Oct 14 2011

{Day 14} Friday Florilegium

Yesterday, I read a fabulous children’s story aloud to Jane and Jack, The Bootmaker and the Elves. I loved the story, the Texan twang of the dialogue, and the captivating artwork. I also loved the creative transformation of the main character, all captured in just a few pages.

In the spirit of that story, I got out one of my favorite Mary Oliver poems that also celebrates paying attention to the small and unnoticed, and its invitation to mystery.

“Just a minute,” said a voice…

Just a minute,” said a voice in the weeds.
So I stood still
in the day’s exquisite early morning light
and so I didn’t crush with my great feet
any small or unusual thing just happening to pass by
where I was passing by
on my way to the blueberry fields,
and maybe it was the toad
and maybe it was the June beetle
and maybe it was the pink and tender worm
who does his work without limbs or eyes
and does it well
or maybe it was the walking stick, still frail
and walking humbly by, looking for a tree,
or maybe, like Blake’s wondrous meeting, it was
the elves, carrying one of their own
on a rose-petal coffin away, away
into the deep grasses. After awhile
the quaintest voice said, “Thank you.” And then there was silence.
For the rest, I would keep you wondering.

 


Sep 30 2011

Friday Florilegium

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This past week, dealing with job searching and rejection letters, a Patty Griffin song has been my companion. The song speaks about Mary, a woman who lived with uncertainty and loss, yet even now, her presence of faith and strength shines. I’m reminded that there are greater forces at work, that we are all surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

Mary’s role in my life was solidified long before I knew about doctrines. She led me to Jesus through the cross on a sky blue rosary when I was 4 years old and, without a doubt, praying the rosary helped me through my high school years. When I happen upon little wooded prayer spaces, like the one above at Seattle University, I feel her presence encouraging me to take a deep breath and remember what is important.

Protestant or Catholic perspectives aside, she birthed and raised the Savior for the life of the world, and lived through all the joy and sorrow that calling entailed. I believe she is somehow still involved in mothering the world and pointing the way to Jesus.

And even more, Jesus would have first learned to pray by her example, so I figure that if I can ask my friends for prayer, then I can ask for hers.

(If you would like to listen, turn off the Music for Dreaming to the right, and then click here.)

Mary by Patty Griffin

Mary you’re covered in roses, you’re covered in ashes
You’re covered in rain
You’re covered in babies, you’re covered in slashes
You’re covered in wilderness, you’re covered in stain
You cast aside the sheet, you cast aside the shroud
Of another man, who served the world proud
You greet another son, you lose another one
On some sunny day and always stay, Mary
Jesus says Mother I couldn’t stay another day longer
Flys right by and leaves a kiss upon her face
While the angels are singin’ his praises in a blaze of glory
Mary stays behind and starts cleaning up the place

Mary, she moves behind me
She leaves her fingerprints everywhere
Every time the snow drifts, every time the sand shifts
Even when the night lifts, she’s always there

Jesus said Mother I couldn’t stay another day longer
Flys right by and leaves a kiss upon her face
While the angels are singin’ his praises in a blaze of glory
Mary stays behind and starts cleaning up the place

Mary you’re covered in roses, you’re covered in ruins
you’re covered in secrets
You’re covered in treetops, you’re covered in birds
who can sing a million songs without any words
You cast aside the sheets, you cast aside the shroud
of another man, who served the world proud
You greet another son, you lose another one
on some sunny day and always stay
Mary

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Friday Florilegium 1



Mar 4 2011

Friday Florilegium

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Feeling scattered these past weeks–where did February go?–I decided to collect all the threads and projects of my life into one notebook. If I’m at a loss for where to begin, I simply open it and see what’s next.

But there is more in here than just to-do lists. It also has joys and thanksgivings, and visions for why the projects are important.  Just having it on my desk helps me remember to look with love, nurture relationships, and see the beauty in the tasks before me–even the most daily and ordinary, like meal planning.

Loving is the way to discover an infinite calendar of time and tie together all the seemingly scattered threads of life.

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This week’s Florilegium is a favorite poem, The Lake Isle of Innisfree, which I often read or listen to when feeling scattered.

Innisfree is not so much a physical place for me, but a slower pace and place of the heart, which I visit by taking time away from screen-life and reconnecting with the trees and birds and wider world outside my window, welcoming a friend for tea, cooking a meal from scratch, getting into a good book, taking a walk with my camera, praying, or writing a snail mail note to someone.

