Love Listens ( My GraceTable February Post)

Join me at GraceTable. I saved a seat for you at the table.

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When I was a small child, my mother made certain I called my godmother to thank her for the gifts she gave me. Aunt Francis always gave me a piece of my silver pattern, her generous gifts a bit lost on me at the time. My stomach tightened up like a rubber band ball as I picked up the phone to call her each and every July, after the birthday gift arrived. I stalled and delayed, until Mother prompted me one final time to make that call.

Aunt Francis had a severe speech impediment. It manifested itself with long periods of silence between words. (Join me at GraceTable for the rest of my post.)

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Relearning The Lost Art of Rest

 

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In another life, I rushed. A lot. Hurried to the syncopated rhythm of my own heart beat. Well actually it wasn’t that poetic or rhythmic, it was sort of messy and chaotic. I once described the feeling of living a rushed and hurried life as an overwhelming feeling of being chased. I missed a lot in the frenzy. Failed to document, notice or capture much of the beauty that was then, as now, a part of this marvelous world.

Now as I learn the art of rest and live into a life where moments and periods of long carved out times of rest are a way of life, I love to sing the song of rest. Cheer folks on to simplify and to find ways to restore and rest in the everyday.

Poetry helps. It is healing. A balm. Living a life which is increasingly marked by simplicity serves as a fulcrum. Placing rest and regeneration as priorities is important. Vital to a rich and fuller way of enjoying what God has created.

Reading poetry brings me to a slow place of pondering. Of viewing life through a poet’s eyes. Writing in a compressed form such a poetry, helps me to economize my words. Tell a story in a way that perhaps shows more.Teases out more. Challenges me to make art that evokes a response of yes, I see it that way or yes, me too. Or even, wow, I missed that entirely.

My friend Shelly Miller has spent months studying, documenting, reading and learning about rest. And most importantly,  listening to a community of women as they lean  into the Sabbath and Sabbath rest. This community is called The Sabbath Society.

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I cannot give you the gift of rest per se, but I am giving away two copies of Rhythms of Rest written by my dear friend Shelly Miller. Shelly and I share a love of writing. We lived in the same smallish town for several years before Shelly and her husband H moved to London. Recently I heard her speak about the concept of Sabbath rest. I sat on the front row as she spoke in a Charleston church as part of her Rhythms of Rest book tour. Her message is life-giving and important. And her writing style is lovely.

For a chance to win a copy of Shelly’s book (I am giving away two copies) simply choose one of the following ways to enter. (US and Canada folks only, please)

One – Follow me on Instagram, @graceappears.

or

Two – Sign up to receive my free newsletter A Quiet Place For Words

Both my newsletter and my Instagram feed are increasingly becoming favorite place to write, make art and document the extraordinary ordinary in my world.

Three – Simply leave a comment on my blog and indicate you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Rhythms of Rest. Good luck. I hope you win. Names will be drawn on Saturday, November 19th,

(Shelly’s book is available for purchase at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble if you’d like to purchase a copy to give as a gift and to keep for yourself. As inspiration to hold rest up as a life-giving priority).

Be sure to visit Shelly’s website, Shelly Miller Writer dot com and follow her on instagram, Shelly Miller Writer too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I Suppose

 

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And I Suppose

Dead-headed blood-red geraniums lay in a weary heap
Someone deemed them past their peak
Guilty as charged
I re-adhered them
Bloom by spent and weary bloom

In my imagination lit up with wild hope of on second thought
Second chances defied nature’s laws
For blood-red geraniums who’ve been sentenced to the gallows

I suppose I followed some fool’s
Unwritten rules
Instead of following my own
Protocols of beauty

For a time

And I suppose I am a first rate fool
For once practicing
Deceptive rules of beauty

Explicitly implicit
Many may be found on the compost heap
Beside the geraniums past their prime, clipped and deemed unworthy

One more chip

Shipwrecked ships

I am a fool
Following the broken to a watery grave
Compelled by the cryptic stories they beheld

And for building my own defense

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Me Put It This Way

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Let Me Put It This Way

The fetal position was an option
Always
But so was one foot in front of the other
If you read this, say, 50 years from now
You should know
There were poets
Taking the pulse of grief

Of the world
Off the chart
Into unchartered red zones of grief

Weeping in unison drowns sorrow
Buoys the soul
Your shoulder a lifesaver
You shoulder a life and weep with those who weep
And write to tell about it

Catch your breath there is more to come
Save some tears for the next go round
And

Hope
Always

Love, everlasting
More

My tears speak French and Southern and pain
Fluent in make it stop
Last week and the week before that
And this
Drain the spirit and weaken the pulse
But joy
Transfusions of joy
Attend the anemic and weary world

Number two pencil, low on lead
Computer cartridge out of ink
Pens spent
The ebony ink  flowed its last drop
Words, written elude me
The timing could not be any worse
But can you hear my heart

Oral traditions of story telling would do well
To come back from the grave
Would you listen amid all the cries of pain
And tears of valid weeping
Lamentations of  Biblical proportion
Are on the rise

Would you hear the story of hope

I had to share my joy with pain
And pain with joy
My humanness binds me to your wounds
Humanity spans the globe
Crosses the Atlantic, The North, The South

The weary world hangs its collective head and cries
Sunken heads bent downward sink the spirit like the Titantic
Pain is our iceberg

And the spectrum of human emotion
Immeasurable, unfathomable
Mourning and grieving
Crying out, is it morning yet
Mercy, is it morning
Yet

And Jesus wept
And surely He is weeping still

Lord have mercy
I speak Southern and am becoming fluent in
Make it stop

Grace