A Wish for Y’all’s New Year

Here’s what I am hoping for all of you out there.

“This Year” by the Steel Wheels.

May you and your family and your loved ones have a beautiful, prosperous and wonderful year in 2020. And may the world finally find “Peace on earth, goodwill toward all.”

And here’s another from The Steel Wheels for your enjoyment.

 

haiku for the day: faith

I call this one “faith” for lack of a better title. It did seem to fit. In church, I often sit in my pew and wonder about the others around me. One thing I am sure of is that there are as many reasons to be there as there are people. Some I am sure are there out of habit. Others think that it is the thing to do. Some are there in hope that there’ll be hope given to them. Some are confessing, some are praising. Some are grateful. Some are downright worried and this is the only way to have some comfort. Each of us have our particular reason. The important thing is that we are there and that may very well make all the difference.

wrinkled hands clasping
knees bent low upon a pew
lips sharing secrets

The flower seller

The old lady sat by the flowers. She knitted while she waited for the passers-by to stop and buy some flowers. Through the years, she had managed to knit a whole wardrobe. It was her way not to become impatient. To trust that the customers would come. And they did. While she knitted and waited, she prayed for each of the passers-by. “God is good,” she told the troubled souls who came her way. And she believed it. She believed that each of her prayers was a seed.

One sunny spring afternoon, she sat in her usual place. She had just put away her lunch of a baguette, some cheese and a glass of red wine, then she went back to her knitting. This one was a blanket for her great-grandbaby. Michel was six months old with the most beautiful of smiles. Every time she looked at him, he smiled. His smile seemed to fill not just the room but the whole world. How could anyone be sad after seeing a smile like that?

A woman in her early forties, tall, long black hair, approached her. “Margarette?” she said.

Margarette looked up at the woman. She remembered the woman. She never forgot a face. Twenty years ago, the woman stopped and shared her story. She had no one else to share with, she said. She had been abandoned by her lover. He had brought her all the way from the United States to France and left her for another woman. She was afraid to contact her family. They would reject her and she would soon be on the street, a foreigner. Margarette took her hands, held them, and prayed for the woman.

“Margarette,” the woman said as she kneeled before the old woman. “You saved my life. You won’t believe what happened after I left.”

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Frederick Buechner

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is the novelist and theologian Frederick Buechner (pronounced Beek-ner): 

Buechner on Prayer

Grace

Buechner on Life

In the seventies, eighties and nineties, I spent a lot of my reading with theologians. I can hear the groans out there. But I was seriously trying to figure out something a lot of people had down pat. What kind of spirituality did I want to embrace?

This search led me in a lot of directions that included Catholicism, Pentecostalism, Evangelicalism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Taoism. I looked at a variety of practices outside the mainstream including certain new age practices, such as the tarot and reiki. For a while, I attended Quaker Meetings. I even dipped my toe into Jungian psychology. But, I have to tell you. My shadow scared the bejeezus out of me.

Each of these spiritualities offered something I could embrace. But none was completely satisfying. I kept thinking why did I have to choose? So I made my choice. I chose the way that Robert Frost called “The Road Not Taken”. I finally arrived at a point that I was not about to choose.

And I came to one conclusion about God. I was not an atheist or an agnostic. For me, there was only one God to believe in. That is the God, I-Don’t-Know.

In my search, the writers that impressed me were the theologians Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Buber, and Frederick Buechner as well as the novelists Graham Greene and Fyodor Dostoevsky. All of these showed me that the spiritual path is not an easy road.

So today I would like to honor Frederick Buechner and thank him for his insight. Both his essays and his novels have been enlightening. If you would like to know more about him, here’s a link to his website.

Hamlet: My crown, my own ambition, and my queen

Why, let the stricken deer go weep,
The hart ungallèd play.
For some must watch while some must sleep.
So runs the world away.
Hamlet Act 3 Scene 2.

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 3 Scene 3. Two men. Mortal enemies. They have scouted each other out. They now know what each plans and plots. First Hamlet. He set a trap for the king. The king fell into it.

Then Claudius. A-prayin’. There Claudius is down on his knees. There Claudius is praying. But the Lord ain’t list’nin’ to no Claudius. No sirree, Jesus done turned His face away from Claudius. ‘Cause Claudius, he is a sinner. Yes sirree. He a sinning man. The $64,000 question is why does Claudius stop to pray. He ain’t a repentin’ man, that is for sure.

Claudius is not a religious man. Never has been.

Maybe Claudius just needs a folk to talk to. It’s like the serial killer. He calls up the cops and dares them to catch him. It’s that ego talking. He just wants somebody to know how smart he is. Maybe that’s Claudius. He just wants somebody to know. Since God already knows, why not have a heart-to-heart with Him.

No theologian this Claudius. He only sees prayer as having two benefits. Prayer’s there to forestall us from sinning and to pardon us once we have. Well, he has already committed the crime. And he’s not asking pardon. That would mean he has to turn himself in. He likes his job too well.

Hamlet stops. He sees Claudius praying. He draws his sword, a sword that is itching for revenge. It’s an eye for an eye kind of thing. In other words, you kill Daddy, I kill you. But there are rules to this sort of thing. I don’t kill you while you’re praying. That would get you off the hook and send you straight to heaven. Hamlet cannot have that. Hamlet cannot have that.

So it’s on to Mom’s.