Tuesday, January 31, 2012

no words

There could not be two more different people in the world then my friend Kris and I.We are of different generations, politics, beliefs but there is some purpose,beyond joy, to our connection that will be revealed in time.She follows my blog and inspires me with her photography and her glorious smile.Because of her,and her generous heart,I started writing.She and my son dated for a few years more than a decade ago and here we were having lunch together last week.

Kris married her deeply loved fiance'last January and in June,on a business trip to New York,at the age of 32 he passed away leaving her bowed but unbroken.When we visited the couple in Puerto Rico in March of that year and had Sangria and laughs,I never guessed that she would be moving back to Atlanta soon after.Did her spirit know that she would soon need family and friends?

Matters of faith never enter our conversations so I was greatly surprised when I found myself asking this question,"Where do you think that Kris (her husband)is now?
She smiled and said that both she and Kris are non-believers,they are scientists and she thinks that he is gone,nowhere, and she is fine with that.We discussed Near Death Experiences and eventually left and hugged good-bye.This is what happened the next morning.
....From Kris:"I woke up this morning and found myself drawn to my bookshelf.My hand reached for a poetry book that I flipped open to a random page...and this is what I read:

Soaring Song

Yes-even after my death
you shall not escape me.
Re-incarnate,I'll follow you
in the eyes of every hawk,
every falcon,vulture ,eagle
that soars in whatever sky
you walk beneath
all the earth over,
yes-and when you die too,
and follow me into that deep
dark burning delirious blue
and become like me-
a kind of bird,a feathered thing-
why,then I'll seek you out
ten thousand feet above the sea;
and far beyond the world's rim
we'll meet and clasp and couple
close to the flaming sun
and scream the joy of our love
into the blaze of death
and burn like angels
down through the stars
past all the suns
to the world's beginning again".Edward Abbey

Saturday, January 28, 2012

in this wood...

journal notes 1-28-12

...the rustle of the Beech leaves,like beige paper that is much too unique to fall to the forest floor.I hear and appreciate you.Shiver and show us your disdain for the brisk wind.Stubborn ferns, still green and poking up to gain the sun's notice.

Is this a pew that I sit in and listen to the crow choir?Is this wood a chapel?I know this-it calls me to worship as though it were a loud bell tolling in a tower.

The forest floor is littered with the seeds of the next generation of oaks,scattered carelessly,half hidden by dead leaves.No one stayed up all night planning this or helped it along.The acorns grew,fell and if they are in a happy spot,they will send down green shoots into the rich soil.Transformation.

...the flood plain spreads out before me with its broken timber and pools of water.When I look from here,it seems that if I started walking I would see nothing but trees to the Pacific.That illusion is all I need.

When I am in the woods,listening,my pen travels the page with a spryness as if the ink has melted into glittery paint.But, I have to sit quietly for fifteen minutes or so before this happens.My inside skin and mind have to settle into the sacred before this change occurs.My pen seems to know when it's happening.

Today,by chance,I found something from a kindred soul who wandered around the woods in the 12th century.Maybe I am on the right track here:" "I have no other Masters but the Beeches and Oaks.".St.Bernard of Clairvaux

Friday, January 27, 2012


Last week-end my husband and I took a trip on blue country roads to Forsyth,Georgia , where there is a furniture store that has discards from motel and hotel chains throughout the country.We were looking for a dinette set to replace the one we gave our son who moved North last year.We were unlucky in that pursuit but found something else for five dollars that landed in our truck before you could shout,"Favorite flowers"!

It was a large framed picture of a window(love them)draped with a lace curtain(those,too)and hanging from the outside was a window box(wow).Cascading down the front of the box are nasturtiums,(heaven)and other flowers.Of course,since it was five dollars, the frame was beat up but that is not of great concern in the affairs of the heart.

We took it home,my husband painted over the frame with gold paint and there it is in it's wonderfully banged up state;reminder of a lovely day in the country and a gift from my Mother.

