhood and a sisterhood,

And I look upon time as no more than an idea,

And I consider eternity another possibility.

 

And I think of each life as a flower, as common

As a field daisy, and as singular,

 

And each name a comfortable music in the mouth,

Tending, as all music does, toward silence,

 

And each body a lion of courage, and something

Precious to the earth.

 

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s all 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

 

 

“For we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”  2 Corinthians 4:7

 

This is my struggle: to embrace my ordinary humanity as a field flower, a clay jar, a living organism, but to see the singularity in myself.  God did not ordain that we find our meaning only in despair, in the nothingness that underlies the human condition.  Faith is necessary.  We need external validation for our existence, both collectively and individually.

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