We’re happy to share a selection of our writings from Fall 2016. Over these past three months our themes have taken us on a journey about beginnings and new chapters, finding the music of our lives, and the meaning of family.
From our writing circle family to you and yours, we send warmest wishes for a blessed and peaceful Holiday Season, and a hopeful New Year. We’ll resume our monthly gatherings in February.
Here is the kitchen.
Will you enter it with me?
Let us share the heart of the house.
Here dwelling and becoming
Are like angels to wrestle with.
Here limitation will be our friend
And we can grow into love.
Into bread. You, a sustenance for me,
And I a sustenance for you.
Both of us fostered by
The measuring cup shaped by
The teaspoon and the quarter-teaspoon.
Here the shining world grows
More transparent in its beauty each day.
We are disappearing in its light,
Turning into the moment’s bright copper’
Surrendering to what we do not know
… what we cannot see or touch.
Becoming what we are, unknowing,
Light, praise, shared bread…
A living way.
(From BECOMING BREAD: EMBRACING THE SPIRITUAL IN THE EVERYDAY Copyright 2003)
Just In Case
Inspired by “The Best Thing “ by Richard Page
Just in case I carry the CD with me
Just in case
I put the player in the car
Each gesture important and deliberate–just in case
Sometimes it can be hard to share a song
To reveal the tender and
Expose the deep and sweet
Even among friends
It can be hard to speak of grace
Some words must be savored in solitude
Reassurance held and havened
In a mother’s heart
Dear friends, How I long to have you listen
But I am shy
Made cautious by the sting of too many
“Thank you for sharing”s
Sometimes I feel so odd and apart
Sometimes I cannot not risk
Today my hesitation gets the better of me
I laugh among you and keep the best thing hidden
Tucked away yet here
It is enough
You are with us
Just in case
Letting the Dust Settle
The dust’s settling.
So much is familiar;
But it’s all new, too.
All the fear, riding in the background all those years;
Now it is the most noticeable element.
And it’s covering the whole landscape!!!
I am grateful though, that what was always there,
and somehow not,
Is no longer unacknowledged.
And while gone, ignorance is a kind of bliss, too.
These days I seem to have the strength to
Let the dust settle.
But God bless the future!
Being wide open,
Anything can happen.
These days, I would rather learn through good news
Through having too much
rather than not enough…
So I am casting my vote.
Let the dust, the dusting and all the world
come to me clean and bright and new
and deeply felt
I like that…
I watch the man in the blue vest climbing the hill. Older – somewhat unsure of his steps. The yellow leaves of the honey locust are brilliant and spur him on.
Arriving at Calvary for our morning pages. It’s the first Saturday of the month. We will reflect, write and laugh, enjoying our being together.
Today our watchword is Music. What is the music of our lives telling us?
We considered the BLUES, how they can free us by singing along and acknowledging our truth.
We have a 12 year old inside us, dancing in the basement to Stevie Wonder. What freedom that was.
How about Mozart or Bach to move us along, to get ourselves into motion?
Then there’s a lullaby, which gave me comfort as an adult and now I sing to my Mattie to soothe him.
Thank you, Ruth Brown, Chris Williams, Stevie and you poets and musicians for echoing the beat of our lives.
Oh, Music is so much a part of life put on a waltz and dance around and around in an ecstasy state of merriment.
Oh, to Billy Joel and his song The Piano Man with the upbeat of his rhythm on the piano. Makes me want to sway back and forth. There is a line to his song that is so true. The line goes like this “to forget about life for awhile.”
Oh yes, music is for the soul and furthermore music is marvelous for the heart and mind.
Oh, Stevie Wonder— His song, ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’ — triggers my mind to call someone and say I just called you to say I love you.
Oh, Michael Buble and Barbra Streisand—Their song—It Had To Be You- gives chills down the spine and joy to the soul.
We sing; we dance; we listen. Even trees and plants make music and also animals as well. We are all one part of life on this planet.
Without music I would be like a being in a square black box with nothing,
no sound no nothing in the square box.
Ode to Music
Music connects me to life
It’s not always strife
Yes… sometimes I fly
Like a song in the sky!
Somehow I know
My place in the show
When melodies wail
And life – beyond the pale
Rhythm pulses along
My life is a song
Both troubling and true,
It’s both joyous and blue
My melody abounds
Sometimes, truly astounds!
