I got out of bed
on two strong legs
It might have been
—Jane Kenion, Otherwise
It’s a rainy Tuesday and I’ve been awake listening to the soggy morning that awaits, dreading getting out in it. But, I picked up Garrison Keillor’s compilation, Good Poems, turned to page 25 and read Jane Kenion’s Otherwise. It’s a poem that is at once true, familiar and inspiring. It lives up to Keillor’s criterion of “good poem”. I get a warm feeling and decide I’ll write a little blog post about it and then leap into the morning.
And then…all of a sudden…it bludgeons me with it’s truth. It’s sort of like turning on the TV expecting to see “Love It Or List It” or ” Fixer Upper” and instead there are malnourished children or refugees huddled around a burning barrel. I walk away from Otherwise feeling guilty to actually be walking on those two strong legs, to be drinking hot coffee, to
be sitting in a dry and warm single family dwelling. It might have been otherwise you know! (I’ve recently been told this is the guilt of a Democrat.)
So, the matter at hand is that I have a new
day in front of me. Another day to live life. It’ll be made up of decisions large and/or small, thoughtful and/or thoughtlessly reflexive. The sum of these decisions will bring me to the end of this day some 16 or 17 hours from now. I’ll be proud of some. possible regret some others. And still more of these decisions will be totally forgotten in
the blur of the routine busyness this day will bring.
My spiritual practice today will be to be more deliberate with my time. To be more grateful, more conscious of my decisions and the sum of their results. It could be otherwise.
We praise you with joy, loving god, for your grace is better than life itself. You have sustained us through the darkness, and you have blessed us with life in this new day.
—The Psalm Prayer at Morning Prayers, The Upper Room Worship Book
One thought on “It Might Have Been Otherwise”
Not necessarily democrat guilt, but maybe a Debbie Downer moment (similar to my “she still woke up with cancer this morning” comment). Mike, I find your writing to be thought-provoking. You should really do it a lot more…