What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?


In her poem, The Summer Day, Mary Oliver writes:

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

What does it mean to pray? What exactly is a prayer? Is it reciting certain words in unison at a church on Sundays, or is it also something infinitely more?

Is it noticing the creator in his delicate creation? Is it paying attention? Is it being grateful? Is it flinging yourself down on the grass to contemplate not just the meaning of life, but the meaning of your life?

Yes, life is short, over far too soon. But, while we are here, there is opportunity. To pray, to notice, to attend, to use our lives to make a difference.

What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

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