Within twenty-four hours, two acquaintances and my favorite poet, Mary Oliver died.

One acquaintance showed many scars from her life. She was kindly spoken of as a “handful” as the speaker’s eyes rolled. In my better interactions with her I responded to the pain in her comments without letting the barb get through my skin.  She reminds me to watch my mouth (at least a little) when someone steps on me.

The other acquaintance was always gracious even as her needs for help increased. What an example! She also experienced the grit of life, but somehow used it to make her more sensitive to others.

Mary Oliver’s beautiful nature poems help me see the sublime in the ordinary.  This poem is a good example:

The Gift
By Mary Oliver

Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.

So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful. That the gift has been given.

I’m grateful for the gifts I received from each of these women.