If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty.
— Mary Oliver from Swan: Poems and Prose Poems
If It Is Not Too Dark
Go for a walk, if it is not too dark.
Get some fresh air, try to smile.
Say something kind
To a safe-looking stranger, if one happens
Always exercise your heart’s knowing.
You might as well attempt something real
Along this path:
Take your spouse or your lover into your arms
The way you did when you first met.
Let tenderness pour from your eyes
The way the Sun gazes warmly on the earth.
Play a game with some children.
Extend yourself to a friend.
Sing a few ribald songs to your pets and
Why not let them get drunk and wild!
Every rung we’ve climbed on Evolution’s
Whisper, “I love you! I love you!”
To the whole mad world.
Let’s stop reading about God—
Jump to your feet, wave your fists,
Threaten and warn the whole Universe
That your heart can no longer live
Without real love!
There are moments that cry out to be fulfilled.
Like, telling someone you love them.
Or giving your money away, all of it.
Your heart is beating, isn’t it?
You’re not in chains, are you?
There is nothing more pathetic than caution
when headlong might save a life,
even, possibly, your own.
— Mary Oliver from Felicity
- Guide to Advent 2019
- Don’t Squander Joy
- Heal The World Through Joy
- Comfort and Joy
- Unbind Me: A Prayer for Joy
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