“It doesn’t have to be the blue iris,
it could be weeds in a vacant lot or a few small stones;
just pay attention…” Mary Oliver
In her poem, Praying, Mary Oliver gives credence to the power of paying attention, particularly when what is immediately before us doesn’t merit it. But what our preoccupation is in itself the problem? What if our vexation and distress, however understandable, hinders rather than helps our capacity to see?
Though family, friends, colleagues, store clerks, and the postal carrier, may have all been wished a Happy New Year, have you pondered how auspicious 2022 will be…if at all? With real threats to our democracy, unabated natural disasters, and escalating planetary temperatures, is it possible to carry on when hearts are breaking? Can one hope to perceive anew when so much we had once counted on, appears lost?
In the wake of all our losses, the poet replies, “[Your reclamation] doesn’t have to be the blue iris, it could be weeds in a vacant lot.” Indeed, when it comes to recalibrating and restoring our vision, Oliver describes prayer, not as an obscure doctrinal obligation but holy discovery. Where thanksgiving conjoins with silence, and senses become attuned to a deeper and more vibrant frequency.
Concerning prayer, Oliver writes,
“[…just] patch a few words together and don’t try to make them elaborate, this isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks, and a silence in which another voice may speak.” 
In these waning days of Christmas and as we stand on the threshold of a New Year, may even the simple and mundane usher us into thankfulness and silence, so that shattered hearts may be restored in your divine likeness once again. Amen.