But, not yet have I reached that bright life or that white happiness – not yet.

bell-church-monk-russia-kosnichev

Men and women of faith who pray – that is, who come to a certain assigned place, at definite times, and are not abashed to go down on their knees – will not tarry for the cup of coffee or the news break or the end of the movie when the moment arrives. The habit, then, has become their life. What some might call the restrictions of the daily office they find to be an opportunity to foster the inner life. The hours are appointed and named; they are the Lord’s. Life’s fretfulness is transcended. The different and the novel are sweet, but regularity and repetition are also teachers. Divine attentiveness cannot be kept casually, or visited only in season, like Venice and Switzerland. Or, perhaps it can, but then how attentive is it? And if you have no ceremony, no habits, which may be opulent or may be simple but are exact and rigorous and familiar, how can you reach toward the actuality of faith, or even a moral life, except vaguely? The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us. Our battles with our habits speak of dreams yet to become real. I would like to be like the fox, earnest in devotion and humor both, or the brave, compliant pond shutting its heavy door for the long winter. But, not yet have I reached that bright life or that white happiness – not yet.

~ Mary Oliver, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings


Art: Oldsamovar (Art by Alexanderliech Kosnichev)

 

Comments

  1. Love Mary Oliver. Love that you share this today, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not yet – so true. I love the painting, muted colors of the silence before the bell rings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great piece, but I am captivated by the image. “The Bell, Ed. Ring the bell”…..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So much to consider here. For those of us with Other-than-God spirituality, this attentiveness and routine is vital, too. The bright life and white happiness happen in moments, are part of the practice, not destinations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree Sandy. There was a lot to contemplate here. I read it several times and again tonight. And I so agree, bright life and white happiness happens in moments – and gratitude needs to surround these moments.

      Like

  5. And it begs the question, “can one find/have morality without religion?” At what point do the rituals and routines themselves lose meaning? What connotes ceremony? Does divine attentiveness require faith? In what? (I guess the passage begs loss of questions for me!)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on On the Homefront and commented:
    well worth reblogging…………

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love, love, love this… reblogging and thanking you again for sharing. It’s at this time in my life when I recognize how my habits… or lack thereof, measure me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Read slowly. Soak this in. Read slowly again. Stop at each sentence end. Oh how nice is the warm blanket of wisdom. Thanks David, in the flurry of passing Facebook wall posts, I always benefit from stopping to see what you have to say.

    Liked by 1 person

    • David, I did exact as you suggested, the first time I read this passage, and the 5 times that followed. There is warmth in this wisdom as you suggest.

      And thank you for sharing your kind words.

      Dave

      Like

  9. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words says:

    Love Mary Oliver…
    wonderful image…I wonder if he is feeling the energy from the last time the bell rang
    such a deep contemplating image, a simple deed that reverberates through time and space
    Thank you for sharing you and your thoughts
    Take Care..You Matter…
    )0(
    maryrose

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on edenstream.com – catherine whittier and commented:
    The snow is deep this morning in Indiana. We live in a rural setting, down a winding road and over a single lane bridge. There are no giant snow plows that take passes over our narrow, private road, just a kind neighbor who pushes a plow with his yellow jeep. While the rest of the world gets cleaned up and dirtied with slush, we manage to stay deep and white and quiet. I lit a candle and sipped my coffee as I opened David Kanigan’s blog post in my beautiful, white cathedral.

    At 50-something I can see myself in the mirror with more clarity than ever before. There is no brand of make up and no amount charm that can cover the trails that I have left behind, and I hear solemn echoes that beckon me to live with abandon and heal with completion. There is a longing which is so deep and a desire which is so fundamental… I must not miss what matters most. My quest is constantly crippled by the battle with my habits and by the distractions I allow to come seeping into my world.

    As Mary Oliver says, “I would like to be like the fox earnest in devotion and humor both, or the brave, compliant pond shutting its heavy door for the long winter. But, not yet have I reached that bright life or that white happiness – not yet.”
    Read on:

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Christie says:

    Catherine Whittier, I love your reflection 🙂 David, as always thanks for another great post. The image so beautiful – It says so much to me.. Christie

    Liked by 2 people

  12. ‘The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us.’ A great passage of wisdom from Mary. Great comments today as well. Thanks Dave. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Perfect love, absolute truth and eternal life are not the things of an evolutionary process, because they are not the things of the physical. They are achieved by a choice resulting from an act of will; which begins a continuous conscious movement toward perfection, in which each step along the way the indiviual matters.
    -Alan

    Liked by 2 people

  14. it is an eternal and ongoing quest.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I have never read this before – it’s wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. “The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us.” So much to meditate upon right there. For this morning, right now, instead of of turning back for sleep, I will arise. Thank you for this Monday morning posting, David. It speaks so powerfully.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reblogged this on Makere's Blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Life’s fretfulness is transcended.This will be a treasure for me, this quote.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Reblogged this on The Winged Woman and commented:
    LadyBlueRose emailed this to me. I love it so much, I had to share it.

    Like

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