Spiritual Journey Thursday – Love

“Welcome to Spiritual Journey Thursday. On the first Thursday of each month we gather to share our insights. This month our focus is on virtues,” from Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog!

I’m thinking today about faith expressed in so many different ways, so many different religions. I feel thankful that love is the main virtue. I will keep believing this one fact — that God is love.

“But the fruit of the spirit is LOVE: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” I John 4:16

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13

I used this verse from the love chapter for a golden shovel poem today.

It’s another day and
the muezzin is calling to prayer now
with his minor chord pensive plea, these
adhan come not one, two, or three–
but five times a day and the faithful remain
tuned to hear, exercising their faith,
praying regularly. Me, I don’t always hear, but I hope
in a big God to hear and
understand the hearts of all in Love,
and the wild and grateful prayers I utter. But
I am surely glad I don’t head up the
prayer collection–the greatest
challenge would be to make sense of
the childish, pious, sad, tender, and voiceless prayers–these
appeals go to the one who knows because God is
Love.

Life

Thank you, Mary Lee, for hosting today’s Poetry Friday Round Up. She wrote a powerful villanelle about her retirement. You can visit her at her new blog, A(nother) Year of Reading.

Image by Please Don’t sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay

The Poem-a-Day on 31 July 2021 was “Life” by Carrie Law Morgan Figgs.

        1
A moment of pleasure,
    An hour of pain,
A day of sunshine,
    A week of rain,
A fortnight of peace,
  A month of strife,
These taken together
  Make up life. 

              2
One real friend
    To a dozen foes,
Two open gates,
  ’Gainst twenty that’s closed,
Prosperity’s chair,
    Then adversity’s knife;
These my friends
    Make up life.

              3
At daybreak a blossom,
    At noontime a rose,
At twilight ’tis withered,
    At evening ’tis closed.
The din of confusion,
    The strain of the fife,
These with other things
    Make up life.

              4
A smile, then a tear,
    Like a mystic pearl,
A pause, then a rush
    Into the mad whirl,
A kiss, then a stab
  From a traitor’s knife;
I think that you’ll agree with me, 
    That this life.

I wrote a summary poem about Figgs’ “Life” poem. I’m not sure why! I wrote two lines about each of her four stanzas.

About Life
After Carrie Law Morgan Figgs

Moments to months
The joy and the pain
Friends and prosperity
Adversity’s disdain

From daybreak to night
Whole lifetimes pass by
Life’s mystic, varied flurry
Days of storm and blue sky

Spiritual Journey Thursday – Respect

Thank you, Linda, for hosting this Spiritual Journey Thursday today. I saw the word respect on the prompt calendar, and it was on my mind when I saw this recent post by Carlos Whittaker, introducing himself to his new followers:

 

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A post shared by Carlos Whittaker (@loswhit)

He explains about his Instagram account, that it is a place of hope, yet it’s not a “feel good” account. He gave this advice for his followers when they interact with each other over a hard topic:

“just show up here with this phrase inked on your soul…
Don’t stand on issues…
Walk with people…”

I have been thinking of these words all week because I see some friends and family traveling down paths of conspiracy theories. How can I walk with them respectfully? How can you believe such foolishness? I want to shout. Sometimes the seemingly-crazy ideas are all tied up in religion and God-belief too, so that is troubling and confusing.

I wrote a poem called a double golden shovel, inspired first by Linda and a “clunker line” poem she wrote with one of my lines and this recent post by Kim Johnson. I wrote the following poem as advice to myself. I find it natural to do one of two things when people have ideas I don’t respect:

  1. I become impatient with and disrespectful of the person.
  2. I just walk away and ignore them and their bad ideas.

But as Carlos suggests, there is another way — “with this phrase inked on your soul…Don’t stand on issues…Walk with people…”

Respect Advise to Me

Don’t expect that respect comes easily. With
stand the temptation to blame this
on others who “get tired, keep on tryin'” (to borrow a phrase).
Issues of  r-e-s-p-e-c-t  aren’t solved by getting beliefs inked.
Walk in the footsteps of others. Be fully on
with empathy. Think of all people, not only your
people. Open wide the part that may reach others–your home soul.

Then after I read the two quotes together at the beginning and end of these lines, they seemed backwards. I would have preferred to have them the other way around, so I tried again. It was an interesting exercise, with very different possibilities for where the poem could go. There are also some difficult pairs when doing a double golden shovel, with word couplings like “Don’t this.” However, it was time well-spent getting me thinking about how to respect those I desperately disagree with.

