Come and sit awhile. We have something to share . . .
In April we created space to listen to each other. Spring was announcing its presence after a relentless winter. It was a good time to meet in the heart and visit on the porch. The writings that found their way into the circle are an amazing kaleidoscope of images, experiences and emotions.
The inspiring poetry which serve as bookends for the April collection, “Why I Wake Early” by Mary Oliver, and “Spring” by Thomas Merton, were brought with love by Eileen Gerety and Susan Maitner. To Eileen, Susan and all who contributed to our April collection – Lisa Brown, Nancy Burgas, Marge Dukes, Mary Livingston, Nicholas Lizza, Janet Maulbeck and Rosalind Seneca – thank you for sharing your treasure maps and meditations.
Life-lessons sit on the porch in the rocking chair next to us and wait patiently for their turn to speak. Endings give way to beginnings. Endless winter is trumped by a bursting spring. Abundant Love is at play …
Keep the faith and have a happy spring.
May 11, 2015
“Why I Wake Early” by Mary Oliver
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.”
(Why I Wake Early – New Poems – April 15, 2004 by Mary Oliver)
“Porches” by Mary Livingston
Porches are for wine and cheese,
Swinging and chatting in the summer breeze.
Porches are for eating pie with friends,
And staying out until daylight ends.
Porches are for growing herbs and hanging flowers,
And reading newspapers for hours.
Porches are for gazing at fish and roses and butterflies,
And listening to fountains drip and summer day “sighs”.
Porches are for rocking, reuniting and reminiscing,
And watching ocean waves and the shack that is missing!
Our porches cry out here on “God’s Square Mile”
To come and sit and stay awhile!
See you on the porch!
(Note: Mary’s poem and Porch Calendar inspired our April theme.)
“Check ins” by Susan Maitner
Together on the Porch
Remembering the Seasons
And the Silence of the City
Making time for Mourning
“Come Love With Me” by Eileen Gerety
Come sit with me
And we will see
The pain dissipate
It’s leaving the gate
Come be with me
And we WILL be
Filling hearts up
We’ll drink the cup
Come embrace with me
Journey on the Sea
At times….. uneven
We’ll look for leaven
Come sing with me
And let’s not flee
Our stories, our lives
We’ll strive, then thrive!
Come love with me
The sun, the sky, the sea
We’ll be a part
The world’s new start!
Come fly with me!
We’ll share the spree
Of Life renewed
A beautiful hue!
“Losing God” by Rosalind Seneca
I lost God and it was as if my soul had been put out of my body like so much furniture on the sidewalk waiting to be loaded onto a truck. Each beloved chair, the piano, the friendly kitchen table had become so many sticks of wood seen in sepia, all the color leached from them.
The world was flat and meaningless. I was empty inside and in pain. My back hurt too as it has been hurting for five years and God did not care. You can pray all you want for a cure but what you need is to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe and he was not there either.
No one would accept my loss of faith. “It’s just a period of dryness, aridity”, they said and gave me books to read. What I wanted was a friend to sit with me on the sidewalk and imagine what it was like to be the kitchen table.
I existed and did my bit of railing against God. I could not go to church. There was no comfort to be found.
Then one day I decided to give up looking for God. I sat on the sofa in the living room where I have all my things scattered about- purse, address book, diary, pencils, computer, phone- and I began to talk to myself. “Look, it’s no good anymore. You can’t demand help from God. You just have to accept the idea of living with pain. You’ve done everything medical to help it- operations, physical therapy, acupuncture, ablations- and nothing has worked. You must just stop rejecting the pain and accept it as part of your life. This suffering must be borne.”
I got up and walked around the room. The pain was still there but all the furniture was back in place. The room seemed alive. Outside I could see a few daffodils blooming. I felt fullness and joy. Love entered my soul and the grace of God which passeth all understanding came upon me at last.
She’s Gone by Margaret A. Dukes
The mattress on my bed is too hard.
I move to the guest room
Two beds to try
The first has scratchy sheets
The other was my mother’s
-her last before she died.
It’s soft and a comfort.
I sleep in it without
stay here nightly now
for 5 months.
My realtor doesn’t understand why
I can spend money to remodel my kitchen
-but don’t buy a new mattress
for my own bed.
I tell her my mattress is only 2 years old
How can I justify a new one?
The real reason –
I miss my Mother.
From Dying?” by Nicholas Leonardo Lizza
Have you ever wondered about loss?
Or, does the enervating uselessness
that usually envelops the issue
bless your paralysis overlong?!!!
Stop a moment and consider this…
When the body ceases to be animated
What changes in you?
When one of the images in the mirror
no longer seems to be interested
in acknowledging you,
Feel your way through that.
Let their “change,”
Be your reminder
to let your attention
journey more widely and deeply
than what has most surely become
one of your many precious “habits.”
