Archive for April, 2021

Everyone has a story

Friday, April 30th, 2021

While visiting my friend Karla, I read an article about Mother Rivers who lives at over 101 years of age on Hilton Head Island! She is a respected elder who credits her longevity to her life principles: “It’s important,” Mother shared, “It’s important to make sure you give your body a rest. God can’t work on your body if you don’t allow yourself to rest. Remember to give one day to the Lord. Always think about other people and share what you have. Remember to treat people like you want to be treated. And always do the right thing the best way that you know how.” In 2019, Mother Rivers celebrated her 100th birthday while ruminating, “I feel good… I must have done some good somewhere down the line. I just put all of my trust in the Lord.”

Looks like we won’t get too much from the infrastructure bill. The President offered a rousing speech on using government money to raise up families, repair bridges and rehab water systems among other declining systems in America, but the “opposition” in a sense offered the advice that nothing is really wrong and we aren’t going to spend money on it. So pray we don’t crumble. We have heard that the rich get richer and the rest of us are OK. I wonder what the people living in slums think about that. Go to the part of town none of us go safely into at night. Look at their poor stores, neighborhoods, and homes. Thank God for mothers and families who forced us to pursue education and good jobs. Try to live as Mother Rivers advised: “Always think about other people and share what you have. Remember to treat people like you want to be treated. And always do the right thing the best way that you know how.” God bless us. Angels with us.

A still small voice

Monday, April 26th, 2021

In Karla’s garden: Shades of green and yellow in a large ginger bush interrupted by a touch of red geranium coming up in the ginger’s midst. A blue green frog sitting with his back against a pine tree trunk. He’s thinking deep thoughts! A large white egrit across the lagoon pecks at the pine straw. A bright red cardinal with red beak joins a small brown bird at the bird feeder, woops, 2 small brown birds at the bird feeder. They all peck at the seed and then, swoop! they move on. South Carolina blue sky with a margin of pine tree tops overhead and I am reminded of the osprey love making we witnessed at the top of one of those pine trees! St Francis stands quietly praying in the corner in a patch of sunlight. Life feels good here in Karla’s garden. We have spoken of the past hurts and not so long ago nightmares we encountered while we drink wine at this little garden table. We have spoken of hurts that could have taken us down, but strong, praying, resilient, we emerged to celebrate life with Vivaldi playing on the little cylinder called Alexa. “We got this,” is our chant. If you don’t have a space like this, try to set out a table with a few comfy chairs, a bird feeder (they will come!), and wind chimes. At the market in Lake Placid you can get wind chimes made of forks! Listen! Hear it? A still small whisper, “My peace I leave with you! My peace I give you.” God bless us. Angels with us.

Retreat is good!

Saturday, April 24th, 2021

I am visiting my friend I went to Barry college with. We were both English majors and she wanted to be a journalist but became an English teacher. I went on to take Masters in English and became an English teacher. Poetry never leaves my mind and I think that is why I lean toward the gentle and the beautiful. Keats wrote, “Beauty is Truth, and Truth is Beauty.” I always stop and smell flowers, gaze at clouds, and I mourne the loss of life and gentleness. Here on retreat, Karla plays classical music, Vivaldi just finished… I woke up with a poem in my mind. Something about Lara, Jupiter “overshadowing her” and written by Keats. This was stimulated by, while on our 4pm walk, we witnessed 2 osprey “doing it” amidst a great clashing of wings and wild cries in a tall pine while we watched from below. We finally left them to their love making, and we walked on. But in my dreams, the poem came. Now to find it!

I woke up at 820am to find Karla having already walked for an hour, at her computer. So I poured a cup of coffee and settled in at my computer to find the poem. She remembered it… but neither of us could identify it. I scoured Keats and found Ode on a Grecian Urn and remembered Truth is Beauty… but couldn’t find “Lara and Jupiter.” I kept googling (what a marvelous search engine google is!) and it came up! “Leda and the Swan” by WB Yeats. My brain was close with Lara, Jupiter, and Keats! Leda was a young girl who was violently raped by Zeus who left her after impregnating her, dropping her from his “indifferent beak.” Her child, Helen (of Troy), sparked the Trojan War and “Agamemnon dead.” We then traveled in memory to another Yeats poem of similar dramatic quality called “The Second Coming.” It is also about the violent stimulous of war as “what rough beast slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.” I offer these two poems to you to read. They are easily found courtesy of google. Both poems predict our loss of innocence and gentility… Our loss of Christ in many hearts.

As Karla and I talk and come upon one seemingly hopeless situation after another, all we can do, we say, is pray. My sister Sarah said the same, “Susie, what can I do except keep my own balance and try to walk straight.” I agree. God bless us as we pray for our own balance.

Music that soothes the soul

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

Oboe concerto by Brahams, Pachelbel’s concerto, and many others soothe and stimulate in the same way. I listen to Music Choice all day (country music; and I sing along) but today I am visiting friend Karla who now lives in Hilton Head. I can’t sing along to piano and oboe and maybe that is more soothing. It’s possible that a country song that I sing along to keeps my practical brain awake…. There’s lots of “stories” in country music, and I wonder if the story part of our brain is different from the “just beautiful” part of our brain? I’m not sure, but I think I will research that. I intuitively think that music without words often causes us to relax. Today is Shakespeare’s birthday. Somehow this led me to quote a line from a poem that I love “I wandered through fields of golden daffodils.” When we remembered the poem was by William Wordsworth (Karla remembered it was Wordsworth) I went and looked it up. Turns out it is really, “I wandered lonely as a cloud.” In reading the poem we discovered “Fields of Golden Daffodils” is a lovely image for me.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

I have always loved daffodils. My mother called them Jonquils. What soothes us can often be as simple as that!

