Killing me softly

“Every day I see something that more or less kills me with delight,” says the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver. Oh if that were true of me, and all of us. Oliver seeks “to instruct myself over and over in joy and acclamation.” What is bringing you joy?

For me, it’s a store entrance packed with sweet-smelling flowers. A smiling clerk facing a long line of customers. The sound of rustling leaves from a frantic squirrel. A smile from a dear friend at lunch yesterday.

Too many things, it seems to me, compete for this joy. Bulldozers. Irate customers. Congress.

Meanwhile my faith tradition is midway through Advent, the forerunner to Christmas. It’s a challenge, to say the least, to discipline myself in Advent amid a culture that starts pushing Christmas in November, if not before. Advent would have me stop and be alert in expectancy. A holy task, to be sure.

There seems a certain vulnerability in waiting, which I both fight and welcome.  I don’t know what the future holds. I am both afraid and ready for the adventure. But then again none of us knows the future, despite the claims of the prognosticators.

May I be killed in delight, in the meantime.


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