When I was ten, I asked my Mother for a dollar to buy flower seeds.I bought three packs;marigolds,bachelor buttons and nasturtiums.I had never seen the last but the picture of the flowers on the pack was bright and happy looking.I followed the directions and within a short time, the rich Long Island dirt yielded a shoot and eventually I had much watched buds and then flowers.Dazzling flowers.This may have been my first creative act.There is no greater satisfaction.

While reading last night I came across the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi.Wabi Sabi is an appreciation of the beauty of things imperfect,impermanent and incomplete.When the Japanese want a bowl that is in the spirit of Wabi Sabi, they make sure that it has a defect,perhaps one side lower than the other.I found out something further about this concept."If an object or expression can bring about within us a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be Wabi Sabi." Andrew Juniper.

This idea,for some unknown reason, excites me.So I will let my thoughts go to where the Spirit leads.I believe that we come from Perfection and one day ,we return.In the interim, we are here in this obviously imperfect world.What we do here matters.What we do in this vale of tears.Since this is a pain filled world of imperfect health,people,circumstances, our task is to stand in the breach and try to bring balance with our goodness and faith.

We are commanded in Scripture to be perfect as the Father is perfect.I think it means that we are children of God and we are to become what He has perfectly set for us to do on this flawed globe we trod.Since he is love, that is what we are to become,perfect love.

My lumpy bell, scratched frame,rusted coil all speak to me of the imperfect that has such beauty.Perhaps,I have come to love these things because as I have aged,I am so much more gentle with myself and my many flaws and those of others.There are lessons in the imperfect that I want to learn.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


picture by Stephanie de Bourgies

Do you have an altar where you are?A place that speaks to you of setting aside some time to dip into mystery?If you could see mine, you would scratch your head and look at me pityingly.

I have a thin glass vase that holds round,colored stones from Iona,the holy island off the Scottish coast.They were on the beach at the end of the island where a labyrinth was created.The shore is littered with them and I have never seen such rocks.I have a green and red one in my palm now.There is a black and white one the size of a goose egg and a few others of pink and white.

I earned those stones by walking through hill and dale and over piles of cow and sheep droppings to get to the labyrinth.It was there,as I walked ,that the Lord spoke in a way that I will never forget:"Don't worry about anything.I am in charge." I felt my shoulders sag,face muscles give as if a massage had been administered.Amazing experience of peace.

The table that holds my oddities was sold to me by a woman in Woodstock,New York.It cost ten dollars and looks like it is worth much less.Chipped dark paint,unsteady on its feet,it is my altar.The store is no longer in use now although we look when we drive by but I will never forget sitting on a bench near my purchase hearing "Georgia On My Mind" sung by the owner on a guitar with a bubbling creek behind.Can you say that about any table you own?Holy object.

I have a dear friend who has a special spot by a window where she places flowers for a departed loved one.Most sacred space.

The ship bell,the praying,red wooden girl,the red ornament on the rusted spring,and an old cross that belonged to the Grandmother I never knew,completes the arrangement on my altar.It never fails to please me to look at the objects that speak to me so clearly of a deeper life than the one that we see.

What would you put on your altar?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


At the Basilica Of St.Francis in Assisi, there is a priest whose duty appears to be one thing.Every few minutes, as the din from the voices of many tourists becomes annoying, he says,"Silencio".Poor man with a hopeless task.Not hard to know what he is requesting.I have to say that I appreciated his efforts because I didn't travel thousands of miles to talk but to soak in the sacredness and it was difficult with the noise.Talking to and hearing from the Spirit,for me ,requires some quiet.

Ans so again,with snake proof boots on and an extraordinarily blue sky above,I went to the river.I wrote:

..."the log holds a writer who comes as a witness to silence.Just water,trees and bird trills.Nothing else is here but an emptiness that feeds me.The sun wraps its rays around my face and hands and glistens on the brown water.

This is the solitude that poets and saints yearn for.Only the birds are busily present.A Barred Owl and something else explode in sound across the river.This must have aroused the cows to complain but only for a minute and all is still again.

