Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Solstice Art, Spirit, and Babies....


Just a few notes from my weekend of Celebrating the Summer Solstice in and through the Arts. What follows are tid bits from three days of inspired cross-cultural experiences, relationships, and things coming forward with such life-potential!

1. Friday. After work at Ecolab, I had the great privilege of
attending "Hayayo Bibimma" - the Drumming and Dancing ensemble lead by Ghanaian Artist, Francis Kofi. It was amazing to witness the diversity of people and rhythms present. This was also where I encountered a small child I have come to think of as the "Dalai Lama of Dance" - Francis Kofi's son. This 4 or 5 year old was the exclamation point on each performance, moving in the most uninhibited and spirited manner conceivable. Lovely! Thanks to Pam Plagge for the invite and for her commitment to the group!

2. Prior to my Friday evening excursion, I took note of a robin's
nest being constructed atop the electric meter on the back wall of my
house. Right underneath the clamatis vine running up the wall, this
little nest was tucked. When I returned Friday night from the dance
and good post-show conversation, I noticed that one blue egg had been
laid. And one energetic and protective momma bird was busy flapping
and singing about my arrival home and her baby.

3. Saturday. Matt Peiken hooked me up with a free pass to the Walker Art Center's "Rock the Garden" music festival. Whoohoo! I scored a free parking spot 1/2 block from the entrance, and joined my friend, along with 7,500 other folks there for the collaborative production with Public Radio's 89.9 "The Currrent." The bands rocked. Running into a former pretty fellow that I dated was sweet. Better yet, was encountering the Martin Sisters of North Minneapolis Community Organizing days. (Peace Foundation and Folwell Center for Urban Initiative Work props go to both Michelle and Lauren.) It's good times to connect with such ensembles of heart-and-work-and-vision-anchored peeps! Amen! This was part one of my Saturday Solstice

4. Part Two: Later Saturday. At the King and I, I met up with my friends Reggie Prim and Usry Alleyne. I'm telling you, a woman doesn't get much luckier than to hold space with her guy friends as they crack open their dreams, their work-wishes, and talk about next steps. We are all so connected in our journeys, you know?

5. I return late in the eve/ early morning to find Momma Robin has laid egg numero dos!

6. Sunday. The Morning includes church - AMEN! (St. Phillip's gospel / homiletic theme: "BE NOT AFRAID!") My girl Antoinette Bennaars and I share a pew, while girlfriend Ann Shallbetter leads us in song, after her two -week absence and back surgery recovery. GOOD

7. I return home to egg numero TRES being laid in the nest!

8. Sunday Evening is the April Seller's Dance Collective Event, "Cherries." And here, atop latin-music-industry-host Jessica's condo roof top in Uptown Minneapolis, (where there is a flowing water fountain anchoring the space), are DJ Kool Hanz spinning songs, and a
mic system set up for more vocal performances. I take note of several things at this event, as a way to honor the power of the energy, the women, the art, the voices, the cultures, converging and inspiring all cells in my body:

-April Seller's gives voice to her Vision, shares her vulnerability
on the heels of being injured, and what life and making art has
entailed since last piece "V" was performed. Whew. I note the
choreography to the reggae music. I note Pam Plagge's beauty as
dancer, her beating heart, her exposed breast, and the Frida-Kahlo-esque-inspired inking on her body. It's all SO BREATHTAKING! I hear the Tanya Stephens soundtrack about war and no more war...and I cry. And we move into the Spanish/ English song and hip hop reggaetone performance of Maria Isa, and my heart feels like it might burst.

That such a revolution of love, of converging cultures, of art, of communities, of experiences, could be experienced in such a space? In one weekend?! It's amazing. Awesome. Abundance!

9. I return home, and discover Momma Robin has laid a fourth egg.

Abundance. Birth. Life potential, creation is everywhere.

I am thankful for it all.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

From Jonathan Kozol: Public Policy, Education, War

In doing some research for possible places I might submit work, I came across a favorite writer of mine whose words never fail to inspire and challenge me: Jonathan Kozol. Are you familiar with him?

As devoted, non-ordained-nun; as teacher; as lover; as Catholic; as Buddhist; as Citizen; as Critical Thinker; as Agent-of-change; as deep questioner and examiner of my own experience in and around generational poverty; as traveler to places of wealth and poverty; as woman whose own modeling of Parental Love I recognize as rare gift, of God; as woman who knows deep privilege - I am drawn to Kozol's work.

