Sunday Morning

I want to be a monk because I think that would be a very good use of me, he continued. Does that sound strange? It sounds a bit arrogant, I suppose. I don’t mean to be arrogant. I want to be an implement. Something like a shovel with a beard. If I live with humility and intent, if I do what I do well and gracefully, that is good. Beyond that I cannot go. When I speak to children they will ask me things like, if I do enough good, and other people do good, then the good stacks up, right? and the good eventually beats the bad, right? and I cannot say this is so. I am not very interested in speculation about such things. I was never interested in theology. I think theology is an attempt to make sense of that to which sense does not apply. I cannot explain why I hope that what I do matters; all I can do is do what I do, either well or ill, patiently or not, gracefully or not. And I do find that doing things mindfully, patiently, easefully, makes the task far more interesting. I love to cut the grass here, for I sometimes come to a sort of understanding with the grass, and the hill, and the creatures in the grass, and with my legs and arms and back, a sort of silent conversation in which we all communicate easily and thoroughly. Do you have any idea of what I mean with all this?

~ Brian Doyle, from “Because It’s Hard” in “One Long River of Song: Notes on Wonder” (Little, Brown and Company, December 3, 2019)



  1. I love the understanding he comes to with the hill, the grass, the creatures…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. montanalulu says:

    oh my….’just moved this book to the top of my must read list….thank you, david!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You know how Sherman Alexie said, “the most sacred we don’t talk or write about.”
    He is wrong.
    If we don’t talk about all that is sacred to us while we’re still around we will be missing out.
    Of all the books I read this one is on a shelf of its own!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I do understand, Brian Doyle. Doing anything with intent gives it meaning. We might not be very good at it but when we give it our full attention, then we are definitely not bad.
    Of course, doing evil with intent is a whole ‘nother ballgame… But we are talking about good here.

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  5. I wonder if he is trying, in his mindfulness to achieve a balanced Harmony in his world…would be interesting to be privy to His Silent Conversations…and I think he is patient like Ted Kooser/// and my gosh what a Title for a book! he is going forward in Beautiful Joy and who couldn’t love the 1st part of the book Title “Notes on Wonder” Life is amazing – a True Wonder! Yup I love Wonder and for decades, He calls me the Wonder Girl…sometimes he just call me, Wonder…

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  6. I liked this, thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Once again — inspired and grateful. the next book on my desk!

    thank you…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think we all hope that what we do matters…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi, how are you doing, David?

    Liked by 1 person

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