I lost a friend this week, a good friend, a friend I never met.

Poet Mary Oliver, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, but more important winner of many hearts, died at 83 in her Hobe Sound, Florida home.

I call her a good because from her poetry I knew her and was quite sure she knew me.
How often I have quoted these three lines from her Sometimes (in Red Bird)

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

And how many mornings have one of her poems wakened me to pay attention – to nature around, to my own heart, to the Spirit of God.

When I was writing my book The Attentive Life  I would often recall that she said, “I don’t know much about prayer, but I do know how to pay attention.” And from many of her poems it was clear her prayers were attention!

I would say “Goodbye, Mary Oliver,” except I don’t think she is that far away!


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