The Only Student You’ll Ever Have is You

Who told us as children that a hummingbird never rests–that it will never sit still and drink?  I’m not sure, but I’m here to tell you it ain’t so.  The picture above is proof enough.

I’ll never get enough of these feisty, delicate birds.  They are absolutely breathtaking.  And then I wonder why I think my life is in such disarray.  Here is this perfect thing in front of me, screaming order and beauty and care, and I’ve not been paying enough attention.

This morning, I opened up Carl Dennis’s poem collection Practical Gods and read “A Chance for the Soul,” and I thought, “Aha, yes, it’s so true.”

To read the full poem, go here.  [I’m reticent to print the whole thing, because of copyright laws.]  For a sampling, see below.

Am I leading the life that my soul,
Mortal or not, wants me to lead is a question
That seems at least as meaningful as the question
Am I leading the life I want to live,
Given the vagueness of the pronoun “I,”
The number of things it wants at any moment….

Here’s a chance for the soul to fit its truth
To a world of yards, moon, poplars, and starlings,
To resist the fear that to talk my language
Means to be shoehorned into my perspective
Till it thinks as I do, narrowly.

“Be brave, Soul,” I want to say to encourage it.
“Your student, however slow, is willing,
The only student you’ll ever have.”

How are you this morning?  Discouraged?  Encouraged?  Overwhelmed?  Elated?

Take two minutes and breathe deep.  Look out your window and find one thing that amazes you.  You won’t have to look far.

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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