GNL number 3

The GOOD NEWS LATELY

A report of doings at meeting #3, Sunday September 9, 2007
including liturgical notes, major themes, and odds and ends

INVOCATION

The child within us
is simple and daring enough
to live the Secret.
—Lao-Tse, father of Taoism



SOME THEMES

What a delightful survey of favorite CHILDREN’S STORIES we had! Seven different stories – all magical and wise in different ways that led our discussion several different places.

  • Sue’s charming, off-beat little book by MB Goffstein about The Gats and The Two Piano-Tuners was a reminder how stories can make us smile in recognition, feel included, reassured about humanity and belonging to it.

  • There were two stories told rather than read, remembered from the tellers’ early childhood. The first, called Bunny Blue, transmitted the idea to the child Erynne, that everything is alive, an idea that quietly resisted maternal efforts to correct it, till a time in adulthood when exposure to Native American spirituality affirmed it for her. And the second, Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, gave Ann an idea that also stayed with her – that we can make something good out of trouble or bad luck, and find creative solutions.

  • Gale’s favorite, I Love You More, filled so gorgeously with metaphors, recalled to us the importance of metaphors in our lives, of being able to see, imagine, make connections – not just think in terms of one correct answer, and how kids naturally think in terms of many ways to explore the world and solve problems.

  • Nancy brought two, the first about fear – Dr. Seuss’s What Was I Scared Of, where we’re reminded how we can paralyze ourselves reacting to the “strange” (pale green pants with nobody inside them) or can with a bit of grace open enough to see the commonality, another “me”. And the second, Anne Mazer’s The Salamander Room, a book of softest lyric beauty, about a child who made a home for the salamander he found, by bringing in everything it needed until he turned his bedroom into the living outdoors.

  • And, in closing, Cynthia read us a lovely story, A Dog’s Purpose, about a child’s response to the death of his family’s dog, and what we can learn from our dog friends. Said 6-year-old Shane about why animal lives are shorter than ours, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time, and being nice, right? Well, dogs already know how to do that. So they don’t have to stay so long.”

Without planning it, we were also the beneficiaries of three topics or reports additional to the STORIES theme. First, a reference by Sue to her recent personal studies in Judaism, which have been of great importance and help to her. And then, from Nancy and Ann, to the moving experience of being witnesses at Cynthia and Ron’s celebration of 40 years and beyond of commitment. And, from Nancy and Cynthia and Gail, to their remarkable field trip last month to Boston to hear Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on relationships, among individuals, and nations, too – all still reverberating for N, C and G, who invite questions about it. Meanwhile, from TNH: “Understanding is the essence of love.”



BENEDICTION

May our walking on the earth
be as gentle as the union
of the butterfly and the flower.
—traditional Buddhist blessing



AFTERWORD

At the suggestion of a Skippy relative, we will try to do a favorite children’s story each time – bring them whenever you like.

There were some specific ideas for topics – like Sue’s on ritual: what daily rituals bring us back home to perspective? Or another, on people’s religious backgrounds.

Among other threads to follow in the future were many from family life: dealing with death, anger, depression, difficult relationships, family members in military service.

So please mark these dates, and COME (as always with a simple brunch dish)

  • Sunday, October 14 meeting (10 am) at the Iroquois Indian Museum, Howe’s Cave. Jack’s turn to lead. Topic is prayer.
  • Sunday, November 11 meeting (10:30) at Ann Adams’, 107 Pavilion Avenue, Sharon Springs. Topic to be brought by Ann or Sue.
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