October 28

MEMORIES ARE PART OF AGING

Watching for God includes times when we grieve. Aging means we live with memories but memories are best left in the past. There is a Scripture in the Hebrew Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 5b that reads:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up…

My sister and I made a trip “back home” recently. It caused us great joy at first, especially just being together. But the experience has left me with a peculiar heartache. I wrote a poem about it–don’t have a title and won’t tell the whole story. That’s what poetry is for.

someone said you can’t go home again
and I know they were right
it’s like an intrusion
a journey into the future of your childhood
but I tried anyway
we drove back to the place where we grew up
we knocked on the door and an
older woman smiled and greeted us
and invited us in
and my brain tried to register
this is my friend, my little girl friend
only I am not six or ten or even 18
and neither is she
those little girls, the teenagers
they are gone and we can’t bring them back
so if I had to do it over again
I would not. I would leave the past alone.
I would be thankful for that little
girl who used to be my friend
but I would not try to bring her back again
you really can’t go home again
home is here, where I am now, in time
and she is in my childhood memory
and she’s not coming out to play anymore

August 16

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

Everybody loves a good story!  The teaching team at my church (The Fellowship at Two Rivers) is teaching the next series through the New Testament by telling the stories of the people.  We will very likely remember the stories and make the connection to our own lives.

So I’ll tell you a story of my latest trip to McKay’s Used Book Store.  I traded in some books and came back with some treasures.  One in the free bin caught my eye.  It was written by a psychiatrist/psychotherapist who contrasted the medical model of treating people with mental illness with what the author believes is the more accurate means—psychotherapy.  And why?  Because, he says, we are more than our brain—we are souls, souls in need of healing.  (E-mail me if you want the author’s name; I’m at poetryforthejourney@gmail.com.)

What do people need?  We need as infants to be nurtured and loved (I personally saw one precious little child in Haiti now receiving lots of love, but who cannot speak possibly because of just such a lack in infancy).  But we don’t stop needing love.  When we don’t get what we need, when we are hurt or neglected, we might survive physically but we carry around the wound.

Medicine can anesthetize a symptom but this author says to pay attention to our symptoms, they are trying to tell us something.  We are not physicians, but we as Christians are in the business of offering spiritual (or soul) healing.  How do we do this?  Well, one way I believe is simply to tell our stories.  I am starting to look at the senior members of my fellowship as treasuries of a lifetime of stories of God’s faithfulness.  Do you have a story?

July 29

Why Should Retirees Blog?

Here are 10 reasons why you should think about blogging if you are retired:

1.  You have a desire to serve and you have time to give.

2.  You like to write.

3.  You have a passion, whether it be cooking, gardening, golfing, New Testament studies, learning a new language, model railroads, baseball–you name it.

4.  You think a few people — or a lot of people — would like or benefit from what you have to teach or share.

5.  You are bored and need a new hobby.

6.  You’ve always been curious about social media.

7.  You like to give advice.

8.  You are a born teacher.

9.  You want to share some wisdom.

10.  You are a Christian and you’re looking for ways to share your faith with more people.

June 12

IT’S NOT DECEMBER YET

You want a poem about December only it’s not winter yet.

Barely autumn, the leaves timidly changing their clothes.

I’ve spent mostly all day watching them out my window

except for a trip to the downtown library where I came out

arms full of books–poems and essays and stories.

Stories of men and women living out the December of life

only winter is supposed to be the end—

the end of growth, a drying up of the sap, falling fruit–

Cold, covered over with snow and ice is what I remember

of winter in Pennsylvania when I was in the spring of life.

Only now approaching winter it would seem that a few

aches and pains notwithstanding (I have a few)

I sense new life, as if the library were the mother and I the

nursing child searching hungrily for what will satiate me.

Who are these people—authors who wrote so eloquently and

why don’t I know them better?  Where have I been?

What have I been doing instead of reading, especially the poets?

It appears that it’s not December yet.