These two articles from Mr. Kozol might equally inspire you, or provide you with fodder for more reflective and compassionate inquiry as you examine the marketplace, the voting public, our place in global society, and as we navigate or discern a just course of action in places like Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Darfur, China, Haiti, Somalia, Zimbabwe.

What is going on right here in our own United States? How are Kozol's depictions of everyday classrooms a kind of First Front where Militaristic dollars might easily and just as effectively be spent?
What is the difference between an Iraqi regime of terror and an American regime of terror?
How are our urban and rural classrooms the same breeding grounds for "al-qaeda" equivalents?
What does good teaching look like?
Where are the exemplars of emancipated living? Of love?
Have you ever personally encountered terror? Been traumatized? What did that look like? Feel like? How did you respond? What was the result?
Where does liberation from terror, from fears begin?
Who are we? What are our responsibilities? As individuals? Citizens? Followers of God? Of Christ?

Kozol is the Author of "Savage Inequalities," "Amazing Grace" and "Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America." He rocks. But check him out for yourself.

Peace, Love,

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Poetry And Storytelling: Northside Artist Residence Event Recap

Hey Friends,

What follows are a few images from last night's "Storytelling and Poetry" event, held at St. Jane's House in North Minneapolis. Host Brian Mogren assembled a crew of Artist Activists/Educators/ Agents-of-Change who are in residence at the 16th and Bryant 4-plex, known as the "Northside Artist Residence."

The evening brought together a beautiful ensemble of people from around the Twin Cities - for an opportunity to hear spoken word and stories and have meaningful discussion. Rodney "October" Dixon was the emcee, leading the gathering in a Critical Response conversation, breaking open the work that was being shared.

Among the evening's performers were:
Berato Wilson
Amoke Kubat
Caitlin Hill
Gayle Smaller, Jr.
Rodney "October" Dixon
As well as a younger mentee of Mr. Dixon's, and another elder from the community.

All were inspiring.

The facilitated discussion brought forward the poets' and storytellers' themes around poverty, survival, hope, incarceration, change, missing mothers, and having faith. To have the opportunity to hear community and audience members' voices come forward - is one of the greatest joys and privileges for me. As a former North High teacher, and person committed to the questions and actions around emancipation, peace and justice for ALL -- this kind of activity is a key for my participation and engagement.
I am in awe as I watch these former students move and grow and make change.
I am humbled and find resonance in their struggle -- and am inspired by their work and words. I am reminded time and time again of the necessity of relationship-building that is occurring in North Minneapolis and beyond, that draws seeming opposites together. I reflect on how such encounters are gift and invite mutuality.
I recognize how my liberation is deeply aligned with and dependent on the liberation of all others.

Enjoy the pictures.

Stay tuned for more events inviting such participation!


Reflection on Fr. Nouwen: Through the Darkness...

Small Steps of Love

How can we choose love when we have experienced so little of it? We choose love by taking small steps of love every time there is an opportunity. A smile, a handshake, a word of encouragement, a phone call, a card, an embrace, a kind greeting, a gesture of support, a moment of attention, a helping hand, a present, a financial contribution, a visit ... all these are little steps toward love. Each step is like a candle burning in the night. It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through the darkness. When we look back after many small steps of love, we will discover that we have made a long and beautiful journey.

-Fr. Henri Nouwen

Each step is like a candle burning in the night. It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through the darkness.


These words of Fr. Nouwen's take me back to January....It's January 3rd, and I'm taking steps. I'm working to put my house on the market. I'm leaning into my future. I'm working to be anchored and okay in the present. I'm looking at the larger picture and questions guiding my life, "How do I create well? How might I love well? What is sustainable? " I'm identifying my call to write and partner and parent and build relationships across culture, gap, divide, oceans. I'm looking at how I might lovingly step toward solvency and create a sustainable space where relationship and art might flourish. I'm recognizing my deepest passions to love and inspire transformation of society through my own small ways of tending to people. I'm mapping my daily "To -Do's" in transforming 1188 Juno's three levels, toward a simplified whole. I'm trying not to be overwhelmed by the uncertainty of all of at these dreams, of all at stake.

A dear friend of mine from South Africa underscored words of a Fr. Nouwen prayer at that time: inviting me to work in small windows, be okay with just enough light to illuminate the next step.