My love and I dance
To music – a joyous trance
It transports us above
Flying together like doves
To places newly grown
Without music – unknown
Connect and be
Music says to me…..
“The beat of my life”
It frees me from strife
Pulses push through…
The message – how true
Listen to who you are…
Be yourself and you’re a star!
Music saved me
And helped me to be
Just who I am…..
NOT…. In life’s traffic jam.
I’ll never know
How I’d have grown
Without music, I’m lost
With music, Oh My Gosh!
Here among friends I feel I can do it
The music of life is streaming
and the drumbeat
to the work
to the beat!
I like the morning song best
announcing the possibilities of the day
the next moment to come
how many dreams of what can be
The afternoon can be a medley jazz improvisation
as I struggle to find the next note
sometimes a big brass band
comes right down my street
It arrives at the corner of dreams and synergy
driven by work and trained by hope!
Evening falls hard
So much left undone,
an unfinished Symphony
when will I learn to move
from my wailing laments
into soft lullabies
and an ode to Joy
for what has been
and the what is!
To me the subject of family is a broad subject.
To me it has many different branches like a tree.
There are birth family, marriage family, extended family and the church family.
The most important family is the birth family to me.
I was given birth by my parents.
They provided a roof over my head, plenty of food, and money was no subject.
But giving hugs and kisses, and saying I love you, was not much in their lifestyle – anyway not to me.
Marriage family was a wonderful experience to have.
My husband who was 18 years older than me was a great love to me.
He provided everything I needed.
His family, to this day, is like my birth family.
My extended family that is my best friends and relatives played a large part in caring and sharing and giving affection to me.
Even my family of churches has given me warmth and affection that I have never experienced before.
My siblings have shown more affection and caring towards me in the last ten years than ever before.
I am now blessed to have my birth family, marriage family, extended family and church families so close to me.
With a shout out to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the “beloved community” he envisioned……………
I see it clearly
The task ahead…
Supposed to feel dearly
But sometimes I dread…
Packed with meaning
Emotions may run wild…
And send me reeling
Just like a child…
So, who is our family?
Turkey, rituals abound
And, who is for us
When life runs aground?
Reclaim the name…
Seems right to me
Life’s not a game…
Just … who walks with me?
My family are those
Who stand by my side,
When life sends me throes
And harrowing rides!
Not necessarily from birth,
But of a shared life,
These are the ones
Who bring joy not strife!
A “beloved community”
I will heartily embrace
One who loves me …
And the whole human race!
We sat at her bedside.
That small room opened up to a gateway
the door that she did not want to go through…
Her oldest grandson, the first of the new generation
sat at the foot of the bed
barbecues, scooped out watermelons, decorated bikes,
first day of school parties,
Christmases long gone but not forgotten.
It was not all bad and terribly imperfect.
We saw the good,
called it good
and blessed it !
How frail we all are.
Imperfect creatures struggling to find our way..
But love covers a multitude of sins…
when we remember through the eyes of love…
Grace falls like snow on the ground of lives.
Here is mercy coming to call us home…
The experience of family
Is hard to nail down or put in a box
We weave walls around those we hold close
And those we steadfastly leave out
A family’s love can be sweet and supportive
Or devotedly controlling and pushy
Being an older sister
No doubt ‘pushy’ applied to me
My family was always home base
Where I felt safe and welcomed to be
I learned from watching my elders
What it meant to give unselfishly
But how to extend this experience
Across today’s turbulent political field
Can we attune to a home base vibration
And rest in the safety it yields?
“Giving and receiving are one in truth.
I will receive what I am giving now.”*
The message reverberates through eons
A response to every “But how??”
Choice waits in the question – A gift
Tied up in a gorgeous red bow . . .
Who will I name family?
Who will I judge foe?
This flow of giving and receiving
Lives eternally side-by-side
A stunning expression of clarity
Our North Star
(* A Course in Miracles, Lesson 108)
Traveling in The Light as Opposed to Traveling in The Dark
Margaret A. Dukes
On the paths of the condo complex
we approached each other.
I gave a big smile and hello
She responded in kind
in her traditional Muslim dress
and headscarf –
covered by a Mickey Mouse
What could be more American?