Friday, January 1, 2016

I Am The Only Person I Can Save

I am feeling vulnerable about my son tonight. In 24 hours I've gone from a peaceful acceptance of him and his choices to a tearful despair. I'm flip-flopping and struggling. I profess that I've accepted him and how he chooses to live, and for several months now I've felt calm about him. But tonight I'm bawling like a baby, and it's clear that I have more to grieve about this kid-man. I won't bore anyone with the details, but I love my son and I wish that he were healthy and happy. 

This Mary Oliver poem speaks to me about how I am only truly responsible for one person: me. It echoes the scripture that I must "work out my own salvation with fear and trembling," and that no one can do that for me. Just like no one can do it for my son. 

The Journey
 by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.


  1. I am sorry :(
    Mothering can be especially painful . Keep being the anchor . He will come back . Really . Your doing a terrific job.

  2. So glad to see your post. Thanks for sharing the poem. I think "letting go" of kids is way harder than "letting go" of spouses. Maybe because as mothers, we will always love our children no matter what. I wish you peace this coming year.

  3. I love you and this poem is top notch

  4. I love you and this poem is top notch