oakTeach me to love all things, big and small; clean and dirty: the burr oak massive with age; the silent worm that threads the earth; my fellow beings, rich or poor, sung or unsung.

Teach me to be patient, learning first to forgive my own infidelities, that I may love others more.

Teach me the wisdom of the past, of hope invested in the future–but best, the gift of this new day.

Teach me to persevere up the mountain, to resist the stitch in my side that urges quitting and with it, forfeiture of the runner’s prize.

Teach me never to love anything so much that I cannot accept its loss; the inevitability of change and ending and, someday too, my own.

Teach me the right of others to discover themselves and walk a road different from my own; to listen that I may hear and not judge.

Teach me what true freedom means: to choose without the weights of culture or tradition; the courage to revoke what inhibits happiness; the right to self-knowledge and to live in accord with it; a resolve to accept the bottom line cost in living free

Teach me to discern between having and being; to know the folly of the former, the ecstasy of the latter.

Teach me courage in a world with dark valleys; boldness to speak for those who grieve, the excluded poor, oppressed minorities, women and children, and the animals too.

Teach me to love our wounded earth, to nourish it wherever I am as though it were my own garden.

–by rj