Good Bones of a Life Well Lived

Written by Maria Sirois
August 13, 2023

In her stunning poem, Good Bones, Maggie Smith writes, “…the world is at least fifty percent terrible, though I keep this from my children…and for every kind stranger, there is one who would break you…I am trying to sell them the world.  Any decent realtor, walking you through a real shithole, chirps on about good bones: this place could be beautiful right? You could make this place beautiful.”  (For the incredible entire poem: https://www.poetryfoundation.o…)

And she is not wrong. This world is terrible (though I might fight her on the percentage) and it is beautiful and it is up to us to build those good bones…and chirp on about them as if they matter just as much, if not more, than the crap laying about on the broken boards of our towns. Because they do.  

The good bones, what sustains us amidst the chaos and horror and relentless crazy of this time, are clear:  positive connections, moments of respite, creativity and generativity, kindness, beauty within and without, generosity, excellence in demeanor and in accomplishment, kinship, care and meaning. 

The Rumi quote above is one of the bones of the life I have built.  It calls forth in me a drive toward purpose, toward spirit, toward connection and it gets me out of bed.  On the days I cannot be a lamp of wisdom or a lifeboat of help, I can at least root myself in the ground and let others climb over my shoulders to see the gardens beyond. If nothing else, in the surround of caca, I can build my life on these bones.

What, in this time, are the bones of your living?  The scaffolding within you and around you that steadies you and inspires you to keep going?  And what, dear one, are the bones you are helping to build in those near to your heart?

Maggie Smith isn’t wrong and she is absolutely right in leaving us with a question worth living into:  this place could be beautiful, right?  We can make this place beautiful.

Love, Maria

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