The Peace of Stoop Sitting

When I moved to NY in 1975 (oh, it seems so long ago), air conditioning was not as common as it is today, nor as effective. It was not infrequent that cities had brown outs in hot steamy weather because AC used so much electricity.

People had elaborate systems for opening and closing their windows and blinds to minimize the effect of the heat and sun.

Luxury high rises had AC… but brownstones and, um, less luxurious high rises, did not. So when the evening came, and the sun was safely in New Jersey, behind the West-side Buildings and Jersey skyscrapers, when dinner was over and the dishes washed, people came out and breathed slightly cooler air together. You took your chair down to the stoop.

The groups swelled and narrow by turn as people went up to put the children to bed and came back down.

And all the while people talked about the day, their families, the state of the nation, and of course, the weather. You knew your neighbors. You made Peace. Apartment houses were extended families, you wanted things to be smooth as possible between you. Walls were thin. You knew a lot about each other’s lives anyway. Better to keep things quiet. and everyone worked hard anyway.

So you made Peace. Many of the things that used to throw us into conversation and community are gone. We have to create those opportunities. The world does better when we do.

Peace of the Summer to you, my friends. May you seek it, may you find it, may you create it!

Dancing for and with Peace

This gorgeous photo of dancing water reminds us to dance.

Wherever we are. Whatever we’re doing. Simply because life is beautiful.

Simply because we are able to dance.

I know a young-ish (at least to me) guy who went to the hospital yesterday because there was snow, he shoveled and wasn’t in shape to do so.

We owe ourselves that. We owe Life that. I owe the Goddess those thanks. I think about how frequently I’m ungrateful to my body. There were so many years I didn’t swim — or do anything. And now, i feel good again. Good enough that I shoot baskets with my grandson. What’s that worth? Pretty damn priceless. What did i get out of it? A purple Minecraft palace that will be called Queen Ann’s Palace rather than Queen Grannianni’s Palace because that seemed too old for him! I’ll take that!

So Dance… If there’s anything this world needs right now, it’s a dance!

Alone. In Community. Dance!

Dance because in Peace there is a lot of Dance!

Coming Together in Peace

I think Peace is not a solitary endeavor. We make Peace with our friends and then as friends we make Peace. I just finished a book that talked about a leader who had the good of society in his mind but didn’t have the good of the communities in his heart. It tainted his doing good.

We the People make the Peace. We may not concentrate on it enough, but it’s true nonetheless.

We can do this differently if we choose. Do we choose Peace? Do we choose connection?

I’ve said several times but none with more urgency than now, I never thought that the most important thing I had to offer in my ministerial work was community. And they never teach you that (oooh same problem as the leader in this fantasy novel!). You all think you’re going to be a prophet for your (oh-so-gifted) oratory. Nah, it’s the smiles and waves and hugs that set the scene. It’s the actions. And if you’re lucky, you’ll preach well come Sunday morning…

So, get up, gather your group (or meet up for them) and plot for Peace.

A Day of Shared Work is a Day of Peace

Working together is important. When you can work together and laugh together at the same time, life is sweet.

Shared purpose brings Peace.

For two months now a dedicated team has been working to put together this huge extravaganza of a yard sale that takes place for five days. (thank heavens for a sabbath in between! whew!)

Friday morning at 6:45 am I rolled in LONG after others had been working to get things set up.

The doors were supposed to open at 8. They opened at 7 and people came pouring in.

Now, if you know me at all, you know I’m an extreme extrovert with an incredibly chaotic mind. This much chaos is over load for me. But people are so excited. Oooooh! look at this! Imagine! All day long, people thrilled over the bargains.

And all day long, community members are helpful and enjoying themselves. You have the chance to get to know people you’ve never known as you check out customers, or dish up hamburger barbecue. (Oh, we laughed: a woman started to tell us about her business helping people make life style changes with resultant weight loss, by cutting out gluten and sugar. Meanwhile we were all stuffing hotdogs in our faces, and following them up with homemade black walnut brittle chasers… she didn’t get any clients today at the yard sale — unless after the sale is over we all feel badly about all the cookies we ate! Just another way friendships are built!)

But it was flat out fun today, because the people are grand. Poor Marie tries to organize us and manages despite our camraderie and general ineptitude at sales. Meanwhile people keep buying stuff and we move toward balancing the budget. And it’s not all about the money, although that’s its purpose, it’s also about people’s buying things they can’t otherwise afford: dishes and pots and pans disappear pretty quickly. Clothes find their way home to people who need them (and, ahem, some of us who don’t!)

Building solvency. Building community. Eating good food! Yum! Fun! Peace.

Peace is where you find it. It’s where you make it. Say, can I get you a bag for your stuff?