Listen to a lovely sung version of it by Claire Holley


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

–William Butler Yeats

Friday Florilegium 1




Mar 2 2011

Guested by God

I simply sit at my desk this morning, in silence, pen in hand, paper ready for whatever words might come. My pinched heart stretches and expands and trusts a little more, to live a little larger, feel a little more deeply, ask more scary questions, hope more strongly in what I believe.

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The Spirit’s breath is like a hummingbird by my ear and God’s presence surrounds, the Love that weaves all moments of doing and living together.

But then my heart shrinks back from the Presence which is all that is Love and Joy and Beauty and Truth.

Too vulnerable, I whisper, too intimate.

So away from the moment and the face of God I flee, disconnecting and distracting myself with even the best of gifts and joys.

Ferry Flyer by SLF

It is not simply God that I flee, but myself:  All that I am, all I wish I wasn’t and all that I long to be reflected in that Face.

And God pursues me, until I stop and turn and be simply Susan. Here. Now.

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God names, calls, woos, loves us, to the ends of the earth and the farthest reaches of time, always whispering,

“Yes, I see that, and this, and even that, and I love you. I love you. Always. Keep your eyes on me.

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To welcome God’s presence in this moment means welcoming ourselves as well with God’s own hospitality. No posturing, not hiding, no fleeing, otherwise the hospital-now of graced healing cannot do its work.

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack’d anything.

“A guest,” I answer’d, “worthy to be here”;
Love said, “You shall be she.”
“I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord, but I have marr’d them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
“My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
So I did sit and eat.
(George Herbert)

In every moment, we are guested by Love.

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And as we are welcomed by Love, and welcome ourselves, welcoming others becomes a way of life.

Love welcomes the weary and angry hearts, the dry and cracked deserts of lost dreams, the icy wastes of bitter memory, the apathetic spirit of nothing-will-change.

Then sweeping God goes to work with her broom and clears and cleans, finding the lost coins of gifts with laughing joy on her lips.

The shepherd God goes searching high and low for the wandering heart, finding it shivering and cold, alone and afraid, Come with me, little one.

The long-loving  God runs to us and welcomes us home with a feast to this gift of life, and feeds the famished with his own self.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Come, in this moment, sit and eat.

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Feb 23 2011

Telling Time

Sun Cat

Years ago, I entered a new world of desks

in straight rows, bells, and tasks like

see-jane-run and

m is for mr munching mouth.

I loved mixing more

paints and colors with gooey glue

all over hands and

paper blue birds with beak and tongue

(Birds need tongues too)

Time was everywhere at once yet now

smaller

faster

marked off by things to do

read. listen. repeat. write.

a start-stop world.

When Time-to-Clean-Up arrived

I always chose my favorite featherduster

to-ing and fro-ing far from the flurry to finish

unworried by missing mittens or colorful gluey messes made

and teacher let me be, for a moment

free

(an edited repost from the archives, Susan Forshey, 10/2009)


Dec 13 2010

Patience

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A quiet day of sunshine, writing and prayer…deep in Advent waiting, working on my dissertation and cooking a batch of soup.

“Instead of asking why the help has not come, the person at prayer learns to look carefully at what is actually going on in his or her life,… and ask, ‘Could this be the help that God is providing?'” (Eugene Peterson, Earth and Altar, 76)

Meditating on this poem by Teilhard de Chardin as I write:

    Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
    We are quite naturally impatient in everything
    to reach the end without delay.
    We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
    We are impatient of being on the way
    to something unknown,
    something new.
    Yet it is the law of all progress that is made
    by passing through some stages of instability
    and that may take a very long time.

    And so I think it is with you.
    Your ideas mature gradually. Let them grow.
    Let them shape themselves without undue haste.
    Do not try to force them on
    as though you could be today what time
    — that is to say, grace —
    and circumstances
    acting on your own good will
    will make you tomorrow.
    Only God could say what this new spirit
    gradually forming in you will be.

    Give our Lord the benefit of believing
    that his hand is leading you,
    and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
    in suspense and incomplete.

In gratitude for….
Sunshine after a pouring rain weekend.

Singing in the Bethany choir and the little community we are.

Words. No matter how much I wrestle, I still love them.

Lovely dinner with Anna, Maggie, and Erin at a yummy vegan restaurant, Plum. Who knew faux cheese could taste so good?

Delightful conversations at church yesterday.

Ornament making with Jack and Jane, with Sam and Alex.

Glitter–everywhere, especially in hair as a shimmery crown.
A wonderful sermon on Peace.

An interim pastor comes January 10th!

The worship song, Hear us, a prayer for when I don’t know what else to do except pray.

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