If God is in silence then just listen to this.....

There is one lone Beech that refuses to drop its leaves and they stand out in tan/beige among all the other bare trees.A very strange green bush is growing out there in the water from a dead log. Floating by, heading South,a brown leaf turned sideways.Alone,drifting.

The area on my side of the river used to be a farmland.There are still places where rusted barbed wire is strung between the pines to keep in long gone cattle.Those farmers and cows are gone and one day this log will no longer have a writer to perch."Just an old sweet song....."

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I follow a lovely blog called the 60 Second Sabbath.Some of the writings are so inspired and imaginative that I just sit in awe as I read.The pictures that Dirk posts are also a free gift given-just so beautiful.Today's post was about dying of tenderness and as I read I thought of times when I might have given tenderly.

That November afternoon of loss and sadness,I sat in my sister's hospital room,her leaving foretold.She ate very little and it was difficult for her to find comfort as all her bodily functions were failing.That afternoon, she requested that I feed her some cool,red jell-o.I think it soothed her somehow.Privileged,I began slowly to spoon some into her mouth and with each feeding,I whispered a prayer.She smiled and we connected over this humble act.It was simple,long overdue tenderness.

In Honduras, on a mission trip in 2003, my job was to prick fingers for a diabetes check.It seemed to me that many of the people who came had little gentleness in their lives and so as I swabbed the finger I caressed them with the cotton ball in a soft manner-that was all I could do.

I think of my granddaughter's soft cheek kiss and "I love you,Nana" and I melt
inside.The other day at Mass, a friend who sat behind me,who I haven't seen for awhile,rubbed my back before we began.What a gift gestures like that are.

We feel tenderness towards others and it is also an act we can chose."He is like a shepherd...gathering lambs in his arms,holding them against his breast".Mt.40:9-11
Have you felt that?It may have been delivered by someone else.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

the sound of a bell

I have a small collection of bells that began when I bought one in an antique shop in Denver in the '70s.I picked one up in a thrift shop in Aberdeen in September of 2010 and I saw one recently on e-bay that held it's little brass arms out to me.It came today from Texas and as I hold it,I think that it was handmade.It is lumpy and off;I see an artisan working on it.This bell maker must have loved the sea because sitting atop the bell is a ship, perhaps one that sailed the Nile.It has a deep satisfying ring that trills on for awhile.

On top of the ship is a tiny cross which I didn't notice at all on e-bay.Ah,what a find.After I put it on my altar of other oddities,I wrote this is my journal:

"This ship bell speaks to me of letting lose and flying off into a spiritual space.How will that sailing be?What shape will it take? Take me with you ship, as my prayers,thoughts and emptiness change the way I view the world."

Imagine my delicious surprise when I read this today from Thomas Merton:"Last night before going to bed,realized momentarily what solitude really means:when the ropes are cast off and the skiff is no longer tied to land,but heads out to sea without ties,without restraints!Not the sea of passion,on the contrary,the sea of purity and love that is without care,that loves God alone immediately and directly in itself as the All...."

arm in arm

The young girl shivers as she stands under the street lamp.Dressed warmly in black coat,red hat and scarf,her blue knees protrude as her legs are bare.She is in a school uniform and no pants are allowed.It is a February morning on Long island,the first day of Lent, and she awaits her friend from the next block to join her for the bitter cold six block walk to church for morning mass.

The thin morning light is barely coming into this quiet suburb when her friend joins her;they link arms and off they go.It is the 1950s, and no one worries that these girls will be accosted or snatched up as they walk.

For Lent,these two eleven year olds have chosen this as their sacrifice:getting up at 6:30 A.M. every morning for six weeks to walk to Mass.A few of the neighborhood boys said they would as well but they never lasted.Truth be known, the girls never made it past three weeks.That they made it that long amazes me now.This spiritual adventure and challenge was accomplished because there were two of them.Neither would have done this alone.They kept each other going.I can hear their voices,:"We can do this."Neither girl wanted to disappoint the other so on they trudged.After Mass,they would go home,get books and walk two blocks to the school bus.

