I decided that I wanted to have one thing to center upon while I’m walking the Camino. We’ve given the students a list of queries (in Quaker tradition) for them to think about and I will reflect on them as well. But I wanted something more for me. It came to me from a dear and long-time friend who sent me a few lines from a Mary Oliver’s poem A Summer Day, knowing that they would speak to me:
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?
Indeed: what will I do with this one wild and precious life? What have I done with it so far? What do I have time left to achieve? Time. It’s a consideration since I’ve already lived so many years – many of which have been wild and some of which have been precious. Many not so. What do I have to show for it? How do we leave a positive mark on the world? On those around us? I feel myself coming full circle…these are the questions you ask yourself and discuss with friends when you’re in college, when you’re young, naïve and can spend hours in the coffee shop talking about such things because you don’t have a job. We were so all certain that we’d do it better than the generation before us, that we would make something of ourselves. But in the blink of an eye a few decades pass and we’re driving kids to soccer games, paying bills, cleaning toilets and falling asleep in front of the TV.
So I’m using this journey as an opportunity to swing back around and answer the question so eloquently posed by Mary Oliver: what will I do with (what’s left of) this one wild and precious life? What will you do with yours?
Read Mary Oliver’s poem in full here: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2008/06/30
This made me weep.