A Gentle Rain

Photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger

Love ripens in the strangest gardens. Ann and Adoniram Judson lived in Burma (Myanmar). When there was war between England and Burma, the Burmese imprisoned Adoniram because they assumed he was British (which he wasn’t).

Unlike her husband, Ann had learned the language of their adopted country. Her repeated appeals to the government to spare Adoniram’s life eventually led to his release. In the meantime, she brought food and clothing daily and wisely hid her husband’s papers in the pillow in his cell so his work would not be destroyed.

Cicero believed we should measure affection by its strength and constancy. On a scale of 1 to 10, Ann and Adoniram scored A+.

Companionship

Theologian Robert McAfee Brown has said, “I believe we are placed here to be companions—a wonderful word that comes from cum panis (“with bread”). We are here to share bread with one another so that everyone has enough. The sharing begins in our homes and ripples out to all of society.

Another writer, a woman named Abbie Graham, explained it like this:

(Love) lives not, I think, in bread and wine, but in the breaking of bread and in the sharing of wine. Bread unbroken does not fortify the heart, but bread divided among all who hunger will sustain the spirit. 

Abbie Graham

Companionship is excellent bread for the world. May we all find fresh ways of living and loving together, while growing in freedom and love for others.

A Six Word Balance

Norman Vincent Peale was once asked to give a message to America and he gave it in six words: “Expect a miracle. Make it happen.” These six words strike a balance between expecting and doing.

Lowell M. Atkinson then asked, “And what gets in the way?” Atkinson believed our negative thoughts, our worries and anxieties and depressions, and our fears often keep many thousands of miracles from happening. This negative thinking blankets our eyes and makes it so we can’t see anything good.

Someone asked a positive thinker, “Don’t you ever entertain negative thoughts?” and she said, “I have negative thoughts; they come to me — but I don’t entertain them. I don’t welcome them. I don’t hold on to them; I don’t nurture them.” If instead of nurturing our negative thoughts we reversed them, we would surely begin making good things happen.

The truth is negative thinking is toxic. It can blind us to wonderful possibilities we might enjoy if we worked to help them along.

The Currency of Tears

In Nevada Barr’s novel, A Superior Death, Ms. Barr describes a tender encounter between the principal character, Anna Pigeon, and a diver named Hawk.

“I’m sleeping on the Belle tonight,” she said. “Can I offer you a nightcap?”

“Only if the night comes with it.”

“It does.”

They walked together, not touching, to the boat. Anna latched the cabin door behind them… Hawk sat on the blue-vinyl-covered bench and watched without speaking as Anna cranked open the hatch, letting in the soft night air, the light of the stars. He watched while she put two cassettes in her well-used player and punched play on one side and pause/play on the other. As Cher’s voice sang, “It’s in his kiss,” he smiled.

“Be gentle with me,” he said and Anna laughed.

“Your first time?”

“Might as well be.”

“Orphans in the storm.” She sat beside him and he took her face in his hands, smoothed her hair back with callused fingers.

“If anything was new to Anna, it was the sadness. As they made love, sweetly, gently, she felt Hawk’s tears falling on her neck and breast. She found herself crying too, without knowing why. In sympathy, she realized, but whether for Hawk or herself she couldn’t tell.”

Excerpt from A Superior Death by Nevada Barr

A tender encounter, for sure. And the tears, the tears falling on Anna’s neck and breast. A mix of Hawk’s from not being able to be with someone he loved more than Anna and of Anna’s from missing a husband who died much too soon.

We make lots of concessions on our way through life, especially in honor of love. The more painful ones come to tears. But love is not a feeling. It is being for the other person. “To love is to be for another and to act for another, even at a cost to oneself” (Charlene Payne Kammerer). In the freedom we give ourselves for loving, the loving may require a payment in a currency of tears.

Summer Solstice

Summer, a magical time when the shadows are short and the days are long. A time to abandon shoes and run through lush grasses like a child. Stop to pick wild flowers along the way to nowhere. Run in circles and roam aimlessly beneath blue skies, releasing worries to the wind. Get lost. Find your way. Get lost again. Let the day take you where it will.

Go deep within the Milky Way at night. Dream until the sun comes up. Rise at will and do it all over again.

But thy eternal summer shall not fade.

—William Shakespeare

Happy summer, everyone!

The Doldrums

There are lovers who are lonely,
beds full of dreamless bodies that toss and turn
on each other,
crying themselves into darkness,
darkness taking over the moonlight,
the sunlight falling way to rain.

Their thoughts are dappled with ambivalence,
bleeding hearts rimmed with emptiness,
spilling everything that was
into the nothingness of now,
for they gave and lost themselves,
and lost and gave and lost again.

No longer shining like the sea
nor raging like rivers,
they drift into the doldrums,
the place where half souls dwell
without their mates,
existing as ghosts in the flesh.

Longing for the movement of bodies
of water,
longing for completion
of souls,
longing to go back, longing to take back,
longing, longing, longing to hear the wind whisper
I’ve got you and I’ll carry you home.