Those girls now have grey woven through their hair and are grandmothers.Instead of a block away,they are a state away from each other.The older of the two,by three months, has a website that holds her thoughts on the road to the Holy One.The younger reads those thoughts daily and adds her own deep and sacred thoughts with Scripture that nourishes.

Through generous,amazing grace,my friend and I are still arm and arm,helping each other on the road to the One.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

startling bright day

Who among us deserves a day like today ?It was 32 degrees when I bundled up with many layers,a blue knit hat and black gloves.Off I went in the silence of our subdivision ,walked and then ran for a half mile.How exhilarating!I came back with achievement written on my brow and more energy then when I stepped out.

I missed going back to the river because of other things to be done, but maybe tomorrow.The other day on the way back from my private retreat on the log,I was within five feet of stepping on a sunning curled up cottonmouth.Would this be the thing to keep me from going to my new prayer spot overlooking the Flint?I called my son in Pennsylvania and he sounded disappointed that I would let this stop me.He said,"I have stepped on at least two and they won't bite unless you stand there.Wear boots", and I will.

When we first moved here, I used to go out in the canoe by myself and drift around for hours,enjoying the peace until so many people told me it was dangerous.Why?You might fall out, drown, encounter snakes and on and on.Blech!!!

Today, while reading Thomas Merton,the Trappist monk's, writings I found this:"I need very much this silence and this snow.Here alone I can find my way because here alone the way is right in front of my face and it's God's way for me-there really is no other".That is what I was trying to say the other day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

a poet speaks to an icon

"Poetry gives voice to what has no voice and form to what has no form and creates the illusion of possession."I love this description by the award winning British poet Sally Read.I wish to read her poems,this young star in the literary world, but I bring her up because of a co-incidence.

The other day, I wrote about Howard Storm who has become a believer and a minister after a near death experience.He told his tale on a TV show, and then the interviewer asked what advice he would give to anyone listening.Breaking down visibly, he said,"Just ask Jesus to help you.That's all and wait.Even if you don't believe."

The next day,co-incidentally,I found a conversion story on line that touched my heart.This is the lead-in information:For almost all of her 40 years, a Suffolk-born psychiatric nurse-turned published poet and passionate atheist felt little but contempt for Catholicism.But then,in less than a year,after a springtime epiphany, she was received into the Church.This is her journey.

It is a long story but in the process of writing a snarky book about vaginas, Sally Read,came in contact with a priest and her questions and his answers caused great turmoil within her.There is more to the story but once in a church that she wandered into, this happened:"In that church was an icon of Christ and,prayerless,I would simply look at him.It was on one of those occasions that I spoke aloud to the face and asked for help.There was no visual or aural hallucination,or anything as a poet,I can use as a metaphor to tell what happened.The nearest I can come to describing it is to say that it felt like someone walked into the room that I recognized........I had and have no doubt that it was the presence of Christ...."

This is exactly how my spiritual journey started,a non-believer, who asked for help from a God that I didn't know existed.In the dark,in the night,in a church,in a seat by a window,in bright sunlight, He will take any crumb of turning.

Monday, January 16, 2012

on the Flint

Eternity is the water of this river,headed slowly,minute movement, to the Gulf of Mexico.The stand of pines and deciduous trees breath,the river breaths and moves and ripples with the wind.They speak of forever,
being solid,standing,moving,
being alive.It fills,changes,leafs out,rushes and stands.

The Indians saw this and named it Thronateeska,flint colored.I wish the name hadn't been discarded.I see it as they did,constant,unworried,unhurried in all its changes.Being here now,I am quiet,no band, no show.

For some reason New year's Eve in New York comes to mind.That screaming throng down below the TV stand.Then into my thought pops Justin Bieber.By all accounts, he is a decent kid,and he is being introduced to Carlos Santana.The young performer is gushing now, the obligatory praise that may be deserved,who knows ?How many times will this kid have to do this whether it is true or not ?How many times will he have to do this little head fake and be untrue to himself?

