~standing in gratitude and reverence for the few
who have suffered great loneliness and loss
to secure the future and well-being of many,
including unknown generations to come…
I hear the mountain birds The sound of rivers singing A song I’ve often heard It flows through me now So clear and so loud I stand where I am And forever I’m dreaming of home I feel so alone, I’m dreaming of home
It’s carried in the air The breeze of early morning I see the land so fair My heart opens wide There’s sadness inside I stand where I am And forever I’m dreaming of home I feel so alone, I’m dreaming of home
This is no foreign sky I see no foreign light But far away am I From some peaceful land I’m longing to stand A hand in my hand …forever I’m dreaming of home I feel so alone, I’m dreaming of home
~Lori Barth and Philippe Rombi “I’m Dreaming of Home”
In great deeds, something abides. On great fields, something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls. And reverent men and women from afar, and generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field, to ponder and dream; and lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls. This is the great reward of service. To live, far out and on, in the life of others;
this is the mystery of the Christ, –to give life’s best for such high sake
that it shall be found again unto life eternal. ~Major-General Joshua Chamberlain at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 1889
Rather than “we shall overcome”, today is the day we shall be overcome by the Light in the darkness of the world.
Christmas hath a darkness Brighter than the blazing noon, Christmas hath a chillness Warmer than the heat of June, Christmas hath a beauty Lovelier than the world can show: For Christmas bringeth Jesus, Brought for us so low.
Earth, strike up your music, Birds that sing and bells that ring; Heaven hath answering music For all Angels soon to sing: Earth, put on your whitest Bridal robe of spotless snow: For Christmas bringeth Jesus, Brought for us so low. ~Christina Rossetti “Christmas Eve”
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12
…the deepest darkness is the place where God comes to us. In the womb, in the night, in the dreaming; when we are lost, when our world has come undone, when we cannot see the next step on the path; in all the darkness that attends our life, whether hopeful darkness or horrendous, God meets us. God’s first priority is not to do away with the dark but to be present to us in it. ~Jan Richardson
Now a red, sleepy sun above the rim Of twilight stares along the quiet weald, And the kind, simple country shines revealed In solitudes of peace, no longer dim. The old horse lifts his face and thanks the light, Then stretches down his head to crop the green. All things that he has loved are in his sight; The places where his happiness has been Are in his eyes, his heart, and they are good. ~Siegfried Sassoon from “Break of Day”
Move away from reading morning headlines
or being crushed in the masses at rush hour,
ignore the politics of power
or striving for market share~
instead, come home to this:
the reality of peace brought to earth.
A day breaks fresh each morning
and folds gently and quietly each evening.
And we are glad,
that it is good.
When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear.
Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us. Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened.
And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly…
Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed. ~Maya Angelou from “When Great Trees Fall”
When I need to be restored,
humbled and forgiven,
I walk back to the woods
to stand before the great beings
cut down in their prime
over one hundred years ago,
their scarred stumps still bearing the notches
from the lumbermen’s springboards.
Old growth firs and cedars
became mere headstones
in the graveyard left behind.
They existed, they existed,
their grandeur leaves no doubt.
I leave the woods and come back
to the world better
because they existed.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1: 9-11
O Holy Father, I will be a child of peace and purity For well I know Thy Hand will bless the seeker after righteousness ~Shaker Hymn
We live in an imperfect world, with imperfect characters to match. Our imperfections should not keep us from dreaming of better things, or even from trying, within our limits, to be better stewards of the soil, and more ardent strivers after beauty and a responsible serenity. ~Jane Kenyon from “In the Garden of My Dreams”
The beauty of peace and purity is right outside my back door, whether it is in a misty dawn moment of drizzle-sprinkled flowers. They heal me after an imperfect yesterday and an imperfect night’s sleep.
Today I will strive to be a steward for a garden of righteousness and serenity, aiding their growth and helping them flourish.
I can never do it perfectly but am not giving up, as His hand will bless my seeking and my efforts.
The gray path glided before me Through cool, green shadows; Little leaves hung in the soft air Like drowsy moths; A group of dark trees, gravely conferring, Made me conscious of the gaucherie of sound; Farther on, a slim lilac Drew me down to her on the warm grass. “How sweet is peace!” My serene heart said.
Then, suddenly, in a curve of the road, Red tulips! A bright battalion, swaying, They marched with fluttering flags, And gay fifes playing!
A swift flame leapt in my heart; I burned with passion; I was tainted with cruelty; I wanted to march in the wind, To tear the silence with gay music, And to slash the sober green Until it sobbed and bled.