1048. God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well. ~Voltaire

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

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Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

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which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

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which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes, a mouth
with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam…
~Excerpted lines from the poem, The Messenger by Mary Oliver

I am 73 years old and nearly six feet tall, and yet there are things in life that still make me dance a jig and squeal with joy like a child. And I’m not one bit sheepish about doing it either. As many of you know I absolutely adore Mary Oliver’s poetry. It’s as if she somehow managed to crawl around in my soul and heart and then spilled out what she found therein into her poetry. So I bought 4 new books of her poetry at Amazon last week and when they came today, they were greeted with none other than the same unabashed, joyful squeals. Afterwards there was a round of eeny, meeny, miny, mo before picking one of the four to open first. Then I turned to the first poem in it, read the one above, and guess what? I joyfully squealed some more. Damn, but I love that woman’s thoughts and poetry!!!

When I was in college, there were occasions when my friends and I tried to come up with the names of five people throughout history that we’d most like to meet and spend time with. I’m not sure who I would have picked or did pick back then, but at 73 I know for sure who the top 3 on my list would be now–Jesus(God), Claude Monet, and Mary Oliver. The remaining two are still up for grabs, but that’s not to say that they aren’t lots of splendid candidates to choose from. I pray that each and everyone one of you who’ve read this also have something or someone that thrills you to the point of at least wanting to squeal with animated pleasure!

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 18:3   ✝

25 thoughts on “1048. God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well. ~Voltaire

  1. I don’t squal out loud anymore, but do find delights the make my heart skip a beat quiet often. Like the sight of a glorious sunset or rise, the unopened tips of leaves of new spring growth in my gardens. Even the sight of little creatures scampering around in the yard. Love to watch the ground squirles playing hide and seek in the yard.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ok, ok…Winston Churchill, Pope John Paul II, Napoleon, I’m a little hesitant to invite Julia Child as she’ll steal Winston and Napolen’s attention and of course you—and I’ll happily prepare something from one of Julia’s books—it’ll be a night to remember 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s still much to love in this world, and squeal with joy about, if we only look for it. That’s what your blog is about! And what a good job you do finding things to love. Because what we practice, we get better at. You are inspiring me to buy some Mary Oliver books. And I will allow myself to squeal if so moved. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I might squeal with delight over this post. You really rocked it with this one Natalie. Your loving and playful heart rung out loudly in this post. Thanks for sharing your love, insight and colorful expressions. I’d like to meet you, Allison and Shawna. Three of the juiciest models of living fully that I know from online.

    May we shine our lights brightly. Dancing with delight now! XD

    Liked by 1 person

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