May 1 2011

In The Family of Things

I feel strongly about the things I write on this blog.  They come from the heart and represent to a large degree who I am.   I know there are others who share my same passions and convictions but sometimes—like now—I feel alone.  I know I shouldn’t expect everyone to feel the same way I do about things.  I just wish more people cared about connecting God and Creation. 

Last night I was reading some of Mary Oliver’s poems before going to bed.  One of the poems I came across, “Wild Geese,” spoke to me in a powerful way.  It continues to today.  In this poem Oliver says “Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.”  She then goes on to write, “Meanwhile the world goes on.  Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers.  Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.”

In these words there is a needed reminder that life goes on.  Sometimes we get down and grovel in our despair.  We may have our own little pity party but all around us life goes on.  The world keeps moving.  The sun keeps shining.  The geese keep flying.  Knowing this might cause some to despair even more but it brings comfort to me.  I am gladdened by nature’s reminder that whatever it is I might be experiencing life goes on.

At the conclusion of “Wild Geese” Oliver says, “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”  Here, too, I find comfort.  Sometimes I do indeed feel alone and lonely.  I feel that way when others don’t really seem to understand me or to care about the things that I do.  But as Oliver reminds us here, there is much in God’s Creation that beckons us to remember that we have a place “in the family of things.”  We do belong here.  I do.  You do. 

In His infinite wisdom the Creator has given all that He has made its place.  The rocks, the trees, the flowers, the clouds, the geese, the wind, the rain, the fish of the sea and the cattle of a thousand hills—they all have their place.  It’s no different for you and me.  We’re all in this together in more ways than we can imagine.  We are family.  I am not alone.  Neither are you.


(I took the top image of a large flock of snow geese at Bosque del Apache in New Mexico.  I photographed the whitetail deer and fawn in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.)