Monday, March 3, 2008

Urgent to Marilyn

This is another poem by Carol Lynn Pearson that I love; I posted one a while ago, and said I would post more, so for lack of creativity and any ready pictures for my other posting ideas, you get to be graced by the presence of this wonderful poet instead! (I'm sure you wished that all along didn't you?)
Urgent to Marilyn

Marilyn had a job-
Working out her salvation.
It wasn't nine to five.
It was nine to nine
In twenty-four-hour shifts.

And there was no vacation,
And in case she should get fired
Nobody else was hiring,
So Marilyn worked hard
And she worked fast
And she worked in fear.

The boss was away a lot
And Marilyn wondered
If he liked her work,
And not knowing, she worked harder.
She did everything on every list
Twice over to make sure.

She didn't have much fun
On the job.
It was more the retirement
Benenfits she was there for,
The mansion, the glory.

On a typical day
She ran frantically
From the visual aid department
To the wheat-grinding
And quilting department
To the grow your own
Vegetables department
And the sew your own
Children's clothing department
And the physical fitness

She even stopped running
Past the genealogy department
And locked herself in
Until she got something done.

And then she ran
To the food storage department,
Ran with scriptures
On casette (I-Pod) in hand,
Ran because there were Twenty-two minutes left to fill,
Ran past the boss's memo
On the bulletin board:

"Urgent to Marilyn:
Peace, be still."

What do you think of this poem?
One part that stands out to me is when it says that she didn't really enjoy her job and was just working for retirement benefits; I had a conversation a while ago with a friend who described how her religion focused on making the most out of now, and that it seemed that in the LDS church, we mostly just focused on getting the most out of life after death. I didn't have a great response then, but I thought about it later and thought, you know what? - I love my beliefs and religion because unlike what she thought, it actually teaches me to make the most out of now while also preparing for wonderful blessings after this life. So I can see what Pearson is saying when she says the woman was working only for retirement - I want to make sure I'm working for happiness (not temporal bad decision happiness, but pure happiness) now and later. Also, I noticed how it says 'she worked in fear'. We might be a God-fearing people, but more than that I ultimately want to work out of love, love for my fellow men and Heavenly Father. "Men are that they might have joy" - I think this goes along with my thoughts, working for happiness now and for life after death, as well as working out of a motivation of love & charity - which ultimately blesses us with joy.

What are your thoughts?


Sara said...

So...I'm pretty opinionated - here's my take on it from a different angle: I used to hate the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. So lame and unfair that everyone was paid the same, even though some worked all day and others only an hour. That was a time that I would have agreed with this poem - BUT, I have since felt strongly that there are many blessings and great safety, security, peace and happiness that come from being inside the vineyard and not wandering in the streets looking for purpose.

At times, I relate to the poem and what your friend said about us living for life after death, but that's not when I'm really, truly living the gospel - just going through the motions to get by.

The incredible joy and peace I can feel now by living the gospel will only multiply after death when we are raised to incorruption. Happiness doesn't start after death. It starts here and continues there.

And I'm done.

Breanne said...

If I understand you, I think we are actually on the same page - like you said, happiness should start her and multiply/continue after death.

I agree that we have a tendency to interpret our gospel falsely in our actions - where we start living like it's only for the rewards after this life. And we start running around frantically like the woman in this poem. We should work VERY hard now and will receive blessings for it, but sometimes I think we're so stuck on doing EVERYTHING, that we miss the very rewards & purposes in our efforts, & we forget to be still sometimes. I think the poet is criticizing our tendency to only 'look to retirement' instead of looking at life now and for retirement. And then most of all, of course, she is just reminding us to 'be still'. We can miss a lot of listening & growing opportunities if we don't stop to be still and feel peace.

It's all a fine balancing act I guess.

... Perfect comment Sara! Love the thoughts. Anyone else?

Sara said...

oh, yes, you said it much better than me (please note my comment was posted WAY past my bedtime). I LOVE Carol Lynn Pearson's poems. She's so good about telling it the way it is - the way that a woman sees the world most of the time.

Shannon said...

My thoughts on this poem and your thoughts as well as Sara's thoughts: AMEN! So pensive and I love it! Very profound.

Janalee said...

So to sum it up: Enjoy the journey?

As I muddle through the day to day of childcare, I always tell myself that everyone says these are the best years when they're young so enjoy them. So I try to absorb it and relish it so I don't have regrets. But man, bedtime sure is the best part of the day.

Breanne said...

I suppose that sums a lot of it up, if we assume that includes being still once in a while (which seemed to be Pearson's main point).