idle and blessed

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

i wanted to give a little update on how i’m doing, though it feels callous to write gleefully about how fantastic it is to be alive and well when george floyd (and so many other POC) are not. i know that joy and anger, sadness and helplessness, relief and fear can all coexist in a person simultaneously, but it still feels wrong to me to celebrate as our country fights for its very soul.
as i sit here, thrilled to have taken my first shower and my first walk outside my yard since surgery, i know that even in my personal misfortune, i am benefiting from white privilege. if i were a black woman who had noticed a suspicious lump in my breast, would doctors have taken it as seriously? acted as quickly? would they have proactively re-examined the other breast images in light of the new diagnosis? found the second tumor? would i have even had the excellent health insurance to make any of that possible? studies clearly tell us that the answers are often no.
so for everyone who has been supporting me and sending their prayers and positive energy, please know that i am doing very well physically. my emotional well-being, though, like many of you, is not so great. i’m heartsick that, as a group, we white people who ardently believe that #blacklivesmatter and white privilege is a thing have not done a better job at fighting/dismantling the racist structures designed to oppress our fellow human beings. i’m heartsick that a human being can be murdered in broad daylight and there’s even a single person who doesn’t feel shame and revulsion.
but as with my physical well-being and any recriminations i may feel about how i have (or have not) taken care of my body over the years, all i can do now for my emotional well-being is vow to do more when i am on my feet again. more of everything … protesting, letter-writing, volunteering, educating the girls about racism and social justice. whatever i can do to honor this one wild and precious life i’ve been granted … and the ones that were stolen. 

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