Spiritual Journey Thursday – Gratitude

Continue…
To let gratitude be the pillow
Upon which you kneel to
Say your nightly prayer

~Maya Angelou’s in “Continue” Read the rest here.

Continue gratitude.

Is it cliché to focus on gratitude in the month of November in the U.S.? Perhaps. But here I am doing it again, with no regrets. This Spiritual Journey Thursday group’s theme last November was gratitude, too. I wasn’t part of the group then, but I did join others in writing daily haikus of gratitude, #gratiku. That experience led me to choose “gratitude” as my one little word for all of 2021, and I have tried to practice being more grateful always for the little things as well as the big things. If you haven’t already done so, I hope you’ll read Maureen Ingram’s touching poem about being grateful for a small big thing.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  I Thessalonians 5:16-18

When I signed up to host the Spiritual Journey Thursday group, the theme of Gratitude was on my mind. I decided to celebrate November again this year by writing a small poem of gratitude each day, focusing on one of the gifts of that day. I’m choosing to write small poems of any kind, but with three lines, like haiku (modern or traditional), blackjack / septercet (scroll down to Jane Yolen’s description of the septercet at this link), sijo, and hay(na)ku (as well as free-from-form poems where we don’t count syllables or words of gratitude!)

Here are my first days of thank you poems for this month of gratitude. I will keep adding to this post daily throughout the month. Please consider joining me by sharing your #gratitudepoem and #gratiku on social media.

1

Ten
days of
staycation with Keith

2

Mango
And Blueberry
Yogurt for dessert

3

Clear-eyed observing
No longer seeing the world
through sepia lenses

4

181 students completed
with DIBELS screenings
Sixty-eight to go

5

It’s all, all a gift
Our spiritual journey’s
glow of gratitude

(Thanks to Ruth Hersey and Chris Margocs for inspiring this found poem.)

6

Old friends smiling at
the airport–John and Barbie–
Here again, once more

7

A breakfast with felafels Always a bright wonder, one of my choice Bahrain delights

8

walking
at the
seaside at sunset

9

You
gave us
our daily bread

10

Cleaning
cupboards while
audio book listening

11

One unknown soldier
100 years ago rests
in peace. Thank you, sir.

12
Biryani
and curries
conversation even better

13
Sitting
outside, breezy
shady coffee spot

14
Dinner
with friends
delicious and healthy

15
Helping with a Zoom workshop
Three to seven, before dawn
Just the birds and I awake

16
Lumees
for dinner
Delicious vegan koshari

17
Almost
finished with
your yo-yo gift

18
Good
comprehensive health
care and insurance

19
Jesus-full Gospel of Mark
Filled my morning, as children
had fun and showed their learning

20
Birthday
party surprise
full of laughter

21
Teacher friends over
I’ll miss these cherished colleagues
Laughter, food, flowers

22
Unbirthday
party: teachers
over after school

23
Gifts to
Lina and Hanan
Reactions brought joy

24
Started
cooking for
ten for Thanksgiving

25
Lovely
time with
friends like family

26
For the beauty of
the verdict that helps Dixie
forge a new future

27
Garden
party with
Church School teachers

28
Reflective
time with
Thomas and Katie

29
Another
chapter finishing
today. Then more.

30
Angela has gone
to heaven. Jesus and she
are sipping good tea.

 

“We are all more blind to what we have than to what we have not.”
Audre Lourde

How will you share gratitude today?

 

 

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:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

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.