Here,no applause is necessary.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

a writer's seat

Journal Notes 1-14-12

...perched above the Flint River on a smooth writer's seat that used to be a strong shade tree.Perfect spot for musing.This log is interesting with its well spaced holes and curves.

It's quiet other than the breeze rustling the leaves and the woodpeckers screeching and tapping.It's quite cold and I wouldn't be here if the sun wasn't so inviting.

Wind ripples the Flint.The ducks who flew off left their good-bye wake.Tall tree trunks across the river are reflected in the brown/grey water.Some parts of my long seat touch the water,making slight waves.A small downy with a blood red spot on top lands right on the tree next to me,cheeps,looks and leaves.Now, he's tapping along with the Pileated woodpecker to my right.This is the woods choir I hear.

Slow, meandering river, a palette of muted colors reflected in the water.Tan,grey,brown,always shimmering,moving and even the bright blue sky is muted by the Flint's brown.I love these earth tones.The slanting sun's rays point to what I should capture with my lens.A spot through the trees across the river that looks like bright blue tissue paper is just a framed piece of sky.One tree across the way,very tall, bare except for large puffs of mistletoe.

And so it is:

Downy woodpecker,
You tap,I sit and listen
Different ways to be.

Friday, January 13, 2012

oh ,my,............

I keep bumping into the story of Steve Jobs's,the co-founder and CEO of Apple,dying moments.He was surrounded by loved ones and as his life was slipping away,he was looking above them and kept saying,with no explanation:"Oh,My"...over and over.

Why does this intrigue me?

Perhaps because I keep encountering stories of near death experiences.I first became aware of this phenomenon years ago with the Raymond Moody books,in which the author documents interviews with people about their experiences after they had been declared dead.The tunnel, light, calm and peace.Not all experienced this but many.

Today,on Facebook was an interview with the former Chairman of the Art Department at Northern Kentucky University.I had read his book,"Descent Into Death," a few years ago and it is riveting.He died in a Paris Hospital and describes in vivid detail what happened next and it wasn't pretty.

This witness comes right after my friend Wes described his experience of deep calm and peace and hearing an unknown voice telling him to go back after he had died.I think that because of modern medicine, this happening is becoming so common that it is called just NDE.

The interviewer asked the former professor if it all seemed like a dream.I was struck by his answer."No,this is the dream.What is there is more vivid ,concrete,more real."
He got teary(this experience was many years ago)when he related that, because of this experience, he knows that God is about Love and wanting our love and nothing else.He is now a United Church of Christ minister.

I wonder about all this.My friend,Wes, was a non-church goer;Howard Storm,the professor, was an athiest and Steve Jobs wasn't a believer that I know of.What did he see?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

winter sun

The barely yellow sliver of sun is going behind some bluish clouds in the distance.The trees are waving in the cold wind and this is the beauty for today.
When I look out my window in that direction, it is as if I can see forever and the clouds are far away mountains.At their feet is the Flint River,unobserved in its passage.

I didn't expect to find beauty in the Goodwill store where I look for books but at the check-out was the most delightful sound granted to man.A small boy of about five was playing with a wheeled toy and each time it whirled away from him, he broke out in sheer contagious happiness.

And if this was not enough, a sixty year old Chinese photographer,Keren Su, spent his winter days crawling out on the ice of a group of Eastern Canadian islands and spent enough freezing hours to bless us with the attached photo.A friend sent this.I guess it was his beauty for the day and now it's ours.Can you keep from smiling back?

What beauty did you find today?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

red ornament day

A few years ago, my husband and I sold my family's summer home in the Catskill mountains to my nieces.We kept some acres but the old farm house that afforded so many wonderful childhood memories,is no longer mine.

