Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”

And I laugh a bit. One life, yes.  But not a wild one.  A very quiet, coloring-inside-the-lines sort of life.  (My brothers are recognized when they jump over chairs; no one would guess my connection based on that.)

Precious, however.  Wildly, improbably, enormously so.  Yes, precious.  But not mine.

It’s easier to see some days than others, this nearly-ness of life.  How we gather its edges in tiny fistfuls, but cannot keep it, cannot ever gather all of it into our arms sufficiently to call it our own.  How it pulls us along and we do not direct it, and we cannot know that we may not any moment look down to discover our clenched fists are empty and it fled away.

I watched the boy stand up yesterday, and remembered the nearly-ness of that other day, when life caught and crumpled him under his car, and how there were no words for the prayers, except “Mercy.”

Mercy surprises us sometimes, coming gorgeous in plumes and diamonds with a caravan of rich gifts, when we look for a darkly clad, wrinkled woman with a basket of coarse bread.  The boy who nearly died stands up; those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death have their bonds burst apart.  The beloved Son laid down His life, that I might have life — not in meager, desperate fistfuls, but wildly, improbably, abundantly.

More life than can be fit inside the lines, life that spills out of them and runs over into forever.

Now, ah, now to live like it.

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