And six months later, I'm recalling this. I'm reflecting on how silly we are to try and see so far, to cast ourselves into the future, and cling to certain outcomes, our human visions and versions of the "perfect life." We are called to dream - YES! - but we are called simultaneously to surrender, and trust deeply that Love holds us through it all.

It's June. And my house hasn't sold. And my graduate school Writing program has been deferred. And I'm not where I thought I was "supposed" to be. But I am happy. And I am working. And relationship-building abounds. And I am writing. And love is here. Holding it all. And it feels so true for me that indeed a tiny light has been guiding me through darkness, and all of these small steps are carrying me forward in this larger journey of love.


My prayer and reflection for you all today is that you, too, know about small lights and windows and tiny steps. May you feel held and guided and trust that all you are doing is enough!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Another Reflection by Fr. Nouwen: "Choosing Love"

Choosing Love

How can someone ever trust in the existence of an unconditional divine love when most, if not all, of what he or she has experienced is the opposite of love - fear, hatred, violence, and abuse?

They are not condemned to be victims! There remains within them, hidden as it may seem, the possibility to choose love. Many people who have suffered the most horrendous rejections and been subject to the most cruel torture are able to choose love. By choosing love they become witnesses not only to enormous human resiliency but also to the divine love that transcends all human loves. Those who choose, even on a small scale, to love in the midst of hatred and fear are the people who offer true hope to our world.

Fr. Henri Nouwen

Friday, June 13, 2008

Henri Nouwen Reflection: "The Source of All Love"

The Source of All Love

Without the love of our parents, sisters, brothers, spouses, lovers, and friends, we cannot live. Without love we die. Still, for many people this love comes in a very broken and limited way. It can be tainted by power plays, jealousy, resentment, vindictiveness, and even abuse. No human love is the perfect love our hearts desire, and sometimes human love is so imperfect that we can hardly recognise it as love.

In order not to be destroyed by the wounds inflicted by that imperfect human love, we must trust that the source of all love is God's unlimited, unconditional, perfect love, and that this love is not far away from us but is the gift of God's Spirit dwelling within us.

Fr. Henri Nouwen

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Song" Today's Poem, by Edwin Denby


by Edwin Denby

I don't know any more what it used to be
Before I saw you at table sitting across from me
All I can remember is I saw you look at me
And I couldn't breathe and I hurt so bad I couldn't see.

I couldn't see but just your looking eyes
And my ears was buzzing with a thumping noise
And I was scared the way everything went rushing around
Like I was all alone, like I was going to drown.

There wasn't nothing left except the light of your face,
There might have been no people, there might have been no place,
Like as if a dream were to be stronger than thought
And could walk into the sun and be stronger than aught.

Then someone says something and then you spoke
And I couldn't hardly answer up, but it sounded like a croak
So I just sat still and nobody knew
That since that happened all of everything is you.

"Song" by Edwin Denby from The Complete Poems. © Random House, New York, 1986. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Love to Northern California!

Hey! Greetings! Sacramento! San Francisco! Rio Linda! McClellan! Belvedere Tiburon! Berkeley! Stockton! Valley Springs! Oakland!

You all are lighting up my blog site!

I am so curious who is reading these random blog entries of mine in Cali! In the last month, my blog-reader report has blown up with statistics about communities in Northern California. Two specific communities, actually: Rio Linda and McClellan. (You may even note this inspired a line in a poem I wrote this past month!)

I am inviting your response here. I welcome your thoughts, comments, questions, prayers, your own story of who you are, and what brings you to "Queen Mab Contemplates."


I know I have a blessed community of family and friends and colleagues around the globe that keep tabs on me through this site. I love hearing words and prayers as response. That this could be, IS a space of mutual gift - gives me the greatest joy.

Please write. A comment in the comment section below. Or send me an email:

It's a privilege to hold space and inspire. We are all walking this road together, right?

Peace, Sunshine, Respect,

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"First Marriage" by Liam Rector, Courtesy of The Writer's Almanac

First Marriage
by Liam Rector

I made it cross country
In a little under three days.
The engine blew out

About a hundred miles north
Of San Francisco, where I'd
Hoped to start living again

With a woman I'd abandoned
Only a few months before.
The reasons I'd left her were

Wincingly obvious
Soon as I got back
To her, and it didn't take long

Before I again left her.
In a few weeks I'd meet
The woman who became

My first wife, the one
With whom I spent
Almost the entirety

Of my twenties. It took
About twenty years
Getting over her, after

We divorced at thirty.
Broke then, I took
A bus cross-country

And was back in the East
By Christmas, thinking it
Would take three years maybe

To put this one behind me.
But getting over her
Happened as we were

Both in our third marriages,
Both then with children,
Heading for our fifties.

