I Have an Idea – “Things I’ll Probably Plagiarize”

Posted: 12/16/2010 in Musings, Personal Walk, Things I’ll Probably Plagiarize

About a year ago I purchased nearly forty pounds of books filled with poetry. While this acquisition was compulsively driven by a deep seated belief that I ought to be well versed, well, in verse, I have found that the few pages that I have read, have challenged me when it comes to how I view language. Now this isn’t going to be some crusade to get you to pour through the overpowering syrup of Robert & Elizabeth Browning’s love poems, or the death-laden tales of Poe, but an introduction to a new section of this blog: “I Wish I Had Said That”…or “Things I’ll Probably Plagiarize”


Today I read a poem written in 1992 (yep, surprise, people other than Maya Angelou are still writing poetry).

The Summer Day
Mary Oliver

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?

There is so much in this prayerful poem that sits well with me. I know this isn’t explicitly from a Christian perspective, but I think this reminds me of a great view of Sabbath, which is something I am always not sure how to talk about. I think I just talk about some sort of day of lounging around, but poem shows a view the stilled heart taking in the amazing world around us, the spectacular revelation of the glory of God in what He has made. To take time to pause and look at it… I mean really to stop and see it.

What struck me as amazing in a passage about stopping, and what I’ll probably steal, in this call to cast aside the pace of the world around us and to relax…“to be idle and blessed”; is that the “therefore”, the punch line of this poem, unapologetically asserts, with a simple question, that this reflection on creation should RADICALLY influence our view of our lives. To stop, to see and then to, out of amazement to the blessing of being alive, plan how to live this “one wild and precious life” well.

Lets be honest for many of us, the planning of life seems like the stretching of working out… can’t we just run and leave it at that?

Also what about the saying:

“If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans.”

Doesn’t that mean that planning is all futile?

I want to look at this a bit further:

  1. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11)
  2. The plans of the heart belong to man,
    but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
    All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
    but the Lord weighs the spirit.
    Commit your work to the Lord,
    and your plans will be established. (Prov 29:1-3)

You see I think the saying “If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans” is well-intentioned and it does show in some way the plan that God has for our lives. That being said, in Proverbs and throughout the Bible we see God calling us to be good stewards of our lives, to plan and work toward the dreams that He has placed into our hearts, with the humility that God has the best plan for our lives and to live in such a way that all that we do is for Him.

With that I am taking some time off and I’m excited to start praying through:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

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Comments
  1. Wow. I logged into WordPress today, just like I do every morning, glanced through the “Freshly Pressed” posts and my subscriptions looking for a title that drew me in, and there was this lovely one about “Things I’ll Probably Plagiarize”. And the English teacher in me was intrigued because I just finished grading a project I assigned geared towards teaching MLA, and the blogger in me thought, “Brilliant. I should make a list of the things I’ll probably plagiarize on my blog.” So I opened the post up in a new tab and forgot about it until now. My students are now quietly taking their final, so I clicked back over, and there was a new post from my favorite blogging pastor. But it couldn’t be him. He hasn’t posted anything for eons.

    🙂

  2. […] I Have an Idea – “Things I’ll Probably Plagiarize” […]

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