Mysteries are all around us. Some things, cancer disappearing overnight, a check in the mail for exactly the right amount on a critical day, missing an oncoming truck may truly defy explanations - can even be called miracles. But even those things we think we understand are mysterious. Because beneath every answer is another question. After what?, when? and how? there sits a why?.
In this poem by Mary Oliver, we are encouraged not to put too much stock in answers. They keep us from seeing what is truly amazing. Grass turns into flesh and bone. Gravity, though strong enough to tame water and rock, cannot keep our thoughts from the sky. The briefest touch with a stranger creates a bond that lasts forever. These, and many more wonders that we daily encounter, deserve our awe, our bug-eyed call to look. They cause us to laugh in astonishment with those of like mind and together bow our heads.
Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.
How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.
Evidence, Beacon Press, 2009