Breaking or breaking open?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

If you recognize any of these lines of poetry, you have met the American poet Mary Oliver.  Grounded in nature with echoes of the transcendent, this Mary Oliver poem recalls the reality of suffering in the image of the loss of a beautiful bird. 

Read this poem aloud, slowly, multiple times and with multiple voices if possible. 


Lead by Mary Oliver

Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
This winter
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you have heard it,
you know is a sacred thing,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.

For reflection alone or together:

How has this work broken open your heart? 

How do you hold the pain and suffering you see each day? 

Next week: Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team Part 2

Supportive Care Coalition