Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Twenty Years Later...

morning plea
Good morning, God, whoever you are.
My heart offers welcome.
I sense your calming, caring presence
as this stiff, aging body stretches
tentatively into the day.

From the news on NPR to the sounds
of chanting from a cherished CD,
from the whisper of the comforting
hear to the songs of the towhee and
robin and wren outside my window,
my world is filled with signs of life
and living, even in the midst of
memories of the dear departed
which accopany me during these
February days, death relentlessly
stalking my mind and heart.

Comfort this one small person today,
Grandfather God. As I crawl into
your lap, caress my tear-stained face
with your tender hands and hold me
close for just a little while.
Is that your dear voice I hear
whispering, "Precious child, this, too,
shall pass," in my ear?

Twenty years ago today my eldest son died. Though much time has passed, I miss him still and remember, remember, remember...

evening prayer
With tear-stained face I watch the shades
of night fall on this pain-wracked day.
My God, my God, will this grief never end?
For twenty years I've walked this road
of sorrow, this trail of tears.
Can I not let it go- or will it not release me?
Or is it simply that this mother's heart
breaks with regret- for what might have been,
for what will never be?

Most of the wounds have healed,
I think. The healing balm of gentle grace,
administered by loving hands and hearts,
has done its work. And yet...and yet...
      A wound remains which only
      you can heal, Holy One.
      A wound remains which needs
      your healing touch to make me
      truly whole again.
      I believe....
              help my unbelief. Amen

Mom and Dad with Carl


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bits & Pieces...

I think the Boys Scouts of America missed their chance to be an inclusive, welcoming organization when they, in what seemed to me a cowardly move, put off deciding if they would admit openly gay young men to their troops, accept openly gay persons as leaders. There is this guy, Jesus, I have come to know over the years of my life and who I feel privileged to have as my life example and guide, and he welcomed everyone...no exceptions. Tax collectors, lepers, blowhards, prostitutes, deniers, betrayers...all had a place at the table with him. BSA, are you paying attention?

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Heard a recent report on NPR about a study that had been done at one of the prestigious medical facilities in the nation (I forget which one- I think in Boston) which looked at the long-term survival rates of early-diagnosed breast cancer when it was treated with lumpectomy and radiation as compared to when it was treated by mastectomy. The results were that the less invasive treatment resulted in better long-term survival rates. Personally, I was overjoyed, since this had been the path I had taken back in 1984 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Obviously, I'm still here- and so are several other women I know who followed this course of treatment. So a big hurrah for those researchers who continue to care deeply about women's health issues and work to provide us with the best options.

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Surrounded, as I am in my position as chaplain at a nursing care facility, by aging in a very in-your-face way, I find myself thinking about my own aging journey on a regular basis, reflecting upon how I want/hope it will be...about the kind of "old lady" I would like to be...about what I want to reflect and convey to those younger than myself, most especially my children and grandchildren, about this adventure which comes to all of us fortunate enough to live into and beyond our seventies. This morning, as I sat before the fireplace in my living room- a beautiful, deep-blue room with high ceilings and white crown moldings, with friend-created art on the walls and a comfortable willow rocker in which to park myself- I found myself writing a few lines, which developed into a few more, which became a poem on aging, which I share with you now. One of our residents, age 94, recently said to me, "Nobody ever tells us how to BE 94." It is my hope that, as more and more of us share the aging journey, those who come after us will have a better idea of "how to be" the older person they have become.

reflection on aging...
My life is my own
Made up of choices
Decisions   options
Fewer, perhaps,
Than once-upon-a-time
But many still
My mind and imagination
Unbounded by time or space
My limitations mostly physical
Imposed by lack of energy
Or pain
But these are seldom and few,
Thank God
And most days
Most hours
I am thankful for
My age with all its
Many gifts-
Of people known
And places seen
Of books read and music heard
Of tears and laughter shared
Meals prepared and eaten
In good company
Chidren laughing
Hugging  crying   shouting
With exuberance and joy
Of quiet evenings
Sitting in the firelight
My mind alight
With memories
Then restful nights
Of sleep's small death
And morning's gift
Of another lovely day
My life's my own
And I am privileged
To share it
With you

Blessings on your today, dear ones. May sunshine light your path and if the rains should fall, put back your head and welcome the refreshing drops into your mouth with relish. And if you are snowbound, throw a snowball or two for me. Oh, and don't forget to make a snow angel and mark it with my name. Love, Linda