Hidden depths

File:Abraham bends down before the Three Angels.jpg

In almost every tradition there are tales of gods appearing in the guise of ordinary visitors. In the Hebrew Scriptures,  Abraham looked up and saw three men standing near. He welcomed them, not knowing they were angels. Here Mary Oliver tells of a similar story from Ancient Greece. The key is paying attention, which allows us see the riches in everyday occurrences. In this way some people show “hospitality to angels without knowing it”

In Greece,
a long time ago,
an old couple
opened their door

to two strangers
who were,
it soon appeared,
not men at all,

but gods.
It is my favorite story –
how the old couple
had almost nothing to give

but their willingness
to be attentive
but for this alone
the gods loved them

and blessed them –
when they rose
out of their mortal bodies,
like a million particles of water

from a fountain,
the light
swept into all the corners
of the cottage,

and the old couple,
shaken with understanding,
bowed down –
but still they asked for nothing

but the difficult life
which they had already.
And the gods smiled, as they vanished,
clapping their great wings.

from Mary Oliver, Mockingbirds

3 thoughts on “Hidden depths

  1. Beautiful piece. It is the essence of mindfulness. We can only see the extraordinary blessings available to us in this present moment. The more mindful we are, the more blessed we feel.

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