This Wild and Precious Life

Her “hello” to the world seems like it has been in utero for so long. For such a long time now she has been working on recovering. Recovering from her stroke, recovering from grief. Recovery always seems like a word that has a beginning and an end, a hard start and a hard stop – something you could look at the calendar and check your dates by. Not so with mom’s “hello” back to the world. She will in many ways always being working to recover from these losses – but I am surprised right now by new birth I see, a new kind of “hello” mom is uttering to a waiting world. 

Mary Oliver says, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?”

Always before when I’ve looked at this verse my imagination immediately journeyed to a Technicolor summer scene of green grass and summer pool time with children inventing new games, new worlds and repeating iterations of that every summer until…life had imagined itself into being.

By contrast, Mom’s now smaller world of caregivers, bible studies, lunches, and doctor’s appointments perhaps isn’t a scene anyone would conjure when asked to envision a “wild and precious life.” Nevertheless, it is now all I can picture. Adventures, risks, newness, life – all of these are parts of each day for mom.

Although radically limited in her tasks of life compared to her life before the stroke, she is making a new life for herself....and doing it in typical BB fashion - with grace and lovely but fierce resolve.

But we have all been surprised at this new place of creativity that is springing forth. She was given a few lessons with a talented painter and now continues under this artist’s watchful but supportive eye to bring about worlds of light and dark, leaves and landscape, bold and mild. She is committed to each painting, each one holding a piece of her wild and precious living heart.

So I stand here in this place in wonder at all that has transpired to bring us here. We are in a new place. We (the many who love her) look around at the world she has created by God’s sustaining grace and gaze upon her life.

Indeed, we watch her life. We learn from her life. We ask as we watch; can she do it? Can she be re-born and re-made? But as we ask the question, our hearts are cheering as if we’re somehow part of one of those fantastic underdog movies where the main character emerges from adversity as the victor being held up on the shoulders of the team. You all are the team; mom is the victor, the hero. And we are all better off for having been in the vicinity.

So this is our microphone to give mom’s “hello” new volume. Hello to brightness, to newness, to beauty and to wonder. Wander the halls of this beautiful place, find a piece that resonates with your own story, and marvel with us at what has been born.