Words that Open Into Peace

Ta Nehisi Coates’ new book, Between the World and Me, is absolutely luscious — which is an odd thing to say about a challenging, painful, hopeful memoir.

In writing his letter to his 15 year old son about the fragility, the endangeredness of the black male body.

You couldn’t look away from the honesty — and didn’t want to because you might miss something.

You couldn’t look away from the sense of responsibility, the need to make this different, the push to become engaged.

It was a privilege to be invited into his world — and that privilege carries weight.

There are huge chasm’s between us and Peace and if we do not recognize them, if we do not make a difference to those who are so endangered, then Peace is just a wistful little fantasy. We must Peace. There are no prayers but our involvement, our willingness to change and to make a difference. There is work to be done.

GardenMoonLunacyAug13

Peace Feast, llvl

Go out into the garden and see the bounty remaining even after that first frost. Oh, you’re like me? Try this: Go to the market and notice all those richly colored foods piled up around you. yum. Mother Earth is proudly trotting out her fall bounty. It’s up to us to enjoy.

It’s also a good prompt to share that enjoyment. Eating together is a lovely way to build Peace. Discovering what kind of spices you use on these fall delicacies gives me new ways to enjoy old favorites. (Just found out that my friend Ed likes nutmeg on roasted Brussels sprouts. I have another friend who eats it on broccoli — but she’s Dutch so of course she does! That Dutch East India Trading Company made its mark on its home country.)

And the foods are good for you and beautiful to see. What more could you want? Company, you could want company to enjoy the Feast. Get together, say a prayer of thanksgiving and enjoy the feast. It’s an interesting question to look at who you celebrate with. How many people that you invite into your home look like you? How many look very different from you? Have you considered your hospitality as part of your Peace efforts?

Part of the glory of living a vida local is to enjoy the seasons. Make Peace. Eat good food with a friend. And while you’re enjoying, feast your eyes on Deb Slade’s pic! MMMMM. Now that’s delicious.

LLVL43Oct22

Peace Thinking, again, llvl

It’s been interesting to look at my life that is so luxurious in love at the same time the world is blowing up in hatred. I don’t know how to bottle this feeling or calibrate it so that others could understand, I just know (believe?) that openness to intimate relationships lessens our openness to hatred. I know for me it heightens the need to participate in some ameliorating of the problems…

My friend, father Kerry, posted a picture today of a man receiving 450 lashes in Saudi Arabia for the crime of being gay. We shudder in horror, but don’t make sure our PA state government (and your state’s government?) pass simple non-discrimination bills that would provide safety in work and home. We watch in pity on Facebook as an 8th grader posts one of those index card videos talking about cutting himself or committing suicide because he’s being bullied for being gay, but aren’t actively involved in anti-bullying programs at home. Wonder how we pray with our lives… and what our prayers should be.

It’s hard to take these painful thoughts and mix them into my vacation thoughts. I needed this break, I’m not apologizing, even to myself, for having taken it. I can feel a natural ending as I begin to long to write and return to my work… although as was obvious from my progress yesterday, not too much… I love that Facebook keeps me aware of your lives if not actually in them. I cherish this precious time with friends here… and love that this Saturday’s moon will shine on us all.

Blessings and Peace be with us all.

LLVL32Aug8

Swedish Sabbath Peace, llvl

This morning there is indeed Sabbath Peace in our hearts. Lorraine’s son called her about 11 last evening. He’d just seen his aunt’s post on Facebook. Her son was missing. He’d fought with his parents and stormed off. He was drinking, they knew that. He can’t drink on the medications he’s on, they knew that. He hadn’t shown up the evening before for an 11 o’clock meet at a concert.

What to do, what to do? They called. They posted on FB. People shared. His sister and her friends shared. The rest of us just hoped and prayed and willed best outcomes. But people came forward to comfort and to reassure. It’s happened to me, I’ve had that fear; yet it was ok.

Most of the time it is ok… but sometimes it isn’t. But there you were, willing to take a moment to think about a young man you’ll never meet and a frantic mom and dad. To hold your friend who holds her friends. Community, with the loosest of connections, but stepping up to be community.

So today, because of where I am and because of who you are, I’m counting blessings and giving thanks. For all the places we miss the mark, there are plenty where the arrow flies true. Thanks for being those well aimed friends. Love, it’s for everyone. Peace lies in our hands, which today were very capable. We must remember how capable we are!

LLVL31Aug3

Sweet, Summer Peace Days, llvl

I’m having the loveliest time… So many sweet summer days in a row, “no particular place to go…”

Although today we do, Lorraine’s sister Dorothy and her daughter Sigrid are coming and we’re taking the “banana boat” over to the island and going to Kjell and Lorraine’s favorite rocks on the island. Lunch is coming along. Swimming will ensue. It’s only going to be mid 70s today, but the water’s still warm… ahhhhhh. And it’s nice because there’s a rigamarole attached to it. Drive to the boat. Stand in line. Ride to the island (we’re on the Vanern Lake now, the large, large lake in central Sweden, Karlstad is the closest town that’s usually visible on the map, but we’re in Kristinehamn.) Then it’s a 20 minute walk through the woods to get to where we’re going. (that’s the scary part for me… my balance, my balance!) and then out onto the warm, warm rocks that slope into the sea. yay! Everyday’s a holiday.

Yesterday there was dinner with a well known Swedish filmmaker… small art films, not big commercial ones. Gunvor Nelson lives in the same Artists Area in K’hamn that Lorraine and Kjell do. (There’s a print of her house in the snow, done by Kjell that hangs in my office). Pizza. yum. Really, it’s a perfect vacation, lots of eating, lots of swimming, lots of talking to beloved friends and visiting beloved places.

And so I’m reading and enjoying life. Writing a little. And at the same time, fretting a little because after all… There’s a war on and my friend Sonia’s family is at risk. But I guess my prayers from here are carried as well as they might be if i were at home. It’s a very frightening time we live in. As Pope Francis, quickly becoming beloved, said: No more war! No more War! No more War!

LLVL30July29