I love these lines from Mary Oliver. I keep them in my “favorite quotes” section on Facebook, as well as in my heart. Whenever I read or hear these lines, I smile.
I wanted a photo to go along with them and I thought of this one of my sons and their cousins jumping into Lake Minnewaska back in June.
At the time I received this shot, I was hiding away at a Carmelite monastery working on a project. My heart and mind were at rest and peace-filled. And then this visual blast of young energy from my dear mother-in-law came into my inbox filled with these sweet boys sucking in life for all it’s worth!
Precious and wild, indeed, like four little boys jumping off a dock into a cool, Minnesota lake.
Juxtaposing the words “wild” and “precious” produces an immediate sense of energy.(!!!) Wild and precious wouldn’t normally go together. One implies serenity and sweetness. The other, something quite the opposite of that; something untamed and unwieldy.
What is life if not wild? It’s full of unexpected twists, occasional heartache and a whole lot of joy as well if we’re awake enough to see it.
As for precious, oh yes. Each of us is an unrepeatable individual, and we all have a story; one that’s meant to be shared in some form. My stories come out mainly through written expression (though not exclusively). Sharing my stories is a life-giving act for me, and, I dearly hope, for those who read or hear them as well.
But this line wouldn’t be what it is without the word that ties it all together: one. Here is where things get really interesting. One implies singularity, but also brings with it a sense of energy and movement; namely because we don’t get an exponential number of chances to do this life, only one. Oh, we are sometimes offered second and even third chances within this life, but there’s really only one earthly life in which to do what we’re here to do.
I don’t know about you, but I am very aware of the fact that I’ve been given one wild and precious life, and that it comes with an expiration date.
Our lives are always in motion, but perhaps now’s as good a time as any to step back and evaluate where we are, and discern whether it’s where we’re supposed to be. And then, once we’ve figured that out, to take steps to use the time that’s left for how it’s meant to be used.
Certain seasons in our life allow us to grasp this “bird’s-eye view” perspective better than others. Sitting where I’m at now, I’m able to see more vividly what I’m here to do, and I’m positioning myself to do just that.
I can’t imagine many things more exciting than to be aware of one’s purpose.
So I ask the question of you, as Mary did all of us: What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?