Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Poem: Callings

I have a tradition of posting a poem on Thanksgiving. This was inspired by my friend Bethanie.


My crock pot army's lined up on the table
For marching orders at the crack of dawn.
The carrot cake is frosted. Pies are baked—
Two apple pies, a pumpkin, and pecan.

I used a cup of butter in the stuffing—
The sage and onions in a steaming bliss
Sour cream was dumped into potatoes:
No skimping for a special day like this.

We pulled outdated food from both the fridges
And fed it to our flock of spoiled cats.
Yet still we had to push and reconfigure
To make room for heaping bowls and pans and vats.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I'm ready
To set a table bounteous with food,
To welcome guests and family all around it
To feast on food and conversation good.

While I'm here rubbing pepper on the turkey,
A friend of mine, full half the world away
Dispenses medicines to refugees,
And dozens come to see her every day.

One of them was my age, so she says,
Desperate not for medicine, but for
A chance to tell her story and be heard—
A ghastly tale of loss and shocking gore.

My friend could only listen to her briefly,
Unable to repair the broken life.
"Oh Father, how much less can I, from here,
A simple, cooking, stirring mom and wife. . .

Do anything to make the slightest difference
In all the world's disaster and despair.
How happily I'd give up all that butter
If it would give that grieving woman care."

I felt the Father say, "I placed you here.
In this white farmhouse kingdom you are queen.
The door is yours to open, the food is yours
To minister to wounds and loss unseen.

Tomorrow you will gather strangers in
Your children will be bringing lonesome friends.
Ask me to bless the words and mashed potatoes,
So stuffing ministers and salad mends.

Not only far away are broken lives
Not only half the world away are tears.
The hopeless souls are closer than you know
So that is why I chose to place you here."

My crock pot army's lined up on the table.
Ready to march, and similarly I'm
Getting up to roast that massive turkey
And love the world one meal at a time.

Monday, November 19, 2018

November Column: Simple Gestures Make a Difference

Sometimes the smallest gesture makes the biggest difference.
Recently I spoke at a Church Women United gathering in Eugene. I noticed that much of the conversation around the tables and from the speakers focused on changing homelessness, global warming and other ills through voting, marching at the courthouse, and speaking up at city council meetings.
It’s a universal urge, I think, to want to change the world from how it is to how we think it ought to be.
When we were in Kenya 15 years ago to set up a school at a home for street boys, the country’s rampant corruption was a frequent topic of conversation. You couldn’t buy property, get a driver’s license or get a package at the post office without paying a bribe, we were told.
One day my husband, Paul, was driving me and two of the Kenyan teachers, George and Benard, to school. Once again, the teachers were discussing how hard it was to get anything done in that country.
“In order for Kenya to change,” I asked them, “does it need to begin at the top, with the government or at the bottom, with ordinary people?”
--to continue reading the article, go here--