“Beholding” Makes a Difference

 

 

A few weeks ago, I was reading Mary Oliver’s poetry collection, Red Bird.  In it she offers this short poem which she calls Instructions for Living a Life.  It reads, in total…

Pay attention.  Be astonished.  Tell about it.

How very simple, I thought.  Could it really all boil down to just this?  Could a purposeful, meaningful life be had simply by following this modest formula?  Eyes closed, deep breath, I thought about her words, one phrase at a time.

Pay attention. How many times have we heard these two words?  Usually they are uttered by someone in authority, in a stern voice,  as if there will be consequences if ignored.  But now I was thinking of them differently…

At the end of last year, a dear uncle  – the last family member of his generation – passed away.  During the beautiful celebration of his long and well lived life, in conversation with his son (also Ed),  I commended my cousin for his unwavering devotion to his father.  My uncle was a member of the greatest generation and fought battles in both France and Germany.  His son relived those experiences with him, […]