“It was like, we were all okay. And that was nice.”

Hello friends, and happy change-of-seasons! A small story for you, and a hope that you will read and perhaps even write in to share your thoughts!

I ride the bus to work with a lady who has a very odd conversational style. She tells me long, tedious, repetitive stories, the subtexts of which are that she is easily overwhelmed by relatively simple things, like how to pay her Comcast bill (mail it and waste a stamp or drive it to the office?), or figuring out how to use the printer at work. Yet the sub-subtext is that she is really trying to stay positive in the face of these tasks, and to pass this positivity on to others.

suncloudsOften, in the middle of her long stories, she’ll pause and say something totally stunning and totally out of context. For example, we had been talking about some film she was having developed at Walgreens (does anyone actually do this anymore?), and she stopped, looked at me and said, “You are making exactly the right choices you need to be making for yourself at this moment.” I briefly wondered if her eyes were going to roll back in her head or if she would start speaking in tongues, but she just carried on with the film story.

Sometimes her messages aren’t as abrupt, but they still feel a bit like unexpected and useful rays of clarity. A few weeks ago, she was describing, in great detail, where she was going to have her new TV installed (by Comcast), and as we got off the bus to walk to our offices, she said, “Today is going to be a positive day and we will feel good about helping other people!”

Indeed.

A day or two ago, she was relating an experience involving an evening of Scrabble, a person with paranoia, and a disgruntled family member. Then she just stopped and said, “It was like, we were all okay. And…and that was…really nice.”

These odd semi-non-sequiturs are like small, clear bubbles of human truths that rise up from mundane narrations of everyday life, and I appreciate them each time. Yes, I could easily imagine how all of a sudden, in the midst of a game of Scrabble with some only questionably sane people, one might be struck by the feeling that, no matter what, we really are all okay. And not only is that feeling very nice; sometimes, it’s all you need to keep you going.

What small experiences cause you to pause and remember what matters to you? Strange, odd, funny, poignant, moving, simple…whatever they might be…what recent moments have given you perhaps just the briefest glimpse of something that felt real and important. I’d love it so if you cared to share!

In this spirit, today’s poem is by Mary Oliver, from her 2006 book, Thirst. This collection is something of a deviation from previous works, and definitely worth checking out if you’re a Mary Oliver lover. I hope you enjoy it, and, as always, I love hearing from you!

All love,

Leslie

Praying
by Mary Oliver

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

the last end of summer daisy on my walk to the bus stop

the last summer daisy on my morning walk to the bus stop

11 Comments

Filed under faith, gratitude, hope, listening, poetry

11 responses to ““It was like, we were all okay. And that was nice.”

  1. Lynn Podoll

    Noted your picture. We also have one last daisy all by itself down our street, which is populated with transplants from our daisy patch. One last daisy by our neighbor’s mailbox. Very tall, much taller than any all summer. A final hurrah? Thank you, daisies, for all your beauty and the joy they have brought this neighborhood this summer. Hello, fall. Winter, just hold off a bit; we aren’t quite ready for you to visit yet.

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  2. LAC

    Thank you, Lynn! How lovely to have you here!

    Like

  3. Dad

    Leslie-
    I am very grateful you are in my life, and I am in yours. The perspective you bring to even the mundane is something I can only dream about having, but never will. Keep it coming!
    Love, Dad

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  4. ABF

    Love this poem by Mary Oliver and your insights. “this isn’t
    a contest but the doorway into thanks, and a silence in which
    another voice may speak.” wow.

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  5. LAC

    Thank you! Yes, it’s a wonderful poem!

    Like

  6. Cynthia Sweet

    Leslie,
    I was touched by your writing. It brought to mind the thin strip of paper fortune that hangs askew on our refrigerator, “Everything will be OK”. Two years ago, our friend Jodi decorated her van and adorned herself as a gypsy for Halloween. When I drew out that fortune, it felt like a message just for me, and it has a permanent place on the refrigerator.
    Two weeks ago, we unexpectedly needed to bring our daughter, her seven year old and two year old to live with us. It was almost midnight when they arrived. The boys were sleepy and excited and confused and it took awhile for them to settle in. I ended up sleeping in a room next to the portacrib, where 2 year old Benjamin was restless and squirming. As I lay there, I had a deep sense of peace, that everything would be OK. Not perfect, or expected, but still good.

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    • LAC

      Dear Cynthia,

      Thank you very much for sharing this. I’m always so happy to hear news of your family, and of your perseverance and faith. Thinking of you all, L.

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  7. cpcrowley77

    The Fall smell in the air, the piles of leaves everywhere, called me as I left my desk, promising myself I would return as soon as possible. I was simply going to get the mail but instead, the unusually warm air, the feeling of rain from the overcast sky called me to continue down the road, walking past the horses in the field to Blanchard Cross road. Today, I was truant for awhile, just a little truant from duty. I felt thankful and prayed Anne Lamott’s prayer, “Wow!” Your thoughtful contacts and beautiful writing always inspire me Leslie.

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    • LAC

      Colleen,

      This story so reminds me of a line from a Mary Oliver poem–something like–“and who would chide you if you left you desk and wandered off to find your soul.” Thank you for sharing and inspiring me with your “truancy!” Love, L.

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  8. Sara Groves has a nice song called, “its going to be alright.” as a fellow bus user i will be glad when winter is over or I get a car :), too cold…

    Like

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