In the closing line of her poem “ The Summer Day” Mary Oliver asks the question “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”. There are times when we are faced with tragedy that we realize just how precious life is, but I would imagine very few of us consider our lives to be wild and precious. I love the way she puts these two words together and how they play off each other. When we think of wild we usually think of reckless abandonment, unstructured, and not knowing what crazy thing will happen next. The word precious con jours up the idea of something that is valuable, prized, and protected. Putting the two words together to describe our life is interesting.
However, as Christians this should describe what our life. Precious we understand. Most of us realize how precious life can be and we value life. Being reserved is something we seem to strive for. Wild is what we have a hard time with. Yet when you look at Jesus’s life and others in the Bible your see that their life was wild. Following God should be wild in the best sense of the word. What words would you use to describe the lives of people in the Bible? Words like: unsafe, unknown, and unconventional come to mind. The Disciples never knew what the next day would hold. I think that was part of the attraction.
By most people’s standards my life would seem pretty boring. Our family’s favorite things are eating out and going to a bookstore. Every weekend you will find us at some local bookstore just hanging out. I am also a pretty regimented person. I have my morning routines and my calendar has my appointments. It is all pretty straight forward.
I got to thinking what would have to change for my life to be described as wild and precious? Remember you are talking about the guy who for his mid-life crisis got his first pair of Kakis. ( I wanted a Blonde and a Harley, but my wife would not let me have those ) I do not think we are necessarily talking about tons of activity, but rather a shift in attitude. It is approaching each day and each hour with “God what do you want me to do or who do you want me to talk to today?” As the Holy Spirit leads me my life will take on the characteristics of Christ. I will have conversations that I would have never had, and served people I would have never know before. None of us need more activity in our lives. We need the right activity in our lives.
Tell me – what changes would you have to make for a wild and precious life?