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.

June 2

SAY IT’S WITH A POEM

Say that every human being

is born with a mystery, a vessel that

hungers and thirsts.

Say no one explains this mystery right away

and each one tries to fill the void with

earthly things

which, of course, never work.

 

Say there is a great divide

and although omniscient and omnipotent

The One Who Satisfies must find a way

to communicate.  A great Lover who is

limited nevertheless to finding ways

to reveal Himself (or Herself:  the grammar

is itself limited).

 

Say sometimes a magnificent sunset will do it,

but usually it’s with words.

He has to use the right language, of course;

it’s His fault (there being many).

Say someone hears their name in a song.

 

Say it’s a halting, hesitating, most definitely awkward

kind of song—a poem.

Say it’s with a poem, and say someone hears their name

like it’s a personal love letter.

Say it’s no accident.

May 4

California Girl

Last evening I watched on public television the story of Janis Joplin.  I hadn’t intended to stay but I found myself drawn in by the story and yes, that haunting music.  Rejected even ridiculed when young—even voted somewhere – a bar maybe –“the world’s ugliest man” – Janis was like young girls everywhere.  She just wanted to be loved.

Janis was bored with small-town life in Texas and it was about this time that she started to hear the music.  She had some musician friends, some guys who took her to Austin and it was in Austin that she heard those blues.   They called to her loneliness, maybe.  She began to mimic the sound for by this time she had discovered she had a pretty powerful voice.  In time, she went to San Francisco and with her band, Janis was a hit.

She tried to go home sometimes.  Once she thought her boyfriend was coming to marry her only instead when she called him, a woman answered.  He already had a wife or girlfriend and a baby; he was not coming to marry her.  One more time the shame of not being pretty enough, not being loved enough washed over Janis.  She went back to San Francisco (when she said she was going to Austin).  She became famous.

Maybe I was fascinated with Janis’s story because in the 60’s I, too, was a “California girl.”  I was living in Southern California with my young husband, working as a secretary at Long Beach State College.  It was there that I met a vivacious young receptionist at the Information Desk who sat with me on our lunch breaks and let me hear her recite Bible verses she was memorizing.  Those words were electricity for me (as she knew they would be).  I wanted to know Jesus Christ like that.  In a few months my husband and I were baptized together.  There’s more to that story, of course.  The road was not always smooth.

But there is one memory I have of that decade that reminded me of how easy it is to be seduced by admiration, affirmation.  My husband had a buddy at work who was trying to get in the movies and he asked if I would memorize a few lines and go with him to Hollywood to meet his agent, and perform our scene for him.  I was excited to be so close to the Hollywood scene, and I dressed in a way that makes me ashamed now as I think about it.  Around this time, we watched The Graduate and I cried all the way home.  I was ashamed of myself for getting so close to the immorality of that world (and the temptation in me).

I’ve written a poem about Janis (and maybe myself a little).

CALIFORNIA GIRL

Janis, Janis, little girl, I wish I could have been there

to tell you that you were lovely just the way you were

to tell you that you were loved and that your Creator had a

wonderful purpose for your life.

But you believed a lie—

that if you yelled loud enough maybe someone

would hear your pain and love you—

“I’ll do anything you want!” you cried, moaned–

(but you didn’t want to hear about that cross).

So they used you and you used, too, to relax they say

and then one day it was too late to go home.

And the men who knew you and used you sat around

discussing you many years after you were gone

(how did you die, dear girl, they didn’t say).

A woman talked about you, too.

She said “It was like being with God.  I wish I could have been there.”

Like I said, she believed a lie.

 

August 10

Hello world!

For my first blog, I want to quote a favorite verse from the Bible.  This is not a “Christian” blog exclusively, but I am most definitely a Christian.   I want to give credit to the Source of my very life, not to mention this new life I’m loving as I share poetry with friends.  This particular verse keeps coming back to my attention.  The first time I remember noticing it was in 1998, just weeks after my husband’s death.  He died in England, and there were many loving folks who came from the Isle of Wight to his memorial service on the mainland.  Then, I was obligated to take his ashes back to the States for yet another service.  When it was time to return to England (and my ministry with the British Methodist Church), I was depleted.  How does one face such a challenge?  I walked into a Christian book store somewhere, and on a wall there was the following verse.  It spoke to me then and it speaks to me today:  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)