Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over annnouncing your place
in the family of things.
I have kept this poem around me for many years. It speaks to me of what I seem to forget time and time again: that I am worthy....that I don't need to be a certain way.....that I don't need to do a certain thing. It poses a question I read long ago and have never forgotten: Even if humans are not good, why should we be punished? The farther I go the more I see that my seeking to "be better" is my greatest obstacle.