My Work is Loving the World
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.
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, 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, 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, telling them all, over and over, how it is that we live forever.
– Mary Oliver
When I first read this poem by Mary Oliver, I declared it the poem that described my life. My mantra then became, “My work is loving the world.”
When I was ordained in 2014, people asked, what will you do now? Will this change your work in the world? Will you lead a church? What will you do differently, if anything?
My first response is still this line from the poem, my work is loving the world. That is my purpose at the very core of my being, and it is expressed in various ways in my life. I have certainly seen it expressed in my work with young people over the years, nothing has grown my heart more than seeing them find their light and bring it into the world. I expressed it in the way I supervised my dream team when I worked for Island County, humbled by the opportunity to work with such amazing people. I express it now as I sit with the grieving and teach mindfulness in the classroom. I express it in the way I listen with my heart to others. In the way I move the worm off my kale, so I can prepare my morning smoothie, or in the way I stop as I walk out the door and catch the first breath of fresh air in the morning. My work is loving the world.