She came cross-country
To tend to me when I had
Cancer, with a 20% chance

Of recovery. The recovery
From all she had been to me,
Me abiding with her as long

As I did, took place finally
When we, her sitting on my bed
And me lying in it, held hands

And watched ourselves watching
TV, something we'd never quite
Been able to do comfortably

All those years ago. So many
Things turn this way over time,
So much tenderness and memory,

Problems not to be solved
But lived, and I resolved
Right then to start living

Only in this kind of time.
Cancer gave this to me: being
Able to sit, comfortably, to get

Over her finally, and to
Get on with the fight to live while
Staying ready to die daily.

"First Marriage" by Liam Rector, from The Executive Director of The Fallen World. © The University of Chicago Press, 2006. (buy now.)

I notice...

Traveling across country. An engine blowing out. Things wincingly obvious. Cancer. Divorcing and remarrying. Taking years to "get over." Occurrences in the speaker's twenties. Cancer in their fifties. 20% chance of recovering.
The lines, "
Problems not to be solved/But lived" and " Cancer gave this to me: being/Able to sit, comfortably, to get/
Over her finally, and to/Get on with the fight to live while/Staying ready to die daily."

I wonder...

How those cross-country trips inspired or informed partnership?

How many times do we need to travel across continents to learn about ourselves and our hearts?

When engines blow, who repairs them?

Where does cancer come from?

Can a car have cancer? How about a heart?

What happens if we can't fix things?

What does dying teach us?

Can we learn these lessons in any simpler way?

Happy contemplating! Happy road trips!


Monday, June 09, 2008

Poems Inspired by Scripture, South Africa, and North Minneapolis

"Groaning Beasts We Are"
by Melissa Borgmann

"You shall rot away because of your sins and groan one to another."
Ez 24:23

"Rot away, groaning."
That's what God said to me.
Not hiccupping.
...I wanted to punch those hippos.
Fat and bloated creatures lounging there on the beaches of South Africa.
"Dainty things," I thought (giggling.)
Like love a bit.
We are all sprawled out animals with our yeasty infections.
We'd do well to bake, bathe, feed ourselves – but not on one another.

"Perfect Adoration"
By Melissa Borgmann

"Jesus said to him, 'If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.'"
Mt 19:21 - 22.

If you wish to be perfect…
Throw away everything,
beginning with that cell phone.
Poverty, darling, poverty.
Next your nikes.
Airbrushed, I know, I see that. And I'm so sorry, but you asked.
You wanted this.
Buck up.
Simple, simple, simple, simple.

Now: Adore God.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

"The Visitor" - See this Movie!

How does any kind of change happen in our world?
What does it take for our hearts to melt, transform, open-wide-with-compassion-and-questions?
How are subtle but profound invitations extended?
What really inspires us to leap, to take risks, to create and accept happiness?
How do relationships alter our perceptions and infuse our capacity for knowing the "other"?
What does any of this lead to?

I'm giving everyone this assignment: Go SEE THE MOVIE, "THE VISITOR"!

My world has been rocked this evening by the potent lessons and inspiring tale of this film. I want to talk with each and every person who ventures out to see this flick. It's an important piece of work, post-9/11, and present day history-in-the-making-times.

If you've never known someone navigating green card status, or working intently to remain in the United States as an "illegal immigrant" - this flick will be an eye opener. A beautifully, powerfully, unsentimentally depicted story of a Syrian man, his mother, a Senagalese woman, and a New England economics professor.

It really does rock!

Love, Looking forward to responses,

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Today's Poem: "Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale"

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale

by Dan Albergotti

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life's ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.

"Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale" by Dan Albergotti from The Boatloads.© BOA Editions, Ltd., 2008. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Last Night in St. Paul: "An Amazing Event -- at street level, gut level" By Nick Coleman

It was History. It is amazing. Nick Coleman's article bears some inspiring, rocking witness to what transpired last night in St. Paul; (on a larger level: to what is somehow happening in our country?!?)

