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Archive for the ‘Napkinwriter’ Category

 

It’s a writing day for me and my supporting angels are feeling humorous; which means fun along the way for me.

I opened my Bible to a random spot to practice Lectio Divina before getting into my own writing. I opened to page 1067, which is 2 Maccabees 2 and my eye fell to the bold paragraph title, Author’s Preface. 

“Well,” I thought. “This is a good place to begin.  I read, with interest how a writer in the days before Christ arrived on earth performed his writing process. The author is Jason of Cyrene and he reports events in Jewish history from the time of the High Priest, Onias the Third (about 180 B.C.) to the death of Nicanor (161B.C.).

Since I have recently completely revamped my own preface and introduction and first chapter to the memoir I am working on, I felt delighted to discover this page. I love synchronicity.

I will report his process in his own words:

2 Maccabees 2:23-32

“I will now try to summarize in a single book the five volumes written by Jason. The number of details and the bulk of material can be overwhelming for anyone who wants to read an account of the events. But I have attempted to simplify it for all readers; those who read for sheer pleasure will find enjoyment and those who want to memorize the facts will not find it difficult. Writing such a summary is a difficult task, demanding hard work and sleepless nights. It is as difficult as preparing a banquet that people of different tastes will enjoy.

But I am happy to undergo this hardship in order to please my readers. I will leave the matter of details to the original author and attempt to give only a summary of the events. I am not the builder of a new house, who is concerned with every detail of the structure, but simply a painter whose only concern is to make the house look attractive.

The historian must master his subject, examine every detail, and then explain it carefully, but whoever is merely writing a summary should be permitted to give a brief account without going into a detailed discussion.

So then, without any further comment, I will begin my story. It would be foolish to write such a long introduction that the story itself would have to be cut short.”

Thousands of years later, I believe we writers inspect our own work in much the same way.

 

 

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Simple and Sleek

I’ve been practicing drawing simple lines for cats with my granddaughter, Amy. Simple can be deceiving. Simple can look easy. But there is a discipline applied in simple, and one must be precise.

I value a simple life. It is the life I am living now. Yet I find it hard to apply the discipline required to keep it simple! Someone planted “more is better” deeply into my DNA. Simple can so quickly become complicated and messy for me.

I follow a simple call to prayer. A simple prayer life. I am a prayer that expresses gratitude and love and requests upon occasion a benevolent prayer of care and protection for my family and friends.  I like the simple one word prayer of Centering Prayer and I like to find His Word alive in me through the discourse of Lectio Divina, a conversation with God.

Weekly food menus are ones where I do very little cooking; a crockpot entry, a braised porkchop, a meat, veggie, and salad entrée. Yet, even putting that together, when I follow weight loss and management goals requires time and effort in list making and shopping. Getting the right combinations down, and leaving very little to chance.

I plan simple exercise routines for Tom and me to keep the body moving, and the joints oiled; a senior membership at the Y, a benefit of our health plan, gives us the opportunity to continue to practice our Poolates in the pool, minus an instructor here; and some swimming, walking laps twice a week, marked down as an appointment to keep. There are many more offerings we could take part in, but to keep it simple, this is our best effort for now.

Apartment living with a fair size patio gives us the simple pleasures of outdoor living with a view and the breezes of the South, with the songs of the birds. Simple sitting, simple reading, simple enjoyment of the gifts of the day.

It’s best not to complicate these things. I like to take one day at a time. Today is a bit of a sleepy, rainy Sunday. And after a few takes at some simple writing, I believe I will assume the simple lines of the cat above.

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The Way to Emmaus

Susan Heffron Hajec 3-31-18

How many times, Lord
have I walked
the road to Emmaus
like your disciples?
Distraught over what
has happened.
Afraid of what lies
before me.
Confused that things
didn’t work out
as I planned.

Many times, I
must confess,
many times.
How can I so
easily forget
It is you, yourself
who told me—
“Behold, I Am
with you always.”

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We all sang it, the congregation, the combined choirs, the piano or organ, I can’t remember which, until….the last verse and then there was just us….the voices…unaccompanied wondering….were you there as they….laid him in the tomb? In hushed, reverent voices.

What happened here? One wonders.

This week, Holy Week, we have many holy moments to ponder what happened there and what it means to us here. It means everything.

He is lain in the tomb, he will arise, we will live and love in the new days to come.

We will, for behold…he is with us always.

