You might think "duh" but believe me I have been in plenty of critique groups and on plenty of blogs where writers prided themselves on turning out such obscure, foggy, wafting, poetic stuff that only they themselves and an Enlightened Few could understand it.
You can't get any more normal-reader than Paul, who is only interested in what a piece says at first rapid read, and if it doesn't tell him anything, then what's the point?
So if I write something and he gets it, I know I'm good to go with the rest of the world as well.
On Thanksgiving morning I woke up feeling heavy in spirit. We've had a lot of difficulties recently, a lot of decisions to make, and a good share of misunderstanding and such, and I'm sorry to make you curious but I can't elaborate.
What if I were thankful for all of THAT, I thought, and recoiled at the very thought, and then reconsidered.
And then I got up and wrote a poem about determining to give thanks for those things we don't normally feel warm and grateful for on Thanksgiving.
I posted it here on the Shoe.
And then I had second thoughts. Who did I think I was, writing poetry?
So I had Paul and Jenny read it. Both were completely mystified at what I was trying to say. Something about whining about all the awful stuff in my life??
Ok, then there was no way anyone else would get it.
So I pulled it off.
Well, today Shelley the nephew's wifelet posted about Thanksgiving. And she referenced my poem, which wasn't there when she went looking for it again, and she had completely understood it, I could tell.
So I'm going to post it again. I've learned three things: A) Maybe going solely on Smucker-by-birth evaluations isn't always the best idea B) A simple word of encouragement from you can make a big difference to someone else. Thanks, Shelley! and C) As long as at least a few people understand you, it doesn't matter so much if the rest don't.
I normally give thanks this day
For all the good and pleasant stuff
Like tea and health and family
And house and clothes and food enough.
A longer list is left unsaid:
The things I don’t appreciate:
Frustration, pain, and endless work
The silence while I pray and wait.
Today I’m stepping out in faith
To see these too as gifts and grace
My thanks a symbol of my trust
Of purpose not of useless waste.
The cat with worms; the hungry teen
Who ate that Starbucks bar I’d hid;
The wind and rain; the gaining weight;
The suddenly-defiant kid.
I thank Him for the blogger moms
with hits a thousand times of mine,
The memories that still return
Of pain and shame when I was nine.
The folks who irritate me so
With grating quirks and talking much,
The ones who don’t appreciate
My friendly intervening touch.
The situations I can’t fix
That drive me to despair and tears.
The quiet suffering that lasts
For days, then weeks, then months and years.
The niece with infertility—
Should I give thanks for good held back?
For loved ones deep in grief and loss?
For Kenyan friends with constant lack?
The words I have to leave unsaid,
And situations I can't share.
The deep regrets of choices past
The list of things that seem unfair.
I come today with hands held out
To trust the Father’s hands to sift
Through all the life that comes my way
And thank Him for His choice of gift.