Joy and gratitude are the subjects of many popular books. There are workshops on grief and anger and a library of literature on depression. And yet disappointment sits in the corner, a much neglected feeling. This neglect is surprising given that there is so much potential for disappointment in the United States.
Ever since Nietzsche made his famous pronouncement, theologians have wrung their hands over the metaphorical death of God. Yet what if God’s death were no metaphor? What if it were a documented event headlining every newspaper and covered incessantly by every television news channel in the world? What would happen to our world? To us?
The work of Mary Oliver is one of those rare and lovely convergences. She is a lyric artist with a riveted eye and an enormous heart, one of the nation’s great spiritual sentinels. She was also graced for more than 40 years with the love of her life, the late photographer Molly Malone Cook.