Yes, I can honestly say that I am indeed cherishing the journey, more so than when I was young! I think I am more grateful for the little things which really are not little at all: flowers, breeze, smell of cut grass, my cat’s eyes in sun. Laughter, good books, good bread, red wine! I hope I am not tempting fate, but I kind of feel that now is “harvest time” for me. I had more than my fair share (I think) of misery-inducing jobs and family woe. All of that is over. My life is much more peaceful and bright. I wish I had sold more books, I wish my work were better known, but that is largely out of my control. I have my health and people who love me for who I am. I am rich.
Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. (Ps. 123:1)
A galaxy swept clean of angels
can’t stop me from wanting a Sky Father,
a Santa Claus god who grants my wishes
like a genie trapped in a bottle.
Help me let go of this smallness.
Break my heart open until it brims
with the clear water of trust.
Help me choose mystery,
That I don’t deserve happiness, a peaceful home, success in writing. Be gone, limiting beliefs! Ugh, they cling and cling to me.
I am not sure that advice, however wise, has really changed my life. But the actions of others have had strong impact……witnessing kindness, courage and patience (my particular stumbling block) is powerful. And so is witnessing their opposites (and wincing when you recognize your own behavior).
I hope and trust I have done so through my poetry.
I don’t write much these days, but I would like to share a poem I wrote a few weeks ago. Warm thoughts to all on this lovely website!
On 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis
It’s that brief season when trees
are still bare-limbed but whispering green
for the buds clinging to nude branches.
I walk through my neighborhood,
a woman of nearly sixty
with no fresh wisdom to share,
but I must tell you that from a distance
this young tree might appear
a cloud of light green
while up close, each bud is so crisp and distinct
I could count the number of them
on every branch.
I don’t have any personal “enemies,” but I am thinking of ISIS, of which I can say not one good thing. Frankly, this organization seems to me like evil personified. What can a member of ISIS teach me about love? That in the face of hatred, torture, mass rape, destruction of cities and sacred art, love can exist. I don’t know if it exists in the heart of any ISIS soldier, but I am sure it exists in the hearts of the women, men and children they enslave. I can remember that in the burned out rubble of Aleppo, love is in many hearts.
If I have something to say, say it to the person directly involved, not to someone else. This sounds easy, but it is not, at least not for me. It’s so much easier and more tempting, for example, to complain to a co-worker about another co-workerer who is giving you the cold shoulder while you have no idea why, instead of directly and nicely asking the person who is snubbing you, “What’ s up? You seem upset and I don’t know why.” But I did so today, and I am glad!
I am so far, but the day is young! I have no doubt I will screw up sooner or later. BUT – I have said it before and I will say it again since this issue is so important to me – I continue to be faithful to my values in eating a plant based diet that does not involve violence or suffering. It took me decades to realize, but now I see that what I eat is intricately and materially connected to my spiritual values and how I want to live.
What a beautiful article, Kevin! Just wonderful to read. Thank you.
Gina, the very knowledge that you want to break free of this cycle of disappointment and regret is a healthy and brave sign! Gloria Steinem wrote that “probably, hanging on to the past brings more destruction than any other single cause.” Sending you light and positive thoughts, my dear.
Thank you Anna!
Kevin, I don’t visit this site every day, but it’s evident to me how valued your input is; your comments are always thoughtful and helpful. I hope you are healing a little more each day.
Christina, smiling was really hard for me, too, esp when I was younger and men on the street demanded that I smile. Yuck. Thank God that doesn’t happen anymore! But now that I am older, I find that it is much easier to smile at a passing stranger or a person on the bus. This may be a small accomplishment, but the rewards are big. I urge you to take baby steps and try maybe one smile a day. It does get easier!
Your articulate and compassionate response makes me (once again) realize how incredibly blessed I am to live pain-free. So many people do not, and their courage is amazing. Thank you.
Thank you, sea, for reading my poem.
Yes, I agree, I just wish I could stay more open to learning!
Yes, well said!
Yes, I remember that horrific attack. Yes, what courage, Anna!
Oh, I love this, Kevin. I’d like to post it on Facebook if that is OK (giving credit, of course, to your friend).
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