GNK number 37

the GOOD NEWS lately

a report of doings at meeting #37, Sunday, July 11, 2010
including liturgical notes, major themes, and other odds and ends

INVOCATION

 You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience
in which you really stop to look fear in the face.
—Eleanor Roosevelt


THEME

Sue was away but had left some notes that we read to start off our conversation about the Things That Give Us Strength.  The current controversy in the community about use of racial slurs by two local officials had been strongly in her mind, as it was in all of ours, and this sub-theme appeared and reappeared throughout the meeting.  For Sue’s message, see AFTERWORDS.

Anna said again she was reminded of the need to love not just one’s loved ones but the more difficult others, as she’d seen Jack do for so many years at Vigil. She also thought of her sister, who has a different, very serious, scholarly strength, and Anna would wish her and everybody a lighter kind, with some joy.

Vijaya spoke of her own and her family’s experiences as targets of racial slurs in earlier years in Cobleskill.. She said she had had enough faith and self-respect that these things didn’t deter her.  Remembering her mom and dad,from whom she has derived some of her strength, she invited us all to the annual luncheon she and her sisters give in their honor, on August 8.

Ann said that one of the things that renews her strength is facing what needs to be done and doing her best (and getting appreciation for it, and giving that to others for what they do). She also cited a recently rediscovered classic formula (for life, or success, or a drink?): 1 sour, 1 sweet, 1 strong, 1 weak.

Adair gave us two updates, first saying that she will find out in a few weeks if her offer on a house in Maine is accepted, and passing photos.  Then she reported on her friend Peggy, whose condition is technically dire, but who nevertheless continues her life in the hospital in inspiring good humor.  Adair read us again Peggy’s Blessing poem, directing it especially to Jack, who she said is the picture of this poem.  She spoke also of the local bigotry issue, and remembered a famous quote on the silence of good people.  See AW.

Jack pointed to the wall where a watercolor painting was hanging, of a lovely flower in a blue sky, made two years ago by Gail’s granddaughter Virginia, with a short poem (concluding with the hope that he was not blue).  So this was something, and someone, that restores his strength.  Later he spoke of a letter to the Times Journal he had dictated to his caregiver about the racial slur issue.

That artist mentioned above, Virginia, was present and had brought another very colorful piece showing a big sea full of fish (even some anglerfish), with the statement  “You’re only one fish in the big ocean.”  She and Gail have saved a lot of these works of art.  (Virginia is also talented in the whistling department, which she can do on the inbreath!)

Gail showed great photos from their trip to Aztec Park in New Mexico, and spoke of how much they had both learned, especially about geology, the power of moving water, how much more awe she has for this amazing world.  And she also thought of how life on the farm has changed in recent times, with her taking on most of the gardening as Cliff is able to do less. (And how he told her she deserved a medal for this garden!)

Cynthia saw she had several kinds of strength—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual—strengths and weaknesses too in each category;  She recalled her history of early physical ailments, mental acuity in school, realizing she was people-oriented; and she remembered years of trying in vain to fit into religious organizations, and then realizing she was going inside and finding her quiet and spirituality. This sounded to us like balance, strength in itself.

Nancy said what first occurred to her as strength-giving was when she “joins the fray”, takes part as neighbor, fellow human. Then, another “going out”—into the big natural world, with all its bits of life going on unhesitatingly, with something like faith.  And “going inside” for quiet. And seeing kids at play, and grownups do kindly things (like Ron W fixing her kitchen sink when the plumber didn’t call back), and 1000s of messengers with their pictures, stories, songs, like the one she sang called Dawn Song. See AW for this and quotes.

We directed our offering today to the work for tolerance and understanding, needed more than ever, of the ACCORD group.

Just before closing, we spent a short time in silent thought for the peace of those we know are struggling greatly with challenges.


BENEDICTION

I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.
—Anne Frank


NEXT TIME

Sunday, August 8, 2010 (1030), at Jack’s.  The topic is…..POTLUCK!!!  Any thought, idea, story, anecdote, question unanswered, that’s hanging around in your mind in need of fresh air!

and here, to stir the POT, is a list of topic ideas we’ve heard mentioned:

–Secret Wishes
–What You Want To Be When You Grow Up
–Talents and Skills
–Creativity
–What You’d Like To Do More Of
–Small Pleasures
–Vibrations
–Ancestors
–Priorities
–Necessities
–Aging
–Loss
–Forgiveness
–Favorite Book of the Last Year
–Favorite Movie of the Last Year


AFTERWORDS

from Sue:

All the racism brouhaha has turned me to writing letters to Mayor, Supervisor and Town and Village elected officials. So I didn’t write what i wanted about strength or research any quotations.
However, quick and off the top of my head:

  • Sources of strength–most currently–speaking my heart–truth to power, renews my feeling of strength and effectiveness, especially locally where you’re more likely to be heard.
  • Prayer, meditation, spiritual readings–always help me recenter and renew myself.
  • Loving all those I love and being loved in return–the most strengthening thing there is.
  • Working in the garden, my garden spade, the earth, being with birds, plants, trees, hills, all natural beauty.
  • Circles of communion–like Church of Skippy, Peacemakers, ACCORD–the groups I’ve belonged to over the years to be with others of like mind and make something wondrous happen!!
  • So thank you Church of Skippy!! Peacemakers!! ACCORD!!
  • Dancing, singing, digging, climbing a big hill/little mountain and getting to the top–the long view; listening to wonderful music, reading poems, good stories, seeing great movies that somehow transmit the the central meaning of what-is for others.
  • At the end of every book of the Torah–there’s a blessing/prayer–about Strength.
  • All I’m remembering is “Strength to Strength!! But it’s kind of an incantation to help us internalize all the wisdom of the section we’re finishing so we can continue on. When I have time I’ll look this up and be able to give you a much more accurate rendition of the prayer.

love and peace,
Sue

from Vijaya:

Dear Peaceful Friends,

I need to be at Peace within myself. Help me find someone PERFECT to be our Mayor. For me I would have wanted us all to forgive and expect Mayor Nadeau to heal and move on with understanding. As I had said that I see a God in all. I do believe in a known Devil is better than an unknown angel. Also we are at fault that we failed to see the good in this individual. Please share just my feelings. You all don’t have to be accepting of them.

Om Shanti. Vijaya

from Adair:

A network of love crisscrosses the globe. The delicate shining lines form a tenuous web from one end of the world to the other. There are so many threads of love in the world, so much love is going on, for and from so many people. To have partaken of and to have given love is the greatest of life’s rewards. There seems never an end to the loving that goes on forever and ever. Loving and leaving are part of the good life.
—Helen Nearing,  from Loving and Leaving the Good Life (1992)

(and two quotes on the silence of good people:)

  • Alll that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
    —Edmund Burke
  • History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period
    of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people
    but the appalling silence of the good people.
    —Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

from Nancy:

Dawn Song
Dawn is like a gate that opens
on a meadow wide and fair.
Through the open gate I hurry,
Golden light is everywhere.
Up and down the pleasant meadow,
There are other children too;
Games we have, and work and singing,
In the day there is much to do.
Dawn is like a gate that opens
On a meadow wide and bright.
Through the gate I hurry singing
Out into the golden light.
—words by Jean Randolph, music American folk

 

It is time for parents to teach young people early on
that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
—Maya Angelou

We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.
—Author unknown

Our strength grows out of our weaknesses.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Someday there won’t be a song in your heart.  Sing anyway.
—Emory Austin

Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into 4 pieces with your bare hands—and then eat just one of those pieces.
—Judith Viorst

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