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Archive for June 11th, 2015

Christine and Stuart

I have lost too many good friends over this past year in a very sudden, unexpected way. I grieve each of them. This  is a repeat of the words of honor I had nearly a year ago for my friend, companion writer and photographer, Christine Whitelaw. We had each dreamed and opened to the possibility of my visiting her in Australia one day. Instead, I have had to make do with walks on the beach with her through her pristine photography.

I love you Christine and I hold your husband Stuart and your sons in my heart as the anniversary of your “old life left behind and your new life begun” wherever you are.

The Subject Tonight Is Love
August 1, 2014 by napkinwriter

Photography by Christine Whitelaw (c)

I was introduced to the poems of Hafiz by my writing companion/mentor/friend, Janet Conner in Writing Down your Soul, in her books and e courses and her on-fire essence of purpose and intention in your personal life. http://www.janetconner.com
Christine, too, quoted Hafiz on occasion and the poem she selected below gives us a glimpse of her acceptance of the “impermanence of the body”.
She posted these words on March 20, 2014 by dadirri7 — Christine completed her travels of this mysterious existence quite abruptly on July 2, 2014.
She wrote:
“More on life and death from Hafiz: do you like the idea of being simply “a midair flight of golden wine”?
Deepening the Wonder by Hafiz

Death is a favor to us,
But our scales have lost their balance.
The impermanence of the body
Should give us great clarity,
Deepening the wonder in our senses and eyes
Of this mysterious existence we share
And are surely just traveling through.
If I were in the Tavern tonight,
Hafiz would call for drinks
And as the Master poured, I would be reminded
That all I know of life and myself is that
We are just a midair flight of golden wine
Between His Pitcher and His Cup.
If I were in the Tavern tonight,
I would buy freely for everyone in this world
Because our marriage with the Cruel Beauty
Of time and space cannot endure very long.
Death is a favor to us,
But our minds have lost their balance.
The miraculous existence and impermanence of Form
Always makes the illuminated ones
Laugh and Sing.
(from The Subject Tonight Is Love, poems of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)
http://www.amazon.com
My last words on Napkinwriter from Christine were posted on June 28, 2014, five days before she passed in response to my post on our 3 day family vacation on Mackinac Island in early June.
http://www.napkinwriter.wordpress.com/
Just for the Family Record, June 28, 2014 archives
dadirri7
“what a fabulous holiday Sue, I loved the butterfly house, and the pic of you three in rain gear … truly such fun and love to remember!”

Christine's LotusPhotography by Christine Whitelaw

Christine and I entered into our friendship through words…blogging…..and our hearts met across time and space, she in Australia, I in Michigan.
Through the permanence of words, we now transcend the impermanence of the body.
I remember the fun and love of our friendship.

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Longtime-Mariage-Cropped

Praying in Color Image by Sybil MacBeth

Some thoughts from Sybil (guest blog, featured in Praying in Color), and Sue, Napkinwriter and soon to be wife of 50 years.

Reply Note from Sue to Sybil about her following post:  Congrats on your continued journey. I am trying to do the same for Tom and me, approaching our 50th in less than 2 weeks. So far, what I’ve come up with is a box of note cards for him and one for me, to write a love note to each other, upon reflecting upon our journey. These are to be done ahead of the time we leave for our return to the site of our honeymoon — the Smoky Mountains, and then read one day at a time.

I said I would do 50 stories in 50 days on my Napkinwriter blog, (www.napkinwriter.wordpress.com) but the 50 stories will be stretched out through the end of this year, I believe. I remember, regarding COMMUNITY, that a dear priest friend of ours said that was exactly what marriage is, and that we had better let others in or our marriage would not succeed. That is a Truth we have well-lived. I love your “ground” words. I am going to play with that. I also am going to post your blog as my guest blog today, hopefully assuming your permission.

Longtime Marriage  by Sybil MacBeth
Posted on June 10, 2015

Sunday was Andy’s and my 46th wedding anniversary. We have been married for 70% of our lives. When we said “I will” to the beautiful and daunting vows in an Episcopal church, Andy was so young his parents had to sign a permission slip for the state of Maryland. “Yes, little Andy has our blessing to go on a lifelong field trip with Sybil.” It was a crazy thing Andy and I did. If we had been older we would have had the sense to be more scared. But we were convinced we were supposed to take this journey together.
I’ve been trying to write a post about our longtime marriage, but everything I write seems sappy or self-righteous. A few phrases and their visual images offer a playful, but succinct summary for me.
MARRIAGE is:
a playground,
a training ground,
a campground,
a feeding ground,
a breeding ground,
a battleground,
a fairground,
a background,
a foreground,
an underground,
Holy Ground.
But another word that keeps popping up in my brain is community. Marriage is community. Without the myriad number of people in our lives who have encouraged us, chastised us, guided us, loved us, and prayed for us, we would not be together today.

As a tight little twosome, we do not have the energy, creativity, or wisdom to weather the changes and challenges of growing up and living with another person. Support and training have come from both likely and unlikely sources. Family, friends, Christians, non-Christians, married people, single people, divorced people, old people, children. Clergy, therapists, authors, colleagues, alcoholics, addicts.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2 NRSV) For this journey, God has given us teachers and angels with many different faces. Our marriage is not just about the two of us. It is a communal undertaking.

FROM SYBIL:  Thanks for the reply, Susan. You are welcome to post it on your site. Love the name–napkin writer. Cool idea for your 50th. I learned the most about marriage from a nun and a priest in Cambridge, MA when my husband was in seminary and we were in a marriage growth group they ran. The “religious” know about living in community and they taught me a lot. Peace and joy to you on your 50th!

Susan Heffron Hajec on June 10, 2015 at 3:27 pm said:
yes, we met our wise friend through Christian Family Movement on a rather earth-shaking retreat filled with much new knowledge for “us-marrieds”!!!
Also, I guess you must have been quite young, as I’ve just seen a beautiful profile picture of the present you. Enjoy life and I believe we are fellow dancing monk-esses. I love Christine and we are discerning a pilgrimage to Ireland in 2016, inviting all miracles in to allow it to happen. Thanks for reprint permission.

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