Pass It On: Mary Oliver

By: Sarah Bishop

Posted: November 11, 2021

Category: Daily Devotional

Lamentations 3:22-24

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.”

This poem comes from a book of poems, Dream Work published in 1986 by Mary Oliver, a Pulitzer Prize winner and author. For the past five decades she’s published over 20 works, received numerous awards, and awarded Honorary Doctorates from several universities. This poem continues to speak to me and inspire me as I’ve followed God’s call to ministry in new and unexpected directions. Enjoy

The Journey

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 that you could save.


Lord of all, may the gentle breath of Your Spirit accompany us, assuring us we are never truly alone and invites us into tomorrow’s hope to serve, follow, and love Christ Jesus. We indeed are strengthened and saved, Amen.