From One Sunday to the Next

we don’t know.

We don’t know what a person
has gone through,
the person in front of us,
behind us,
beside us,
with two Sundays serving as bookends.

We don’t know
the gains,
the losses,

where hope increased,
where it all but disappeared,

the unexpected good news that came
or the call they weren’t quite ready for.

We don’t know
what fell on another’s ears,
words of encouragement
or words that wound.

We don’t know
if a single chat with a close friend
was savored the entire week
or if endless hours of social networking
heightened feelings of isolation.

We don’t know someone else’s need.
We barely know our own at times.

And so, to be MINDFUL
of our not knowing.
A good first step, that.

This post originally appeared in 2010. 


Posted in community, compassion, friendship, neighbor, people, poems, relationship | 3 Comments

From My Journal/The Christmas Tea

This is from my journal two Decembers ago. . .

I saw Jenny, the young woman I met a few weeks ago, sitting by herself in church again. I’m never sure whether to leave a person be or what, but I invited her to come sit with us and she did.

Afterwards, as we were leaving, she told me yesterday’s luncheon for single parents was wonderful. She usually avoids things specifically designed for single parents, but she took a chance and was happily surprised. It was excellent. (I didn’t even know she was a single parent. Of course, she doesn’t know my story either.)

I told her I’d gone to the Women’s Christmas Tea a week ago and left before it started, that it turned out to be harder than I expected, that we have drama in the family and being around all those women with mothers and daughters and daughters-in-law, all happy and smiling, was hard on me. (Not that I prefer they were sad, but it was all too much a reminder of what’s missing for me). I told her I had been doing okay, counting down the minutes until the time I thought the program was scheduled to begin, but when that time came and the person in charge invited everyone to socialize another 30 minutes, I knew I couldn’t manage it and felt desperate to escape.

Jenny groaned. She got it. She said it was better to have gone and needed to leave than to have stayed home without even trying. I agreed.

“Next time…,” I began.

“Next time…” – Jenny interrupted – “…we’ll go together.”

Wasn’t that nice? Like a gift.


Posted in Advent, community, friendship, grief, journal | 2 Comments

Clinging to Routine

We cling to routine
like hands grip a lifeboat,
even though the storm is past,
objects on the horizon grow larger
and our feet can touch bottom again.

Dinner at five-thirty,
grocery shopping on Thursdays,
Sunday lunch, always the same.
It was our salvation
when waves threatened to upend us.

We bob along now, still clutching,
as the gentle lapping
lulls us to sleep
with fresh-water dreams so deep
we risk forgetting
to wake and make a life.

Posted in boundaries, comfort zone, control, fear, letting go, Uncategorized | 2 Comments