Saturday, March 24, 2012

Life is good.

“Listen--are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?” 
― Mary Oliver
Good Mistakes
      My son David recently landed a solo part in The Young Americans show that came to his school.  Interestingly, his group was told: If you mess up, mess up big.  I had to laugh -what great advice.  Own your mistakes.  Even revel in them.  It takes the pressure off.  There is a story about a pottery class where the teacher told one group to make their best pot in a given time.  The other group was to produce as many pots as they could.  the group that did the most imaginative work was the one that focused on quantity, not perfection.  Process not outcome.       

     My new philosophy in life is to jump in and live - see mistakes as life lessons.  My favorite writing expression is:  You can't edit a blank page.  When I get stuck on story leads, I'll just start typing random ideas.  I see what rises to the top.  Eventually something always does, though the process may be messier than I would have liked.  Sort of like a well-lived life.


     I always cry at weddings. There's something so enchanting and hopeful and holy about two people making lifelong promises to love one another. I am a romantic at heart. But I couldn't cry at this wedding, because I was the one standing up front with the couple, talking about love, asking them if they vowed those vows. I even got to pronounce the magic words that officially made them husband and wife. It was even more special because these were my friends Mary and Paul. I've known Mary for years, and have gotten to know Paul over the nearly three years they've been together. I know their story, at least a lot of it, know what they value, what they love, and so the service I wrote for them was very personal. During the benediction in particular I loved watching Mary's face light up, and a delighted "Ah!" escaped her lips. 
      This was the Lowcountry blessing I wrote for my friends:

May God fill your life with
The hope of a sunrise over the marsh,
The strength of the live oaks,
The joy of dolphins at play in the harbor,
The beauty of springtime azaleas.

Azaleas at Providence Baptist Church on Daniel Island

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it... People think pleasing God is all God care about.  But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.  

     More often than I wish,  I have to remind myself to slow down and notice the beauty that surrounds us.  But not in these early days of spring.  Every time I turn a corner, I am surprised by another bank of pale pinks, soft whites, fiery reds or rich purples.  The azaleas are putting on a show this year.  I pause in my rush through the day and let myself be dazzled.  I find myself more present to the world, finding the bloom in each moment.  Sometimes, life is just beautiful.


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