What is soothing to us? We need to know this in a world growing more chaotic every day. Karla repeated something that my sister Sarah and niece Erin said to me. When the President came on TV on the night the Chauvin jury was sequestered he was soothing… He is sincere, humble, and grandfatherly. We can tell “the President” our fears and troubles, and I get the feeling he will not put me off. I have been praying a lot for “our world.” Having faith that we are in God’s hands, but “it” still gets under our skin and irritates. “It” might be, people in our world getting killed by violence and by Covid. I received 2 emails today to pray for our church family members dying of Covid. “It” might be Financials, it’s tax season, and the Cable bill needs to be paid! It’s medical worries: “should I fix my teeth, my toes, or my…. ” you name it. It costs money. So… Lets give the worries a nod and then head out if possible (I don’t know if my sister visiting Idaho can get out yet!), but get out and find the clouds, flowers, breezes. Get to the water if you can! These are the beauties of our earth. Absolute beauties: things that never change because man’s hand cannot stop life from growing. Love, honor, justice, faith, never changing, always present. Ah! Present! In Luke 24:35, two disciples who saw the Resurrected Jesus on the way to Emmaus told how he “made himself known”. At that point that they believed the Lord Jesus is Present; they chose to believe he is with them, they relaxed and became fruitful. “Look! Touch! See!” says the Lord as he directs discussion to himself present in the world. As my sister Sarah said, ” Great photos of sunrise, make my brushes want to dance!” You go girls and boys! Let’s get those brushes and pens dancing. Angels with us!!!!

Canceled

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

I asked my friend what should I do to “be heard? to make a difference?” He said “To make a difference we must speak up. The problem is when we speak up we may be ‘canceled.’” I have “lost” several friends in the past year because I refuse to listen to the hot and critical rhetoric used in this past year, so my friends I have lost think I cancel them. No, it’s the ugly unsubstantiated criticism, Words and Attitude I’m canceling. I also will not tolerate the use of invective by anyone, especially someone of some stature making a speech. So just this last weekend at a “retreat” a political someone we all know called another political someone we all know “a dumb son of a bitch.” Yep, I just sullied my blog. It gets worse: He still criticizes the ex-Vice President for not fighting the certification of electoral college results. (Remember when War raged inside the Capitol building January 6, 2021 and he talked about a rigged election rather than sending in the National Guard to save our Capitol from outrage and death?) About his remarks…. His supporters say, “If they were reported accurately,” the remarks might hurt Republicans. So we might all be misreporting and lying about him saying, “Fauci is ‘full of crap.’” Is he full of crap who is concerned about all of us lining up to end the pandemic and get shots? 6 people out of over 6 million got sick with blood clots that “might” have been caused by the vaccine. Fauci says “wear a mask; get vaccinated.” I have been maligned at least twice by asking people to social distance… They reply, “It’s not ordered here in Florida” (Thank you Governor…) … I didn’t say it, “You need a law to protect yourself and others?” After you finish washing this blog out with soap, please read on!

Remember when we used to ask: “What would Jesus do?” Jesus realized how weak we are so he kept coming back after the Resurrection and showing his hurt hands and side. “Here, put your hand in the hole in my side,” he said to Thomas. “Here, eat some bread with me.” He finally said he had to go to the Father, and St John wrote: “that which we have seen and touched… Word of Life made manifest… we proclaim to you.” Yet, we don’t grasp the moment of Grace we are offered. Do I whisper “Lord, I trust in you” or do I mouth ugliness and bad news. The Nation is crumbling and maybe we deserve it. We who don’t seek the good news need to step back and say, “What can I do?” My friend wants me to criticize Biden for “allowing” the surge at the border and I say, “It’s been surging for years.” Nope, it’s Biden’s fault” Life in filthy mud is awful and life in the United States looks a lot better. Chuck and I have taken “tours” through many foreign islands and i have been sad at the dirt and mud. Our streets are paved, and we have sidewalks and toilets. Many don’t. Many do not have running water. Yet they have their babies and mix powdered milk with water from a dirty looking bucket they carried from a spigot. Is there anything we can do for our brothers rather than just build walls? We can put up obstacles to keep people out, and we can shutter up to keep the dirt and hunger out, or we can give from our bounty. We sit in silence. Oh wait, no we don’t. We yell at our leaders and we block any efforts to rebuild our own broken country. Are we waiting for more riots? Are we waiting for a big overcrowded crumbling bridge to collapse? Grace abounds in this Easter Season, yet we act like dirty children hugging our toys and not letting the poor children play. Consider the never changing Absolutes of Love, Honor, Justice, Faith, Truth. In John 18:37, Why do you think Jesus didn’t answer Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” Because Jesus knew we wouldn’t listen, but Grace will help us listen. Listen to Luke 24: 13 ff: “Did not your heart burn within you when you heard the Word spoken?” What was that Word? “Blessed are the Merciful… Blessed are the Peacemakers… Be salt and Light.” Read Matthew 5 and Listen… What we can do is there. It’s in a gentle whisper. Can you hear it? God bless us. God be with us.