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February 21, 2011 / paperkids

The Messenger

Red berries by Sabra Murphy

One of my favorite poems is The Messenger, by Mary Oliver.  The first line says “My work is loving the world.”  I never usually think about it like that,  although lately it seems like an awful lot of work.  I just never think about love being something that we do, but rather something that we feel.

Flower by Sabra Murphy

Sometimes it’s easy to feel like who I am isn’t enough.  Can I possibly give my kids what they need?  It seems like every time I turn around I’m feeling like I’m not doing enough or not doing the right things.  It’s a heaviness that is hard to shake – all this guilt and stress.

When I call and vent to mom she always says (aside from “Pray”) : “Just love them.  That’s all you need to do.”  And I always get just a little angry inside.  Yeah right!!  Like love will save them from a tumultuous present, an uncertain future and one CRAZY mother!!!

But what can I do??  Sometimes, I just want to lay in that pasture in Mary Oliver’s poem.  One of her lines in the Messenger also describes love as :   “mostly standing still and learning to be astonished”.

Maybe love is not only giving, but learning to receive.  Do I believe that all the ingredients are here?  I guess that’s where trust comes in.  Is it really enough to just stand still and let Love work in me and through me?   I once heard an analogy of the clay vessel that’s been shaped, molded, thrown into the fire and then stands there waiting to be filled.  It’s filled with the goodness of the One who created it and that goodness is then poured out into the world.  It stands still, waiting to be filled again.

Perhaps love is what we do with who we are – the best that God gave us – the best gift that we could ever offer another.  Maybe love is sufficient.

Blades of grass by Sabra Murphy



Leave a Comment
  1. Candy / Feb 21 2011 4:18 am

    Sabra, everything you’ve done and continue to do for your family involves love, and although it may not seem enough, just remember, it all comes from your heart.

    • paperkids / Feb 21 2011 4:22 am

      Speaking of heart, my friend – you’re ALL heart:)

  2. grandma / Feb 21 2011 5:57 pm

    Loving ourselves helps us to find a way to love others.(And yes, praying, which is like breathing).
    Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. Here’s another:
    Wild Geese
    You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.
    – Mary Oliver


  3. MSOTS / Feb 22 2011 12:57 am

    I am astonished with such beauty in words! (another of the many things received in our lifetime that blesses) And Sabra, love is both felt and a work in and through us to one another.

  4. grandma / Feb 24 2011 3:44 am

    ps Sabra your photos are lovely!

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  6. Tiina / Mar 2 2021 4:01 am

    Beautiful. Thank you! For your musings and the poem. Both touched me deep.

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