I am a sucker for places that make us dream big, that push us beyond our limits, that stretch our imaginations and minds in ways that we never thought possible. I am a forever student, very much at home in the classroom wherever that classroom happens to be, whether I am up front teaching or happily seated in the front row soaking up all that glorious information like a sponge. So of course the big questions are my very favorites, and Mary Oliver hits on what may be my favorite question yet: "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Isn't that gorgeous? Makes me want to print it out 1,000 times and plaster it all over my neighborhood.
This week I have had new options unfolding for me every day. Just when I think I am set upon a course of action, some other wonderful possibility falls into my path to consider. I think I'm being tested (which is fine by me since students love tests.) I think I'm being shown a way to focus on exactly what field in life gets me most excited, education, and then also being offered a myriad of distractions that are testing my passion for it. Mary Oliver's question is like a beacon in the haze. What if we looked at every option that's thrown our way, what if we considered every road before us with this lens. What if we made choices by asking "is this what you want to do with your one wild and precious life (knowing that our lives are so short)?"
The very thought of this takes my breathe away. Our lives are so short. We have such little time here, making every day a wild and precious thing. So here is my answer to Mary Oliver, no matter how many days I have left:
To write courageously and passionately so that it stirs the hearts and imaginations of others
To give children every where the chances that I had to improve my own lot in life through education, dedication, and very hard work
To lift others up as I rise
To generate more kindness, compassion, and generosity in the world
To take these two wild and precious hands and build things that have value and meaning, for me and for many others
To travel far and wide, to experience other cultures, to see new scenery, to meet as many citizens of the world as possible
And, yes, every day I want to be both a teacher and a student
The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver