Monthly Archives: August 2015

small potatoes

Love this one from Sirena Tales

Sirena Tales

I am a mere

droplet

in a bucket

a teeny tiny

minnow in a grand ocean,

I am a blip

a hiccup

in a rippling eternity

yes, I am very small

potatoes

this limited and flawed

(sometime fraud)

spud:

ephemeral, forgettable

sometimes a dud, and also

a paradox

because like you

I am potential

pulsing transition

a limited edition

ineffable, not replicable

embodied possibility

and with acrobatic hearts

we can cartwheel kindness

spangle dreams

cascade grace

across a rippling eternity

changed forever

by our echoing trace

(how ’bout them French fries?)

photo-28

*Special thanks to Tabby Ren Elle for our conversation about “small potatoes” in a recent comment, providing the bass line from which to riff this poem.

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God is in the Reality of the Present Moment

I’m studying the book of Ecclesiastes in a Scripture Class at my church. We are using a book by my favorite Rabbi, Rami Shapiro. He boils Ecclesiastes down to accepting the reality of the present moment without judging it as good/bad, happy/sad, bright/dark. There’s none of this gritting of teeth and bearing things in hope for a reward of heaven or a star in our crown. It’s about accepting everything in this moment: myself, others, pain, joy, beauty, ugliness and by accepting the now…whole, we experience the grace, the transcendent in it.
God is in the reality of the present moment. It is all we actually have. But it is everything.

Pain Focuses Us on Ourselves, but Also on the Present Moment

Just had knee surgery for a torn meniscus. At the same time, a suspicious spot was discovered in my husband’s lung. And my youngest son, the father of four, discovered that his heart rate has become alarmingly low. Both of them are seeing specialists tomorrow. Yesterday, the pain in my knee finally stopped and I resumed my normal habit of worrying about the future, particularly about those I love. I knew that pain makes us self-centered, but I had never thought about how much it keeps us focused on the present moment. This may seem obvious and not particularly significant, but psychological pain does the same thing. It not only makes us self centered, but may be part of the reason that people get trapped in destructive patterns of behavior. They can’t focus on future consequences when overwhelmed by present pain.
I am not sure where this train of thought is going, but it helps me understand and be a little more patient with those who get trapped in repetitive patterns of poor choices.

Meanwhile, if you are into prayer, please include my husband Julian and my son, Tommy. Thanks so much.
Eileen

Monday is the Day the Lord Hath Made for Whining

I once had a small group of old lady friends who were attempting to learn Tai Chi in my playroom.  I had forgotten that my college age son was asleep in his bedroom off the playroom. He came out sleepily to what was not a pretty sight.

He nicknamed us the “Geriatric Ninja Turtles.”

We decided we’d be less likely to hurt ourselves or traumatize adult children, if we tried meditation instead. I had a Buddhist friend who had taught classes in meditation, so we asked him to instruct us. After a few weeks of sitting around with unzen like giggling by old ladies who needed help getting up from the lotus position, he obviously got discouraged or bored, so he decided to teach us how to fight by slamming our fists into someone’s temples, supposedly killing them. Since the tallest of us was 5 ft 2 in , we felt the odds were against our using this successfully unless we were attacked by a mob of homicidal “little people” or at least small-er people. (Besides this did seem a bit less than the spirituality we were seeking.)

So, we moved our meeting to the Episcopal Church Parish Hall and used the Book of Common Prayer along with the Bible for reflection and prayer. We had a new younger member, who one morning after praying, felt led to dance, so we all joined in. At that moment the rather staid Episcopalian Priest walked in. He was not led to join the holy dance.

Since it was Spring time,  we began meeting in a grove of trees with a picnic table and benches on one of our member’s land. We all felt God’s presence in nature and as the breeze blew dogwood blossoms down around us, it was tempting to dance once again in joy. But rather than traumatize the unwary and to avoid the slippery slope into a naked Wicca experience in the woods (which would definitely not be a pretty sight), our youngest member played her guitar and we just sang.

We chose to rename ourselves ” The Group that Meets on Monday or Sometimes on Wednesday with an Option to meet instead on Friday.” For some reason this never caught on, so we remained the “Geriatric Ninja Turtles.”

Our three core members now began to have some health and fitness problems. One of us had lost a leg, I had to use a wheel chair for walking any distance longer than about a block, and our eldest member had had a heart attack.

So we expanded our search for mystical experience into both art and pottery classes at a nearby center for the arts. We found both of these to be a right brain, stay focused in the moment activity, which is actually very zen like. I was too klutzy to use the pottery wheel, but went to help my friend who had some difficulty because of her prosthetic leg. In the moments she didn’t need me, I molded a naked plump old man sitting modestly with his legs crossed, but with a delightfully mischievous smile on his face. I was really proud of my accomplishment. I even felt a great tenderness toward my creation. But when I showed it to my son, he was horrified, because it looked so much like my husband.

