The Specific and the Universal

Mushrooms
Left on Saturday, Right on Sunday.

Do you know the Starfish Story?

A girl was walking along a beach, and ahead of her were thousands of starfish, washed up along the beach with the tide, slowly dying in the air.

She began to walk along the beach, picking up starfish, one by one, and throwing them back into the ocean.

An adult came along and said to her, “Why are you doing that? Don’t you see how many there are? What you are doing can’t possibly make a difference.”

The girl picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean.  “It mattered to THAT one!” she said.

Gratitude List:
1. The Starfish story, orally told. “It mattered to THAT one!” Sometimes you see a story so often it loses its teeth, but when someone speaks it out loud into the electric waiting of a roomful of people, it lives again with a whole new brightness. Oral storytelling is not a lost art.
2. The whole hymn, but particularly this verse from Fred Kaan’s “For the Healing of the Nations” text:
Lead us forward into freedom,
from despair your world release,
that, redeemed from war and hatred,
all may come and go in peace.
Show us how through care and goodness
fear will die and hope increase.
3. This hymn, too, set to “Finlandia”
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. Reminders of why I stay an Anabaptist: the hymns, MCC, the emphasis on being the hands and feet of Christ, active peace building, the contemporary work to transform the historic work of peacebuilding into a living philosophy that deeply understands reconciliation as well, listening to the words of Jesus.
5. Holding the specific within the universal. How the specific grounds the universal.  How the universal keeps the specific relevant.

May we walk in Beauty!

Finding Your Own Poem

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Gratitude List:
1. I guess I am grateful for the crunchy things, too.  I’m trying, anyway, to find that space where I can say, “This will make me wiser.  This will make me stronger.  This will make me more compassionate, when I have reached the other side.”  W must find the courage for the hard conversations, find the space between outrage and complacency, where the powers of heart and reason meet.  Yes, I am grateful for the crunchy things, too.
2. Archetypes.  I love the way our stories–across cultures and across times–share so many of the same archetypal elements: tricksters, shining children, witches (in many forms), heroic characters, wise mentors. . .
3. Friday.  After today, only one more of these this school year.  I love the closure of a Friday, and I love anticipating Friday morning hymn sings, which I will miss this summer.
4. Plugging away.  Keep the tractor moving down the row, and eventually you get to the end.
5. Poetry.  The way people respond to a poem, even when they say they hate poetry.  Give them the right one, and you can see the Aha dawn in their eyes.  Maybe there’s a poem out there for everyone–you just have to find out which one is for you.  Some of us are greedy and think that every poem is somehow ours.  Forgive us.  We’ll share.

May we walk, each day, in Beauty.

Seeking Spring

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Gratitude List:
1. Friday morning hymn sing with my colleagues.
2. Blue, blue, blue, sky blue as Mary’s robe.
3. The way humor can sometimes make the bleak and difficult breathable.
4. My colleague Amanda, who helped me out of my February Funk yesterday by reminding me that February is the time to be actively seeking the minute indications that the season is progressing.  I came home and found one crocus bud and one aconite bud.
5. The tiny wing-person with the huge voice who is singing songs of spring.

May we walk in Beauty!