Voice of a Lifetime

Wish I had a name to address this letter to,
that’s all I’ve wanted,
your name,

it’s been nine years,
the night ended differently for both of us,
it was such a strange sensation,
some might call it an out of body experience,
that whole weekend felt odd,

Sundays usually are my days off,
I worked a double that day,
I remember every detail,
that’s my point,
you caught my attention immediately,
I went home that night to write

  • How did that happen?
  • Should I run after you?
  • How was this even possible?

Something I’ve never felt still to this day,
you didn’t physically touch me,
somehow you sent me into outer space,
every cell electrified,
your voice sent fireworks to my brain,
I was paralyzed,
in shock at the touch of what just happened,
I no longer had any idea of the physical,
but I watched you walk up those stairs and into your night.

Almost 9 years have passed,
still taken and consumed by that force,
the life of that man,

I don’t know if I am the love he deserves,
I don’t know the outcome,
you might be married,
knowing you took everything I am that night,
without you life now is empty.

December 9th 2012 you came into my life,
best experience of my life,
I don’t even know your name,
thank you for having a voice that saved me.

Jacquelyn

Anger

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A proverb says,“The height of folly is to be quick-tempered. A mind at ease is life and health.” I never use the word folly. I roll with, Man, you look weird when you lose your temper. And all of us do, you know. But the proverb is right. Too much rage can bruise the soul. Marvin Gaye once sang, “When anger is flaming hot, it burns to the bitter end.”

I ain’t gonna let you get the best of me,
I’m gonna go somewhere and cool
This is not the way my head’s supposed to be,
You’ve got me feelin’ like some silly fool
But I know a real nice place where I can go
And feel the way I’m supposed to feel

Marvin must have had a safe place where he felt appreciated, valued, and loved. A place where he could breathe, refocus, and cool down. Maybe you have somewhere you go to diffuse. A brisk morning jog, a quiet midday stroll through a nearby park, a late afternoon coffee with close friends –– all of these can be sacred places where we nurture what matters most, a little peace of mind.

Daydreaming

Dreams are illustrations … from the book your soul is writing about you.

Marsha Norman

Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman is a playwright, screenwriter and novelist. She is the co-director of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard. Needless to say, her expertise and accomplishments are extensive. In an adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel The Secret Garden, Norman wrote the book and lyrics for the Broadway musical, an intricate part in bringing The Secret Garden alive on stage. She also wrote the libretto for the musical adaptation of the film The Bridges of Madison County, one of my personal favorites.

I love what Norman says about dreams being the illusions from the book your soul is writing about you. My soul is writing about its mate— you, my love, my soul is writing about you. When I am in my garden, hands digging in the soil of the earth, my head is in the clouds daydreaming of you. Daydreams are a means to be with you until the day comes when my dreams come true. They will, it’s only a matter of time. Every bridge I cross is a step closer to the illusions of my soul.

Into You

Emeril John Lagasse III is an American celebrity chef, restaurateur, television personality, and cookbook author. We know him for his mastery of Creole and Cajun cuisine and for his self-developed New New Orleans style dishes.

On his cooking shows he pioneered the catchphrases “Kick it up a notch!” and “Bam!”

Ariana Grande follows Emeril’s suggestion to kick it up a notch by doing that very thing in her song, Into You. Her chorus can raise body temperatures to boiling:

Baby come light me up, and baby I’ll let you on it
A little bit dangerous, but baby that’s how I want it
A little less conversation and a little more touch my body
‘Cause I’m so into you, into you, into you

Alexander Kronlund, Ariana Grande, Ilya, Max Martin, Savan Kotecha

I know at the moment it’s hard to answer Ariana’s call, but in time we will be able to lay aside social distancing. When we do, a little more touch my body might be exactly what the doctor orders.

PLAYING THE ODDS

In reply to IN THE AIR

I know why you associate Phil Collins’ song “In the Air Tonight” with Miami Vice. The song played during the show’s pilot episode on September 16, 1984. It was an iconic moment in television history, combining cinematography and imagery with music to cater to an “I want my MTV” craze. In a jet-black Ferrari, detective duo Crockett and Tubbs sped soberly through dark city streets while the song played on, building tension and posing relationship questions like “Was it real?”

(The answer is yes.)

During the fourth season we again heard “In the Air Tonight” during a scene that led up to Sonny Crockett being shot and critically wounded. Detective Crockett was a man of few words who enforced the law while living by his own set of rules. His fashion sense was always cool, complementing his laid-back attitude, but he was prone to fits of anger and bouts of depression. Beneath it all, he had a tender heart. Fans loved rooting for him, flaws and all.

We are all flawed, but some of us (like me) are flawed with extremes. We love with all that we are, with every ounce of our being. Our presence is often calming and uplifting. Full of passion, we can be intoxicating. If our perceptions become tainted or skewed, that loving energy can convert into vitriol and drowning depression. We’re stable until we fall, and when we fall, we don’t always go down alone.

So when you hear Collins sing, I’ve seen your face before, my friend, but I don’t know if you know who I am and wonder how well any of us really know the other, I have an answer for you. The talented Mr. Collins wrote another song called “Against All Odds.” Perhaps you’ll recall this line: You’re the only one who really knew me at all.