I'm thankful to my friend Ann Shallbetter, who forwarded this Star Tribune Article with her own appreciative words: "Awesome coverage the rally from last night is getting! I love Nick Coleman and always appreciate his perspective. Enjoy the read!"

I echo her invitation: "Enjoy the read!"

The full Article, with any associated images and links can be viewed here.

An amazing event -- at street level, gut level
NICK COLEMAN, Star Tribune

A black man came to Minnesota Tuesday, claimed the presidential nomination of a major political party, and was met with adulation, ovations and brisk sales of T-shirts.

If that doesn't seem amazing, you have been living on a better planet. Or in a better state.

Barack Obama came to a place that once was flyover land, never made political news and used to be as segregated as any to declare -- at 9:14 p.m. CDT on June 3, 2008 -- that he had won the Democratic nomination.

In a building where the most exciting thing said is usually, "Now it's time to drop the puck," it was a startling occasion, startling at street level and at gut level, too.

Lines of people waited hours for a chance to get into the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, and many of them were people of color. This was not just another hockey game at the corner of West 7th and Kellogg.

This was even bigger than a run at the Stanley Cup.

"I love him," said the Rev. Joseph Webb III, the African-American pastor of the Free at Last Church, a block from the X, where parishioners who normally feed the hungry were raising money for the Lord's work by selling brats to the Obama throng.

"He answers questions that have been on my mind about the government, and the war and things that don't make sense to me," Webb said before heading to the X with his wife, Andrea.
"I don't see it as a black or white thing. I just see it as what's good for the country."
Next to the X, in the humid corridors of the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, 400 St. Paul Central seniors in caps and gowns waited, with their families, for their lives to start.

Some felt that way about their country, too.

Barabara Freese and Jim Coben were there for son Tom's graduation. They were wearing Obama shirts and were keenly tuned to the drama next door, and to the juxtapositions of personal and political histories.

“This is a night of beginnings,” Freese said. “A night when kids begin the next stage of their lives, and the country is starting a new chapter.”

Last week, on the last day of classes, the Central seniors gathered at the school door and waited for the final bell, sending them out of school for the last time and into the world for the first. As they waited, a chant rose from among their ranks: “Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!”

For some in a racially diverse inner-city community in the middle of a state and country that has known racial polarization, it is simple:

"I'm for Obama," said Hakeem McLane, a senior who was posing for pictures with his friends before the ceremony. "I ain't trying to be racist or anything. But he's black."

Others just as surely will vote against Obama because of his color. But Hakeem’s mother, Patricia McLane, also a Central alum, added a parent’s proud hopes to her son’s exuberance.

“We need the change that’s going to come,” she said, standing near a bust of Roy Wilkins, the civil rights pioneer from St. Paul for whom the auditorium is named. “We need something new to rise up to give hope to all these kids who are graduating tonight. And it seems like the country is going to stand for something again.”

No one knows how it will turn out on Election Day. That’s still five months away, and not everyone looks at life through blue-colored glasses.

The crowd booed, loudly and on cue, when Obama, who came to Minnesota to upstage John McCain, mentioned that the Republican Party will hold its convention at the Xcel in September.

St. Paul is not a battleground. It gave former Mayor Randy Kelly, a Democrat, the boot after he danced with George W. Bush on the same Xcel Energy Center stage four years ago. Brother No. 4 in the Coleman family, Mayor Chris, benefited from Kelly’s misstep and did a soft shoe of his own last night, abandoning the Hillary Clinton victory barge, which was sinking, and leading a couple dozen Clintonistas onto the Obama ship.

There were more hugs and high-fives than at a Winter Carnival Vulcan dance last night, but all the hugs were consensual in a love fest that would have put a Springsteen mosh pit to shame. It was hard to remember why we need to even have an election.

But we will have one. And it won't be as unanimous as last night. The Republicans will have their own love fest in St. Paul, and the campaign will be long and hard-fought and it could get nasty, and Americans will cross their fingers and mark their ballots and hope the best man wins.

One of them, in a country that is 232 years old and was built on the blood and sweat of slaves, is black.

That has never happened before. It happened last night.

In St. Paul.

19th Ammendment, Tiananmen Square, American Leadership: Juxtaposition in History, Invitation for Prayer

This information compiled by the staff at The Writer's Almanac strikes me in rich and glorious contrast to last night's event at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The first black man in this country's to secure the Democratic presidential nomination.

It all informs my prayer and contemplation.