Young people are so easily horrified.

One day after class, while following the wisdom saying for old ladies, “Never pass by a bathroom without stopping,” my friend said that her prosthetic leg was causing her some pain, so could she use the wheelchair and would I be able to carry her leg to the car for her. I said that I could manage it and I marched behind her with her leg held over my shoulder like a rifle.

We had learned long ago that if you don’t learn to laugh at yourself and at trouble when you are young, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you are old.

Our group felt that we should minister somehow to those worse off than we were, so we began to visit people in the nursing home and take treats for them. Unfortunately, it turned out the people we were taking delicious cakes and cookies were diabetic and then one day while chatting with a woman on oxygen, she began to look distraught and I realized that I was standing on her oxygen line. We decided perhaps we should find a ministry less hazardous to others. So, we started a Clothes Closet for the poor at the church.

Any group of women of a certain age tend to talk about their various ailments. In another of my groups, we gave a prize for the one with the most new parts. The woman who won had two new hips, two new knees, and a new heart valve.

In spite of the validity of our complaints, when visiting those in the nursing home and hearing them wonder why their family didn’t visit them more often, the GNT’s (Geriatric Ninja Turtles) realized that it was probably because this kind of whining constituted most of the elderly’s conversation.

So, we made up a Scripture to help us avoid falling into this trap. (I know. You’re not supposed to make up Scriptures…….but the Holy Spirit is still alive and well ……… and we were old, it was dark, and we didn’t know what we were doing.)

Our Scripture is: “Monday is the day the Lord hath made for whining.”

We felt this would be allowable because, after all, the Israelites whined their way across a desert for forty years. Obviously, God got tired of listening to their whining, but one out of seven days seemed fair to us. So, we had an addendum that said if you didn’t whine on Monday, it was a movable feast. You could whine on one other day that week – but only one. We have found that this definitely affects the amount of time younger people are willing to spend around us.

Old age definitely has its challenges, but the gold and the grace in it are friendships and laughter.

And when you think about it, what beats those?

Birthday Reflections: 77 is a Very Good Number or Killing A** Holes Would Make Jesus Cry

Well 78 is an even better number and I still agree that killing A**Holes would make Jesus cry.

Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Over all it’s been a reasonably productive, though challenging year. The challenge of moving has been a bit of a bummer, but the advantage of it being such a drawn out, tiring process is it has helped us become eager to get moved, instead of just needing to move.

Also, my faith has been stretched by the process and that’s a good thing. I realized recently that what I used to think were tests of faith (which I usually failed!) are instead a stretching of our faith as part of the journey. Hopefully, each time we are stretched, we make it a little longer before we have to pray, “I do believe. Help thee my unbelief.”

I hit a couple of areas where I realized that I would have to change or I was going to totally fail in some of the most important areas of my life. And then…

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Guest Doodle | Two-Headed Dinosaur

Delightful! Pure grace.

J.T. Carlton

$4 goes a long way these days.

Today’s doodle comes from an unknown stranger on the streets of Lexington, KY. Some of you natives may recognize her from the bar scene downtown.

The other night, a few of my friends and I stopped by a bar called Henry Clay’s. We’re standing outside in a smoking circle when I hear this tiny voice from behind me: I turn to see what it was, and there’s this little old woman, maybe in her late fifties/early sixties (I only say old because she looked very well worn), holding a notepad looking up at me. She mumbled something.

“I’m sorry, what was that?”

“Can I draw you?”

“You want to draw me?”

“Yeah, on a two-headed dinosaur.”

Hold up.

Now, that is one hellof a sales pitch. It takes guts to walk up to someone on the street and ask to share your…

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An Explanation

This is from a blog called Dark Matter written by a poet with a prophetic voice that calls us to respond in at least some small way to the evil we prefer to ignore in our world.

Dark Matter

This one-note-struck
of all my recent talk
about my rage and sorrow
at how humans suborn
all the machinations of Evil
and take each other for pawns
to be moved at will
in games huge and tiny
can be grating, I know.
It grates on me as well.
I wake up raw most days
and on the other days it’s not long
before I am drawn to picking at
the new scabs and nearly-healed scars
of my previous wounds.  
I have them always on my mind.
I feel them festering and itching on my skin.
I taste them, dark and sour, in my mouth.

You don’t know how much I would prefer
to speak only of my garden 
filled with midsummer close-to-ripeness,
or of hours of simplicity watching my cat,
or of the peace in lying with my love
long hours in a just-enough-room bed.
I speak of these things often…

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