I Know This Much is True

Excerpt from I Know This Much is True

I spent the first 50 years of my life waiting for someone else to step aside so I could have my time to shine. Waiting for my dad to get sober. Waiting for my mom to leave my dad. Waiting for my brother so I wouldn’t worry about him. Waiting for Dana to see me. Waiting for Jeff to finish school and decide to settle in. Waiting for Makayla to turn 18 so we wouldn’t have the drama of her mother. Waiting for Gary to grow past his insecurities so we could live life. Waiting for him to trust me so I could feel free in myself again.

Waiting for God to answer my prayers to either make me stop wanting things that weren’t important to everyone else in my life or to open their eyes up to allow me to be me.

What I know to be true is that all that waiting didn’t produce the results I was waiting for.

What I know to be true is that sometimes you have to put yourself first, and if others think you’re selfish or a bitch, or you should follow the rules, that’s a they problem.

Because what I also know to be true is that when people are saying those things about you, they’re actually putting themselves first. Their comfort. Their image. Their feelings. The things they’re accusing you of, they’re guilty of themselves.

What I know to be true is that you get one life, even if you get another one via reincarnation, you only get one life like this one. No matter if you believe that you go to heaven, hell, or get another form of life on earth, this personification, this embodiment you have today, is the only one you’ll have.

The poem by Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”, is often summarized in one sentence, “…what will you do with your one wild and precious life?”, and for many of us, we’ve misused it as a means of pushing us to do more, be more. It’s not a poem of future planning, it’s a poem of being fully present in the here and now.

I spent far too much of my life waiting for others to give me direction, to show me the way, to give me permission, to finish their work first. When X happens for them, then I can finally Y.

One thing I am ever-grateful that I held onto, my whole life, is being observant. After all this time, after all this life I’ve lived, the moon never fails to catch my eye. Sunsets never fail to cause me to smile. Babies never fail to make me want to hold them. Mistakes never fail to give me a lesson. Orion, my favorite constellation, never fails to make me say hello. My kids…never fail to make me grateful I kept going or thankful I stayed home with them so that I could observe them.

What I know to be true is that there is something beautiful in every day, if we are observant.

I know this much is true.

“…I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?”

— Mary Oliver


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