The poet Mary Oliver asks, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Because people are always learning and their life situations shift, it is normal to want to be and to do something different. For example: siblings Sharon and Jane were only 16 months apart. They shared everything until Sharon started to “spread her wings.” She told her dad that she knew better what she needed than he did. Tumultuous times followed because neither one would give in. Often the seeker’s actions are labeled rebellious, foolish, selfish or wrong, causing a power struggle. Their desires may change other people’s routines and be resented. How can God’s command to “love one another as I have loved you” help us? In Sharon’s situation, instead of assuming or judging, family members could listen and communicate so they understand her needs. Sometimes the helpers may be able to suggest a compromise or offer to rearrange responsibilities and tasks. They will respect and support her right to plan what to do with her wild and precious life.
By Mary Jane Berger, OSB