Let your heart off the leash
Just for a bit …
When you love:
even a stamp or a coin
can seem to love you back enough
to give your life meaning,
to be a source of joy
that unleashes your heart
just a bit.
Yes… They are important.
And now, they’re no longer speaking
in the language you’ve become accustomed to hearing.
But what about you?
it’s time to continue past old habits,
on to something new,
something already full,
and still becoming more;
both listening and speaking.
Take your heart off its leash . . .
Let it show you a new language
A new way of talking;
So that song and dance
replace the many habits you’ve instilled,
that only coach you to hold
your comfortable seat on the sidelines…
and instead, become your way of being
Opening to ever increasing circles
and the infinite language of beauty
and the touch of love!!!
She hasn’t gone anywhere!
But is only showing you
The tiny spot you call your life,
Is really the secret beginning
Of the great journey
Of being alive,
Of being Love!
“Days and Nights” by Janet Maulbeck
Days and nights
give way to months and years
I am always running
into my limitations
So many people places and things
So little me
Yet my walk in the world continues
Day by day
Month by month
Night has not yet fallen and closed the door that opens to everything
Always choices decisions multiple paths
On this one particular morning –
Prayer enlightenment or poetry?
Who could make such a choice!
Why can't I go everywhere –
But I cannot
Here is enlightenment riding on the wings of prayer and poetry
I have only these two hands
and these 2 feet
But next week when my friend goes to Jerusalem –
some part of me goes with her
And this morning even though I can't be there –
some part of me is in the circle
Wherever I am facing there is Mecca
The road is limited
The Holy land is everywhere!
“I Know” by Lisa Brown
and let me take your pain in,
let me breathe the sorrow from you,
let me drink your grief
so that you can relax, breathe, and taste
a bit of joy
knowing I am here to help in any way I can.
“Warm Eyes” by Lisa Brown
Come sit a while
find the softest chairs and call a friend
not someone who spews advise
but one who will not judge
and will not tell your secrets
but who will listen and hear
who will warm you with their eyes
and in return
you open your heart to them
so they too can share in the warmth
of your eyes
and they will come again.
“St. Francis in The Meditation Garden:
Two Years Later” by Lorri Lizza
Hello old bench
Sun-weathered splinters, white on gray
I came here to write
When the circle was new
Still the sunlight
Warms the slate garden that separates Church and Parish House
– Indifferent to all the hours
A lesson in Patience
Still something happens here
Deep time occupies the space, keeping company with the sun
– Indecipherable yet true
A lesson in Mystery
Still the stone fountain faithfully pours out the Blessed Water
As St. Francis tenderly performs his ministry of love
– No heart abandoned or grief unmet
A lesson in Faith
“Come and Sit Awhile” by Nancy Burgas
Do come and sit awhile
Isn’t it lovely here?
Would you like a cup of tea?
Yes, the pot is very beautiful
My friend Peggy gave it to me
It was crafted in Morristown
And the tea?
It’s Constant Comment
I know a man named Doug
who grew up in Connecticut
many years ago
His family knew the Bigelows
and Mrs. Bigelow told him
the origin of the name
But, can you guess?
and the nose
Inhale and you could be sitting beside
a temple in Kyoto
An acquaintance I knew,
Don was his name,
met his wife in Japan
You see he was stationed there
after the war
He had a vision of a lovely Japanese woman
painting before a Shinto shrine in Kyoto
On his next leave he spent a Saturday
seeking that shrine
and sure enough there she was
a vision of loveliness
Well, he had no choice
but to make her acquaintance
marry her and bring her back to New Jersey
They had two children
And she taught ikebana in Clinton
The varying shades of pink
from pale to almost purple
And see that branch
against the bright blue sky
I love the dappled shade it provides
Doesn’t the sun feel warm
on our winter-white skin?
If you sit very still
The cat will join us
Ah, I see she has chosen you
She will make herself at home on your lap
Yes, she has a loud purr
A regular little soothing machine
Now what was it
you needed to talk about?
“SPRING” by Thomas Merton
Heavy snowflakes fall, flying in all directions. But when there is no wind they descend so slowly that they seem determined not to land on the ground. When in fact they do touch the ground they vanish completely. Then the pale sun comes out for a moment, shines uncertainly on the grass, the wheel, the pale pine logs, the rusty field, the fence, the valley. It is St. Benedict’s, the first day of spring.
Real Spring weather—these are the precise days when everything changes. All the trees are fast beginning to be in leaf and the first green freshness of a new summer is all over the hills. Irreplaceable purity of these few days chosen by God as His sign!
Today was the prophetic day, the first of the real shining spring…the day of the year when spring became truly credible.
~Thomas Merton: When the Trees Say Nothing, Edited by Kathleen Deignan © 2003, Sorin Books.