I believe that God lays before us a path we should follow. But, it is up to us to listen deeply for his guidance and decide whether or not we follow his lead. But sometimes, I think God gets a little insistent. That's why I don’t believe in coincidence. This is especially true when things come to me and just elbow their way into my consciousness; forcing me to ponder why and how and why now. I had one of those interesting confluences recently.
The first was from Parker Palmer, a Quaker teacher who publishes poems and insights on Facebook weekly. This morning I read his post and he offered up a poem by Mary Oliver entitled “Wild Geese”. One stanza from the poem stood out for me.
“Whoever you are…the world…calls to you like the wild geese…over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”
Pretty interesting, right? But then, this evening I was reading the book “With Open Hands” written by Henri Nouwen, and this quote struck me
“Prayer is primarily a calling to find your own place in this world and to live in that place.”
Two different sources read at two different times of day but with one pretty clear message: Each of us is being called. We must find our place in the world and own it. Easier said than done. I get that. But what would happen if we – just for this day – chose to live life big, in the glory that we are meant to be.
So for tomorrow, I am going to act as if I understand deeply within my soul that I am a child of God who is fully loved and fully alive in God’s love. After all, each of us is a unique expression of God’s love – one like no other in the entire universe and throughout all of time. If we don’t act, if we don’t express this love, we will deprive the world of the expression of God that is uniquely us. We will be as a seed that is planted but which did not germinate, blossom and give fruit.
Which leads me to want to close this short essay with another Mary Oliver poem; this one entitled Landscape. At the end of this poem she offers…
“Every morning…the crows break off from the rest of the darkness and burst up into the sky – as though all night they had thought of what they would like their lives to be, and imagined their strong, thick wings.”
Michael Soika has been a community activist for more than 30 years working on issues of social and economic justice. His work for justice is anchored by his spiritual formation first as a Catholic and now as a Quaker.