Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Tuesday's Reflection: Monday Morning
I've always loved starting a new week. Sundays have not been a time of dread for me, worrying about what the week will be or how much needs to be accomplished in the coming week. Instead Sundays have been times of preparation.
Attending a church service, when that has been our routine, which it is now, helps set a tone, reminding me to give thanks, to let go, to renew and refresh. Mary Oliver, the poet, says religion reminds her that she is not sufficient, but that more is needed. Needed for what, she doesn't say, but what it means for me is that I am not ALL there is. In order to more fully be myself, I need to be connected to the greater whole. Being part of a community with all our individual quirks and needs and stories and hopes and fears and doubts and questions and joys and loves reminds me of that greater whole. Mary Oliver in her poem, "I Happened to Be Standing" in which she wonders if cats and opossum and sunflowers and the old black oak pray, says,
I wouldn't persuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don't. That's your business.
But I thought, of the wren's singing, what could this be
if it isn't prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.
The wren's singing, which sometimes takes the form of the opening hymn as the cross is carried to the front of the church or of laughter during the "Let the children come" part of the service or the silence as we approach the bread and the wine, reminds me I am both whole and part of the whole.
Monday mornings, the beginning of the week, can make me feel that way, too, especially when I enter the week clear about what is on my list and when I have activities that energize and inspire me. When I have had time on Sunday to make the week's list and to clear the top of my desk and perhaps even do a quick dust and fluff in my office space, the garret, I am even more primed to enter the week.
I felt that way Sunday night. I had even read the Sunday New York Times, something that often doesn't happen till Monday or Tuesday or maybe not at all. We had taken a good old-fashioned hot dish over to my Dad's apartment and shared a pleasant time with him. On our way home we oohed and aahed at the rows of Hollywood starlet fuchsia and bride white flowering trees. It had been a good day, and I slept well, ready for the week.
Monday morning, the house flowed with cool, refreshing air, the curtain on my garret window swayed slightly, drawing my eyes to the sunlight. I sat and read the morning's devotion and then did the next thing on my list: took my car to the garage, only blocks away, for an overdue oil change and walked home, enjoying every step.
And then our house was taken over by worker men. Men in the garret making a change to the newly installed air conditioning system. Men in the lower level doing a final repair, thanks to a leak we had a week ago. Don't ask me to explain--I am just grateful for these workers in their little red trucks. However, my plans for Monday morning are of no consequence when there are workers in the house. Cleaning the house, which was Plan A, makes no sense until the work is done, and Plan B, writing a blog post and working on my book is not viable, either. I am in the way at my desk in the garret as men come and go, taking clothes out of my closet and setting up some sort of machine that makes noise.
I turn back to Mary Oliver for inspiration and find it in her poem "I Go Down to the Shore."
I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
Is that not perfect? So what if there is noise in the garret and men come and go. I can squeeze my chair closer to the desk and they can get by. I can work with a little noise and disruption. Maybe it will be inspirational even!
Excuse me, I have work to do.
What happens to you when what you planned becomes derailed by the plans of others or events that take precedence over yours? I would love to know.
NOTE: The poems by Mary Oliver are from her book A Thousand Mornings. http://maryoliver.beacon.org
You can listen to a wonderful and rare interview with Oliver here.