So many changes have taken place in the eighty plus years that have passed since my grandmother bought the house in the 1930s.Incredibly enough,in 2010, tropical storm Nicole flooded the stream on the property and the huge boulders disappeared.These had been my touchstones since I was a baby.In one of my most meaningful dreams,I am sitting on one of those rocks.Only one thing seems to remain.An old glider still sits rusting, on the sceened-in porch.No one can seem to bring themselves to ditch this icon of summer afternoons swaying with a cool August breeze.

When I left the Catskills in 2011, I took an old rusted spring that was under the glider serving no purpose and brought it home.My only piece of a much loved old house.My red Christmas ornament proudly sits on top of the coiled brown spring.They both look like they belong in the dump but I love to see them there.

The other day my husband and I were in an IHOP in Dawsonville.It was quiet,clean and very pleasant as was our helpful waitress.As we were leaving ,I asked for the manager.Employees never know what that is going to mean, so many hovered around nervously.When she came out, I told her about our very good experience with specifics and she glowed.I almost got teary.In the parking lot, I thought of my red heart love resolution and smiled.I was actually doing it and it felt like joy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

looking for beauty

It is easy to be seduced by nature's beauty when,with wild laughter,Spring is prancing around twirling her veils of daffodil yellow, Japanese cherry pink and Dogwood startling white.But how about the dreary grey and brown of today ?There is a mysterious drab fog in the woods.
As I gaze out the window,nothing stands out to catch my eye.

Perhaps the problem is the gazing with lazy vision ,with no intent of finding.My granddaughter,last Christmas ,found beauty in the crack of a sidewalk and an ice covered weed.She took the picture attached which I treasure and see through her eyes.

In January of 2007, I ordered a journal book called Pausing for Beauty.It has pages with spaces for writing,poems on the edges and a calendar.On each date,I entered something of the beauty that I had seen that day:"a patch of blue after much rain,pansies yellow faces in a grey bird bath,a John Muir quote,the poster at the conference showing Northern lights, marsh birds calling and in flight."

As I type this,I see and hear it again because once I took the time to look and write about it.

My journal says this about January:January is named for Janus the Roman god of doors and gateways.The original Roman calendar consisted of 10 months,304 days.The Romans originally considered winter a month less period.

Well, what does that mean,that it is a throwaway month because there is grey fog in the woods? This journal was my gateway to looking and living deeply,January.

On the second page I wrote this:"Today,if the world ended it would have been enough.To see the pines sway,other bare tree branches against the sky,the brilliant red of the bird....to have memories of summer nights at play under the maples.To have loved deeply and completely and have run with the wind....the laughter of children at play, and hugs at the end of the day.Some men live lives of quiet exultation,one must find out how."

I found a hint today.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

winter day

"If you wish to know the divine,feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand" Buddha

Journal notes 12-31-11

...Sun on my back,cool air on my cheek.It's two o'clock and a howl starts up.That's when the twelve stray puppies were fed yesterday;is the peaceful afternoon over?
I can hear them rustling in the leaves of the pen.

A glancing ray of sun brightens a fern frond that peeks out from behind a tall pine.A sparrow is in the tree above my bench ,sitting with a huge seed in her beak wondering what to do.A few others are preening in the other apple tree.Quiet work.Hawk way up in the still air,drifting,looking.A small wren is over by the house foraging among the leaves.Squirrels doggedly chasing each other around the pines.

I look over at the grass growing among the trees on the acre next to me, watch the sparrows pecking and for a minute I know that it's spring;the frond is still lit up, bright apple green.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

sit and open the door

In silence is the salvation of the world.In deep connection with the scared space within is the end of useless yearning.At peace with the trees bare around me.At home with only the rustle of the leaves.Watching,waiting in silence,I utter one holy word to bring my mind back to empty silence.And in this intention, a slight misty movement happens that is beyond my mind.An unseen,unheard ,invisible filling happens that is not noticed then ,only later.

I started Centering Prayer five years ago, drawn by a newsletter available on a retreat.I hold it in my hand right now,a treasure,a key to a life altering gift.Any movement on my part to be a more loving,accepting being,I attribute to this practise that comes down to us from the first Christians and is found in many other religions.