It was one this day in 1919 that the 19th Amendment to the constitution, giving women the right to vote, was passed by the United States Congress. The movement for the women's vote had gained momentum under Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, two women who had been born at a time in the 19th century when had been barred from college and all professions, including the clergy. They couldn't serve on juries or testify in court, sign contracts, keep or invest money, own or inherit property. Above all, they could not vote representatives into office who might have changed these laws.

The national women's movement came out of the movement to abolish slavery.

After the Congress passed the amendment on this day in 1919, it had to be ratified by a majority of state legislatures. The state that tipped the balance was Tennessee and the man who cast the deciding vote was the twenty-four year old representative Harry Burn, the youngest man in the state legislature that year. Before the vote, he happened to read his mail, and one of the letters he received was from his mother. It said, "I have been watching to see how you stood but have noticed nothing yet…Don't forget to be a good boy and…vote for suffrage." He did.


It was on this day in 1989 that the Chinese troops stormed Beijing's Tiananmen Square to crack down on students conducting pro-democracy demonstrations. The demonstrations had begun months earlier, after the government accused them of planning a coup d'etat. They drew thousands of supporters from three dozen universities and staged hunger strikes and sit-ins. The Chinese government declared martial law, and troops approached the square with tanks in the late evening of June 3.

Ordinary workers had gathered along the nearby roads. They had been demonstrating in support of the students for weeks, and they crowded into the streets to block the advance of the tanks toward the square. Though the event would come to be called the Tianamen Square massacre, almost all the people killed were the ordinary people in the streets outside the square. Violence broke out around midnight on this day in 1989, with some people throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the troops, and the troops responding with gunfire.

The violence continued in and around the square for the rest of the day. The famous photograph of a student staring down a tank was taken by an American Associated Press photographer named Jeff Widener. He went to the top of a hotel near the square and began to take pictures of the tanks clearing the last remnants of people from the streets. Then he saw one man walk up to a tank and stand in its path, refusing to move. He took several photographs and then the man was grabbed by bystanders and pulled out of the tank's path. Widener asked another journalist to hide the film in his underwear to smuggle it out of the country.

The identity of the protester in the photograph is not known with any certainty, but he's been called one of the most influential revolutionaries of the twentieth century.

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless you with DISCOMFORT...
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with ANGER...
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with TEARS...
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, starvation and war
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them
And to turn their pain into JOY.

And may God bless you with enough FOOLISHNESS...
To believe that you can make a difference in this world,
So that you can DO what others claim cannot be done.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

June 1st Gratitude: Listing Today's "Thank You's!"

As I begin June, I think this litany of "Thank you's" from Friday's blog bears repeating, even adding to.....

Thank you for the opportunities that present themselves daily. "Thank you" for these sweet fellows that are showing up left and right and expressing interest in hanging out with me. Thank you for Usry and Jesse and Rich and Joe and Uche. I'm saying "thank you" for the nuns. Thank you for the faithful, artistic, intelligent women and men in my life, and the invitations to serve and be in meaningful dialogue. Thanks for the opportunity to paint a group home in North Minneapolis, alongside the formerly incarcerated young men transitioning back into society, and Visitation High School Seniors. Thank you for the opportunity to host an Arts Professor from Ghana. Thank you for the invitation to sit with smart women at the Sisters of St. Joseph Center and talk about being agents of peaceful transformation. Thank you for the opportunity to dialogue on race and issues of diversity and equity with folks from the Peace Foundation. Thank you for the opportunity to dance and celebrate Jah! in the Reggae community. Thank you for the opportunity to work physically with my body and simultaneously help someone else out. Thank you for the network of beautiful supportive people that I'm surrounded by on Sundays at St. Philips, at St. Jane House, and throughout the week! Thank you for email. Thank you for the opportunity to take Ruth Hayden's "Women and Money Class." Thank you for peanut m&m's. Thank you for my cousins Choan and Jill and their humor. Thanks for Sr. Joanna in England. Thank you for Kelly Services and the opportunity to work. Thank you for Zola and her financial tidbits on South Africa and our larger globe. Thank you for David's empathy. Thank you for the opportunity to shop for dresses to wear to weddings. Thank you for Carrie Bradshaw and John "Big" Preston and Sex in the City. Thank you for Grey's Anatomy and the brain tumor patients who love and live.

Thank you for the opportunity to re-create and re-envision and be as transparent as possible in walking this path.