What do you do about the “I Don’t Knows”?

A couple weeks ago I shared Alice Walker’s poem “I Will Keep Broken Things” with my wabi-sabi poem for Poetry Friday. If you haven’t heard Alice Walker read her poem, I hope you will take time to listen to it today. Or listen again. I find it so comforting.

In one of the essays in Somehow: Thoughts on Love, Anne Lamott talks about doors and the power of hinges: “A hinge both fixes something in place and helps it open. It’s ingenious.” Later in the chapter, she describes the suffering of her son’s addiction, the healing of self-love, and the serendipity of falling in love. “I don’t know how that happened…” she writes. Then she quotes her husband saying, “‘I don’t know’ is a portal. ‘I don’t know’ is also a hinge.” Such a lovely healthy view of “I don’t know.” There are many things we don’t know these days. Sometimes the not knowing feels overwhelming. Today I will choose to embrace the I don’t knows–each a portal and hinge to our spiritual and mental health.

I Don’t Know

I will keep the
the unknowing,
for all of Life is
full of either love
or suffering.
Both are proof
we are living;
so, I will keep
it all, learn
during the
and wait.
When I am
I will rejoice
amid the
I don’t knows
tiny miracles
in all of it–
like the lily
and sparrow
know without
even in
the nameless,
the uncharted,
the strange.
These all add up
to an unabridged life.
I will keep it all–
the life,
the love,
the suffering:
the Love.


Since I’m on the road this week, this post will be for TwoWritingTeacher’s Slice of Life, Spiritual Journey  Thursday, and Poetry Friday posts. Thursday’s host is Ruth Hersey at there is no such thing as a God-forsaken town. Friday’s host is Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge

Spiritual Journey Thursday – Cherish

Thank you, Margaret, for inviting us to join in the Spiritual Journey Thursday sharing today.

Cherish – my one little word.

In 2024, I want to focus my attention on cherishing, based on the two greatest commandments of Jesus:

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Matthew 22:37-39

I appreciated all the synonyms of cherish that fit those two commandments.

Adore, honor, revere, and worship God

Cultivate, entertain, and care for others

Treasure, hold dear, and appreciate this life of mine

(with an accidental acronym of my 2023 word, act)

I can’t help but think of The Association’s song “Cherish,” an old sappy tune from 1966. The record had significant success, so when the record label suggested the song was “too old and archaic,” it made Jim Yester, an original member of The Association, say that it “just showed we can have archaic and eat it, too.”

Then there is Madonna’s “Cherish” from 1989.

Finally, on the cherish song front, here is a wedding song by Mark Wills.

Poetry Friday – Renewal

Today is another day to expect joy and hope.  I’ve just been watching a National Writing Project video interview with Stacey Joy and Gholdy Muhammad. It’s making me feel more hopeful. Peace to all of you this day–Spiritual Journey Thursday and Poetry Friday in one.

Reading these times through eyes of empathy
Engaging in poetic thinking, reading, and writing
Noticing God at work in a broken world
Embarking on a new chapter
Watching my kids and six of their friends drive up yesterday
Anticipating joy
Laughing in the midst of tears


Thank you to Fran Haley for hosting at her beautiful blog Lit Bits and Pieces.

Thank you to Buffy Silverman for hosting today and celebrating early-flying flakes.


Spiritual Journey Thursday – Grace

Patricia Franz is hosting Spiritual Journey Thursday today. I am here on my phone, with so much joy about the theme of “Life at the Speed of Grace.” We took a little trip to the mountains and just got back from a hike–six miles round trip, but it seems like 12! Now we’re off to eat Mexican food.

I took a beautiful striking line from Patricia’s post to write a Golden Shovel poem about today: “I am learning to live life at the speed of Grace, letting God catch me, surprise me, love me, right where I am.” Thank you, Patricia, for the wonderful inspiration.

I won’t be in such a hurry, because I
am here now in this moment. If I am
learning anything, it is
to be present in this gift of Grace, to
live in Hope today because
life isn’t promised tomorrow. Hiking
at San Jacinto Wilderness today with
the four of us 60-somethings, turtle
speed at times, we were hikers
of sore knees, fall risks, and only
Grace to make it 6 miles up and down,
letting me know to thank
God for tiny big miracles that
catch me off guard. Dazzling
me with no twisted joints, but
surprise and pinecones. Finding
me in
love with life and lizards.
Me, who am I
right here
where God can Grace me?

am a grateful child caught by Grace.