It is simple and requires no books or great intellect,just the will to be open to the movement of the Spirit.

There is such a hunger for this type of prayer although one may be unaware that it even exists.Do you desire silence,peace,solitude,goodness and a deeper awareness of God's presence?You may be hungering for this discipline without knowing it.I once held a teaching at our church on Centering Prayer and the room was packed which is unusual.Hunger.

"The longer you meditate,the longer you persevere through the difficulties and false starts,then the clearer it becomes to you that you have to continue if you are going to lead your life in a meaningful and profound way."John Main

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

you matter

My friend ,Ryan,wrote this on his blog the other day and it struck a chord with me:

"...by our mere appearance on this planet,we matter".It soothed me very much and sounded like something that I hung onto in my lonely teen-age years."You are a child of the universe,no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here...."The Desiderata.

That loneliness and wondering where I fit has happily left me along with many negative tapes that used to play in my head.When they left,at what exact moment, I do not know but I believe that it must have been when I let go of my will and handed it over to the Creator of that same universe.There was no flash of light or angel song but now my spirit has a certitude that it is loved,no,treasured.

In the spirit of red things,I wonder how I can help someone feel that they matter.
I think this is going to take some pondering on my part.I withhold love easily.I was taught that the worst thing was to make a fool of myself or wear my heart on my sleeve.The only thing that I can think of right now is to say,"Is there anything that I can do to help you?".That makes love real.Any suggestions?

Monday, January 2, 2012

the color red

Today,I added a small red Christmas ornament to my prayer altar as a reminder of what my call is to be in 2012.I am a person that needs reminders because I can easily slip into thoughtless living.2012 is an unopened package and I don't want to waste it.

My previous post spoke of red and this morning a brilliant, shining male cardinal landed on the frozen water in the bird bath as if to say,"Don't forget".It flew off before I could even smile.

There are a few special blogs that I read every day for sustenance.One writer,Ryan, suggested, after reading my yesterday's post,that we both look forward to the red of 2012,thus the ornament.His beautiful writing on Current Ripple has, more than once, led my thoughts deeper.This is how the spirit world works.

So,in the spirit of hearts,I called an old friend from 2006, the year that we spent in South Carolina directing a retreat house.She and her husband were travelling so I wrote a letter that I hope pleases her when she returns.This beautiful Englishwoman was a tower of strength and wisdom when my sister was dying.She took my sister,who she had never met,into her heart when she meditated each day and out of that she was able to help me tremendously.Sylvia,a perfect name for a crystal-like gift on the path.

When I ponder these words;"Let not kindness and fidelity leave you;bind them around your neck"(Proverbs 3:3),I see the warm fuzziness of a red scarf as the binding.I need visuals.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

what color are you today?

Are you sitting there exhausted in your robe of frumpy,dumpy,lazy brown?Are the special holidays over and you are thinking dark blue thoughts of loss or boredom?

What color are you today?

The New Year inevitably brings my thoughts back to 2011.How would I rate it? Will 2012 be better or worse? What did we lose last year;a job,a love, friend?Why is it always loss?

What color are you today?

I thought of all this while at Mass.I sat up front and was taken with the vibrant red of the forty plus poinsettias that lined the altar.The huge Christmas trees were bedecked with large shining red and golden globes.Such grand colors for so joyous a season.

Red is the heart color,that beating organ of care and love.It draws the eye and the soul can't help but warm.Red is the color of the aura around my husband when,once a week, he visits an elderly Army vet who is a shut-in.This soldier fought in WWII and now is mostly alone,his wife having passed away years ago.They laugh and tell Army stories and the time passes.

The Salvation Army kettle is red.

In February, we will send small Valentine cards to the many widows that we know whose hearts must ache on that day of love no longer here.One friend told me how excited she was to get a valentine when she never expected one.

So in the New Year, if what Lincoln said is true,that we all are about as happy as we choose to be,we can choose our own color each day.

What color are you today?