Why do I love this poem? It's not complex, it's not full of clever word play or even richly descriptive sensory images. What it is, is elegant, wistful, beautiful.
I think of this poem from time to time when I'm doing the ordinary things in my life--walking the dog, baking bread, writing and I am grateful.
Yesterday I took my son to his clarinet lesson and sat downstairs while he worked with his teacher. I thought of "Otherwise." For this 45 minute time, my son and I were both doing the work that we loved; he in creating music, me in appreciating it and writing to it.
How fortunate we are.
I read "Otherwise" often. It is part of the way I remember to practice gratitude. It is all to easy to slip into whining and envy.
In the Yom Kippur service, there is a meditation that says:
Each person should carry two notes in his or her pockets. On one would be the words, "For my sake the world was created." On the other, "I am but dust and ashes."
It is our challenge to believe the first, so as not to fall into despair, and the second, to understand how ephemeral our lives and our worries are.
Find the way to do the work that you love. Know that someday it will be otherwise.
That is all. Class dismissed.