Respect Advise to Me, Take 2

With new urgency I listen. Don’t
this-and-that and what-about to justify your stand.
Phrase of respect emblazoned on
inked chest doesn’t fix hatred issues.
On empathetic legs of grace I will walk
your road of pain and humanity. In peace, with
soul-searing hope, I will touch the hearts of people.

Spiritual Journey – Nurturing Our Summer Souls

Thank you, Carol, for hosting the monthly Spiritual Journal Thursday this week. Her post is fully of breathing deeply, enjoying and being refreshed by nature’s bounty. Be sure to visit her post to read her reflections and summer joy.

Carol asked us to describe “the art of summering” for this month’s post. I’ve not often been one for artfully summering. I usually have a whole lot of things on my to-do and to-go lists, and I get myself very busy. This summer my list has nowhere to go, but much to do, including:

Teaching

  • virtual summer camp with church children
  • tutor a new student to help him get ready for next year

Organizing

  • begin organizing my digital photos
  • organize and transfer ownership of many school Drive documents
  • start a regular organize-a-closet-or-cupboard-or-two-each-week schedule
  • transfer my teaching credential to California
  • finish the portfolio for my long drawn-out TESOL certificate

Learning

  • learn some stories and illustrations for two online trainings
  • study Spanish lessons on Duolingo

Reading

Writing

  • several blog posts a week for the writing groups I’ve joined
  • Teacher’s Write, reflecting, writing, renewing with Kate Messner

So, having that list so long and detailed concerns me a bit that I will get too busy or fail; it doesn’t make me think of living artfully. While I wrote that list above, I was reminded of a blog post I wrote last year from a prompt on The Isolation Journals. The prompter reminded us to write a to-feel list first before writing a to-do list, letting the to-feel list guide our to-do list.

I have been neglecting my to-feel list, so I stopped today and considered what I want to feel this summer.

  • grateful
  • hopeful
  • joyful
  • respected
  • peaceful
  • contented
  • interested
  • empathetic
  • revolted at wrongs and injustice

I think that is a good start, and I see that many items on my to-do list can serve these feelings. I took time this week to go outside and write. Even in this really sweltering heat, it can help us feel more deeply, pray more earnestly, and remember what is most important. This small poem was inspired today by the trees.

Trees with poem -- Consider the flowers and trees The ones that don’t labor or spin But live in beauty on the breeze Here today, then gone again May these sweet trees inform, and my faltering faith, transform ~Denise Krebs from Matthew 6:28-30

Consider the flowers and trees
The ones that don’t labor or spin
But live in beauty on the breeze
Here today, then gone again
May these sweet trees inform,
and my faltering faith, transform

~Denise Krebs based on Matthew 6:28-30

Spiritual Journey Thursday – Gratitude

Spiritual Journey Thursday for June 2021, hosted by Ruth

My one word for 2021 is Gratitude. In 2021 my goal was to say thank you more often–to God and to people.

I wrote about it here and here, and this poem in January with Stacey Joy and the Open Write group at Ethical ELA.

One Word 

Gratefully
I open the letter
ever-flowing and
breathed by you

Gratitude
for love,
life,
learning

Gratefully
I sit at the seashore
and chew on the manna

Gratitude
for sustaining,
up-ending,
building

Gratefully
Gratefully
Gratefully

Welcoming the
flow of justice,
ever-flowing justice

I started this Spiritual Journey Thursday post the other morning because I wanted to join in this monthly group that Margaret Simon had told me about, and that Ruth is hosting this month. This Gratitude post was on my mind when my husband said something sweet today.

I made Mexican food for lunch–fajitas, black beans, homemade salsa and tortillas. It was yummy. Then, soon after we ate, I needed to get ready for a tutoring session.

When he realized it was time for me to get on my Zoom meeting, he began to put away leftovers and do the dishes, saying, “I’ll finish this lunch project now–with a heart full of gratefulness, taste buds dancing in my mouth, and a full tummy.” (I took a minute to jot it down!) This is just one snapshot of this man who has been a role model of gratefulness during our marriage.

Gratitude doesn’t come quite as easily for me, but I’m practicing this year. That’s why it became my one little word. This Epiphany tree, which I put up on the day after the insurrection on January 6, continues to light up my house this June and probably will all year!

The painting of my one word Gratitude is there, as well, to remind me to say thank you–for an amazing husband, our 38th anniversary coming up, God who forgives me in my selfish sufficiency, health care providers, scientists, governments trying their best to solve a novel crisis with limited resources, my health and home, vaccinations, my fine black gel pen, a new president for the U.S., my blog and being able to write and record thoughts and feelings, Kindle books read and waiting to be read, healthy food, clean water, my daughters and their husbands, Jesus who makes life a joy, and so much more.

 

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