Spiritual Journey Thursday – Shall We Dance?

Thank you, Chris, for hosting and inspiring us with your music and beautiful poem. I have more hope today after reading the Thursday Spiritual Journey post here.

Shall We Dance?

Our next step is to imagine a courageous
country where a hungry yelling person
is not choked to death on the subway. Are we
stuck in a nightmare of distress and death? Yes. And No, for
In this today, in our losses, we can also dance.
A truth is that during a plague we can
seemingly sing and dance with
endless rings around the rosie, the ashes-ashes
cycle soothing during the scourge.
We will always have good and bad news, so I
refuse to give up, I refuse
to stop dancing. Can we fight injustice, while we
accept jubilee? The Lord of the Dance says
that we can. “Dance, dance, wherever you may be.” I believe.

This golden shovel was written with a quote from a student in Colorado at a school walkout about gun violence, published by Truthout: “Our country is stuck in a seemingly endless cycle. We refuse to accept that.”

In addition to Chris’ hopeful Spiritual Journey post, I was inspired by an episode of A Truthout Podcast called Movement Memos, this one was a conversation between Kelly Hayes and Mariame Kaba.

Carol’s Spiritual Journey post reminded me of a video I took this week, so I’m posting these dancing flowers here:

Spiritual Journey Thursday – Community


Since I moved from Bahrain eight months ago, my community has changed so much. I left a supportive community that began in the late 1800’s and has proceeded through more than a century of service and fellowship. The history is rich and valued there. The love for God and people was palpable. I was loved and supported in all my areas of life by the Muslims, Hindus, and Christians I worked and lived with.

Since I returned, my community has been limited to my family members who are close and online writing communities. We have not attempted to find a local church community yet, and sometimes I wonder if I will even do so. Yesterday I had dinner at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. Another sister was there too. We laughed, talked, swam in their pool, and ate shrimp scampi and homemade apple pie from apples that grew in their yard last fall. It was a delightful evening. I am tickled that I get to live near my siblings again, after living apart for more than forty years. So, for me, community has changed a lot, but it is still good.

This morning, I read a fascinating opinion piece today by Michael Gerson at The Washington Post. It’s called “Trump Should Fill Christians with Rage. How Come He Doesn’t?” I found especially compelling the history of first century Palestine and its parallels to today’s society. A quote in the article jumped out at me, since I had not written this post yet. It was part of his answer to the question asked in the title of the opinion: “It has been said that when you choose your community, you choose your character.” I decided to use this quote to write a golden shovel poem about my best friend I left in Bahrain.

For Vinolia

It has been too long since I saw you and quite awhile since we’ve talked.
Has Janna had a great beginning to the school year? You all have
been on my mind. I miss our ready chats. I
said we could get together and deal with the curriculum
that the church school will soon need.
When does that work for you?
You can let me know. How did we
choose to go to Bahrain anyway?
Your land and my land were thousands of miles apart, yet
community was waiting for us in the Middle East.
You came north; I came east. Did we
choose to be friends? Or were we chosen?
Your friendship has built my spirit and
character, and I think you would say the same. Love you!

Thank you, Maureen, for hosting this month’s Spiritual Journey Thursday.

Spiritual Journey Thursday – Nurturing our Summer Souls

From a beautiful walk around a remote lake in Oregon
Flowers in Oregon
That was amazing sea bass on the grill
Walking the dogs in Seattle.
The night before we went to the hospital for my daughter to have her baby.

Summer started and the next morn
my very first grandchild was born.
It’s my first summer after teaching retirement–
now Grammy-school is where my time is spent.
What a wondrous gift from God–
This new child has me awed.

Thank you, Carol, for hosting Spiritual Journey Thursday this month. 

Spiritual Journey Thursday – I Bind Unto Myself

Karen Eastlund is rounding up the post today.


Today is Spiritual Journey Thursday, and like Margaret wrote about today, I am feeling a little unbound, unmoored, and trying to find my way in my new chapter of life. Peter, when Jesus asked if the disciples wanted to leave him, answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”  (John 6:68) I, too, don’t want to leave, so I am claiming these truths today.

I bind unto myself today
Jesus–the Life, the Truth, the Way

I bind unto myself forever
The Love that cannot from me be severed

I bind unto myself the Power
of God, the one worthy strong tower

I bind unto myself the Name
of the One who o’er me has claim

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me;
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

From: I Bind Unto Myself Today