"Don't Hesitate" by Mary Oliver

— from her book Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. … Joy is not made to be a crumb.

Yesterday I received an unexpected call from a friend in our “bubble.” She asked if we wanted to get together that afternoon. Even though I had a pile of work in front of me, I knew I needed to step away from it for a few hours. 

What followed was a perfect afternoon that was so good it lingered into the evening when we ordered take out and hung out way too late on the porch. 

“What are we doing?” I said at one point at the end of the night. “It is Tuesday!” We laughed and said, “Covid Rules.” 

Have you ever had a day with friends that was spur of the moment but exactly what you needed? I hope so. 

Patron Saint & poet Mary Oliver advises, “Joy is not made to be a crumb.”

Is it possible that even amidst crises and injustice and impossible decisions that these words still ring true? 

All my work was waiting for me this morning. But I have come to it with a fresh perspective, with a little more hope and with a much more focused mind. I’m not suggesting we neglect our responsibilities but I am telling you, as your pastor, (which I mean to read like “because I’m your mom and I said so”)

“Joy is not meant to be a crumb.” 

Today, dear ones, please take a moment to consider what brings you joy. Then consider when you might find a chance to do that thing. 

You who are struggling to decide what to do with your kids this year, I see you. You who are worried about your jobs, I see you. You who miss your family, are waiting on the results of your Covid test, are uncertain about the future, I see you. God sees you. We carry this load together. And that’s why we have permission to set it aside for a few precious hours and remember God’s abundance. 

Do you remember that time in the Gospel of John when Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”?

Abundance may not always come from expected places or at the time you schedule it. It doesn’t have to be fancy or well planned. But we do have to be willing to receive it when it shows up on our doorstep. It could be a potted plant, a walk in the woods, a call from a friend, or a beautiful sunset. 

Joy is, indeed, not meant to be a crumb. So let us remember that our faith isn’t meant to be worn like a ball and chain. It is meant to set us free for abundant life. 

“Still, life has some possibility left…” Oliver proclaims. Let’s not forget it.

Rev. Megan Huston

Senior Minister, First Christian Church, Bowling Green KY

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