When I was in college there were many times that I needed something to lift my up by my bootstraps and keep me going. As I worked the reference desk in the library, I kept finding hints to read the work of Mary Oliver. I followed the breadcrumbs left by trusted travelers that went before me. And I found the pieces of nourishment I needed in several of her poems. One of them being:
One day you finally knewwhat you had to do, and began,though the voices around youkept shoutingtheir bad advice--though the whole housebegan to trembleand you felt the old tugat your ankles."Mend my life!"each voice cried.But you didn't stop.You knew what you had to do,though the wind priedwith its stiff fingersat the very foundations,though their melancholywas terrible.It was already lateenough, and a wild night,and the road full of fallenbranches and stones.But little by little,as you left their voices behind,the stars began to burnthrough the sheets of clouds,and there was a new voicewhich you slowlyrecognized as your own,that kept you companyas you strode deeper and deeperinto the world,determined to dothe only thing you could do--determined to savethe only life you could save.