May Your Table Be Wide

I wrote this a year or two ago, not realizing how extremely similar the title was to Jan Richardson’s World Communion Sunday poem. Clearly, her phrase sank deeply into my psyche. So I added a little dedication to the title to recognize her original.

The Table is Wide
(with gratitude to Jan Richardson)

May your table be wide,
may your arms be laden
with the bounty of harvest,
may your heart be willing.

May your feast be filling,
may your beloved’s eyes
be filled with laughter,
may your table be wide.

May your doors be open,
may strangers be welcome
to sit at your table,
may your feast be filling.

May your heart be willing,
may stories flow like wine
poured into glasses,
may your doors be open.
May your table be wide.


Gratitude List:
1. Poets and poetry, especially Jan Richardson’s blessings
2. Anticipating time with my parents and my siblings and my niblings
3. Wind: scouring, releasing, revealing, energizing
4. Pie
5. Open hearts, open arms, open tables

May we walk in Beauty!

Fierce and Tender


This is a rock we found on the beach near Provincetown. Joss says he thinks it looks like a woodsy landscape reflected in a lake. Can you see it?. I ran it through a starry filter, and it looks like a night-time lake.


Gratitude List:
1. Fierce and tender friends. People who hold the world in their hearts, and hold our hearts in their hands. You know who you are, Friends, and if you think I am talking about you here, I probably am.
2. Stories that teach me not to start with rage, but to start with compassion.
3. Honesty. Truth-telling. Getting it straight and clear. Cutting through the fog of lies.
4. Water. Purifying and cleansing. Refreshing. Rain on dry earth.
5. The smell of the rain on dry earth. That scent of impending hope.

Holyholyholyhallelujah.


Tuesday’s Thoughts:
“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” ―Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
***
“In order to arrive at what you are not you must go through the way in which you are not.”
—T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets
***
“We grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.” —Richard Rohr
***
“Whatever gets in the way of the work is the work.” —Jason Shinder
***
“An agricultural adage says the tiny animals that live below the surface of a healthy pasture weigh more than the cows grazing above it. In a catalogue selling composting equipment I read that two handfuls of healthy soil contain more living organisms than there are people on the earth. What these beings are and what they can be doing is difficult to even begin to comprehend, but it helps to realize that even though they are many, they work as one.”
—Carol Williams
***
“All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” —Flannery O’Connor
***
“I don’t know about you, but I didn’t become an environmentalist because someone made a rational argument that convinced me that the planet was in danger. I became an environmentalist out of love and pain: love for the world and its beauty and the grief of seeing it destroyed. It was only because I was in touch with these feelings that I had the ears to listen to evidence and reason and the eyes to see what is happening to our world. I believe that this love and this grief are latent in every human being. When they awaken, that person becomes an environmentalist.” —Charles Eisenstein
***
“You can’t dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools.” —Audre Lorde
***
“The owl,” he was saying, “is one of the most curious creatures. A bird that stays awake when the rest of the world sleeps. They can see in the dark. I find that so interesting, to be mired in reality when the rest of the world is dreaming. What does he see and what does he know that the rest of the world is missing?” ―M.J. Rose, Seduction

Worth a Try

Today’s Prompt is a Two-fer: Write a days of the week/weak poem.

On a November Tuesday
you might wear scarves
and long white skirts
to remember how to vote.

You might take your knitting
and stand in a long line
waiting for your chance
to be a part of history.

You might fidget
when they ask your name,
might feel a tremor when you see
that yours is the only Democrat on the page.

You might recall other Tuesdays
in November, when you believed
in the process, when you knew
that your voice counted, too.

(That’s pretty depressing, and I think it went deeper into the sense of helplessness than I might be feeling at this moment, though I definitely cycle into that place where I lose my belief that my voice matters in this “democracy” anymore.)


“I am not talking about giving our hearts over to despair. I wonder if we can train our hearts, intentionally, like athletes who train for a marathon, to bear the load without crumpling under the weight. I think that’s what the children need from us, for us to bear them, bear the stories, hold them as though they were our own, to be prepared to act at any moment for any one of them within our reach. I think the times call for hearts strong enough to be tender, to bleed without weakening, to rage and protect and pray and hope without numbing out.

“I don’t think it has to be a choice. We don’t have to choose between the closed heart and the broken heart. We can be awake and yet not despair. It’s worth a try.” —Beth Weaver-Kreider
*
“Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.” —Mae Jemison
*
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” —Frederick Buechner
*
Alice Walker—”Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.”
*
Found on a T-shirt: I am totally happy and not dangerous mostly.
*
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” —Marcus Aurelius


Gratitude List:
1. I voted. I don’t know for sure how much I believe in it anymore, though I am liking some of what I am seeing in the results today, and the poll-folks are friendly, and the photo-art on the walls of the local high school/polling place is really excellent.
2. The sweet justice of a transwoman beating out the incumbent who called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe.” Maybe I will start to trust the democratic process again, just a little.
3. Tea. The sudden shift in the weather has me cringing in blankets and hats and scarves. Tea takes the edge off. And it’s one thing I share in common with a particular student who hates my class, so I am grateful for that.
4. Color. I forgot to take Ducktown over the bridge this morning because I have become so used to going left and taking Valley View while the bridge was out. We turned onto Valley View just as the sun cascaded through cloud behind us and hit the forested ridge off by the River. The colors were dazzling.
5. How people take care of each other.

May we walk in Beauty!

Last Days into Darkness

lamp

One more step into the quiet darkness
One more step into the night
One more step toward the winter
One more step toward the coming of the light

One more step into the labyrinth
One more step to play your part
One more step toward the daybreak
One more step toward the Mother’s heart

Stand within this dusk-bright moment
Feel the heartbeat of the waiting Earth
Hold your head high, listening for starsong
Be still and silent, ready for the birth

Gratitude List:
1. Endarkening. My friend Michele gave me this word today, and I treasure it. I am grateful for people willing to talk me through the dark time. I am waiting, listening, being enfolded in the darkness. Hush.
2. How, even in times of silence and stillness, there is work being done beneath the surfaces of things. Crystals forming beneath the earth. Seeds coming undone.
3. Walking the labyrinth into the very center. Inanna had to relinquish something of herself at every turning. I, too, am being stripped of that which no longer serves me.
4. Sharkey finally lost that tooth today, brave boy. The big tooth has come all the way in behind it, and the baby tooth stuck straight out from the gum for weeks, making him look slightly vampiric. Tonight he pulled the thing right out, and then for good measure, he pulled the splinter out of his foot.
5. The people who let their hearts be broken by the pain of the world. All together now, we break open, and we pray, and we call for peace, and we hope, and we stand up, and we shout, and we sing, and we dance.  It is time to be who we have been becoming.

May we walk in Beauty!

Look for the Helpers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” — Mister Rogers

Look for the helpers.
I cast a line from me to you.
You cast it outward to those you love.
Fill that web, that basket, that nest, that bowl
with our open wounded hearts,
our prayers, our stones,
our candles, our feathers,
the white hair of our grandmothers.
Something to hold the children,
the mothers, the fathers,
a bowl that will witness and hold the grief.
We will be the helpers.