What can we do
but keep on breathing in and out,
modest and willing, and in our places?
– Mary Oliver, from the poem “Stars”
I’m taking these lines out of context, because they are the ones that jumped out at me when I randomly took a book of Oliver’s poems off a shelf this afternoon. If many of my behaviors of late seem random and fruitless and perplexed, at least I do breathe in and out. That is an excellent case of something I do that I can’t really take credit for; God has programmed me to do it. He gives each of us life and breath, and I’m thankful.
One day last week I was given another gift, when Kristi at Thoughts from Thicket House sent me the link to a hymn, “In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful.” She actually linked me to the German “Meine Hoffnung und Meine Freude,” (My Hope and My Joy) which I like even more. I spent two days singing those hymns from morning till night; there is something about the simplicity and redundancy of the lines and melody that I needed as a prayer to carry me along.
I’m in my place, I know it. And I’m working at the willing part.