I’m working on building my gratitude muscles keeping them firm and steady. The first line of the poem “Two Weeks After a Silent Retreat” by Heather Lanier gives a gentle indictment of the times I lose my love, even if for a heartbeat.

Lanier’s poem is one of many beautiful insights collected by  James Crews in How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. He places a reflective pause after each group of poems. For The Kingdom at Hand, Crews draws on a poem by Heather Lanier, “Two Weeks After a Silent Retreat.” 

“Two Weeks After a Silent Retreat”

How quickly I lose my love
of all things, I nearly flick an ant
off the cliff of an armchair . . .

The prompt

“Think back to a time when you brought yourself back to the moment at hand and found the world vivid and lovable again. You might begin with Lanier’s first line, ‘How quickly I lose  my love’ and see where that leads you.” 


I have moments of full recognition when I know my actions have steered off a loving path. But the moments that haunt me are the ones I only realize after the fact, in retrospect—those times when words or behavior slighted another living sentient being. I can’t take it back or have a do-over. The damage is done.


How quickly I lose my love when I am stressed, worried, hurt, and angry. I can pinpoint those transgressions. I can attribute a mood, an emotion that triggered the loss of love of all things. The more insidious failures in love come from not holding and giving my full attention to the presence and needs of others. 

I have a new question or mantra. 

How will I stay present, maintain reverence, and keep love and kindness flowing?

A Poem

Losing love
happens in a  moment
shards of glass—broken—trust, relationship
mending takes time and
staying present.

Quote by Maya Angelou of a grey background with black lettering:We need joy as we need air. We need love as we need water. We need each other as we need the earth we share. I photo of a mountain stream is on the right side in a circular frame

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

Photo: © Kathryn LeRoy