Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How not to expect

On the fridge we have a little poem by Galway Kinnell (ok, we have lots of stuff up on our fridge aside from this one little scrap of paper). Here it is:

Prayer

Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what
I want. Only that. But that.

I can no longer remember where it came from - it looks like I cut it out of something like a newsletter or other piece of mail. Something that was folded, and there's a crease running across the paper just below Kinnell's name. But, I thought of this poem this morning as I tried to derail my brain's worrying at the usual topics (are we moving? when will we know? when will they call? what if they don't? what will we do? are we moving? when will we know?...).

I like the idea of this poem, I like it for many things. I like the idea of just wanting what happens next, whatever "what happens next" turns out to be. I often strive for that kind of expectant nonexpectancy. It is a harder struggle - of course it is - when I actually do have something specific that I want that whatever happens to be. And when I want it to be something good; when I expect something good. Or at least something more good than not.

I'm looking for a more nonexpectant attitude, even if just for today. I can be good at standing against the flow and I can be good at going with the flow, but I am not so good at hanging out in the eddies and waiting for the stream to start moving again. Is this about some kind of psychological inertia? Maybe.

One good side effect is that, in my desire to feel like something is moving forward, that there is movement for my psyche, I am reading a lot more. I hadn't been doing much since October - the busybusy fall, the illnesses, the stress and sadnesses of the holidays and January, all those things made it hard for me to focus on the page. But now...a different story. That part feels good. That part of right now I am enjoying, and I'm trying to keep that in mind.

4 comments:

Cara said...

What a beautiful post. Are you a poet or something? :-) But seriously, beautiful! Love you all!!

Marisha Chamberlain said...

I could read this over and over -- thanks for everything, Merie.

triciadm said...

Oh Merie.

Lee C. Thomas said...

It came from me! Well, I didn't write the poem of course, but that little piece of paper was attached to one of the poetry calendars a couple years back. I think it's a masterpiece, that Kinnell poem.