 

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“I think I’m becoming unfinished.” Mark Nepo  wrote in Things that Join the Sky and the Sea

Sounds True Publishing
Bolder CO 80306
© 2017

** I really like this quote

From: page 2, Quieting the Thieves

…he stepped out in the rain…his “to do” list in his shirt pocket had become soaked from the rain, and the ink from the line items had all run together and become blurry…the tasks themselves had blurred, and he liked that interruption. Now they were unreadable and forgettable even though we often carry those lists right near our hearts, so important we think they are.

Now, he sees them as the thieves they are, demanding we have everything in order before we live, fingering them like worry beads. They are, in fact, the greatest thieves. As he feels the rain drops drip down his neck, he begins to sense that he, like his to-do items, is becoming unfinished, and he is good with that.

I like that. Let’s just take the bully out of our To Do lists and fuel them instead with our Spirit for life! Then the check mark we put beside the items will be worthy of its mark.

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This was a picture waiting to happen. We were having a wonderful visit with Lois in the woods in her cabin on Lois Lane in upper New York state near the Fingers Lake area.  We had been neighbors for a brief time in Newton, North Carolina. Lois and I walked the street together on occasion and she always came up with charming, if a bit surprising, tidbits to share.

We still keep in touch, particularly around big sports events, where Lois faithfully waves the Notre Dame flag and colors and checks in with us on how the mighty Green and White are doing.

The table above, was placed near her kitchen window, overlooking a wide green expanse to the back of her property. It was very common to see the deer come from the woods into the open space and even play together before retreating. I believe Lois sent Tom and me  on a journey to dump some feed back there for them among the natural foliage.

A healthy start to the new day — coffee, an apple, a pair of specs to read the Good Word.  I am pretty sure she still does this.

 

 

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Tears reside in the corners of my eyes, dripping down my cheeks ever so often. I don’t have to be watching news on TV, or looking at photos on the Internet of innocents, just barely beginning their own big lives. I don’t have to hear “semi-automatic” one more time. I don’t want to see terrorized parents outside a school building, waiting news of their child’s safety — or not.

Tears and a flu-absent stomach that broils and turns and is connected to a head that throbs, knowing the story has shattered…for all of us. Sending children to school today in America, a new residing consciousness of vulnerability…one we don’t want, need, or ask for.

Is there any comfort in starkness? I do not know.

There needs to be a new story…for us. How long will it be before that story comes into being? None of us know. No one can say anymore, “I never thought that would happen here.” That story is gone forever. No one can remain personally unaffected by the large mass of grief being experienced by the loss of our young children. No one can live and believe as they once did…it seems…so long ago now.

I stop my own words and share some words from Jean Houston, from a writing course I took a few years ago. About Re-Storying your Story.  Humanity is at a place in time where, being a writer or not, it must learn how to do this.

 

From Jean Houston: Finding Strength When the Story Shatters

“There are circumstances that must shatter you;
and if you are not shattered, then you have not
understood your circumstances.
In such circumstances, it is a failure
for your heart not to break.
And it is pointless to put up a fight,
For a fight will blind you to the opportunity
that has been presented by your misfortune.
Do you wish to persevere pridefully in the old life?
Of course you do: the old life was a good life.
But it is no longer available to you.
It has been carried away, irreversibly.
So there is only one thing to be done.
Transformation must be met with transformation.
Where there was the old life, let there be the new life.
Do not persevere. Dignify the shock. Sink, so as to rise.”

Written by Leon Weiseltier, Kaddish, page 226.

From Napkinwriter

Sometimes life hits us so hard, so unexpectedly, that we drop the ball and story shatters. I stood by close family friends, who in one shattering moment on a dark night on a Georgia Interstate, one woman’s life was snuffed out, who was daughter, and mother and wife, cousin  in a family that lost all those relationships and love in one indefendable freak accident in the middle of the highway, returning from family vacation. Lives shattered, dreams dashed.

A life-defining moment where, existing with the shattering, having to create a new story including what just happened to one family.

Shattering events are all around us and we are not exempt from them happening in our own life. It interrupts the everyday story is what Jean Houston writes.

Yes our personal and worldly story is in a state of INTERRUPTION.

Our shattered story needs rearranging.

Do we start with….”Once upon a time…”

God bless all the families and school personnel, who have been shattered by this latest vicious attack on our school children.

And God help us all. Please.

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