Tonight I went to a writer’s workshop. You might think that would inspire me to go write home and write my blog. It seems to have had the opposite effect. I stare at the blank page, first wondering what it is I want to say. Then I recognize a pattern. When I resist writing, there is some thing I am avoiding addressing. Reluctantly I admit what it is: this week I realized there is a box of belongings that I believe did not make it from Tennessee to Montana. It contained my Common English Bible, a gift from a dear friend. An accumulation of mandala books and materials was in that box……along with most of my journals from over many years. Those journals were full of my diary entries, along with poems, quotes, prayers that had been meaningful to me. The sense of loss has deepened with each succeeding day. Losing the journals feels like I have lost a part of myself.
Certainly I am aware that this is miniscule compared to the refugees fleeing war and famine, having to leave so much behind that was integral to their lives. Separation from who and what matters most to us is heart wrenching, soul crushing.
Two bedrock ideals sustain me as I seek to respond to this situation: that in the midst of loss, I must celebrate life and that I must always ask “What am I grateful for in this moment?” So I celebrate all that survived the trip, especially the few journals that remain, and that my life is not significantly altered. I still have my spouse, family and friends, a home, a church, meaningful work, my health. For my life in this moment I am thankful.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: We had a specific writing exercise at the workshop that involved looking at a photograph (or calling up a memory) and writing in response to specific questions about it (e.g. what was the environment, the sensations associated with it, who was there, who was missing or left out). I thought of other kinds of writing exercises I have been given in other classes. Online I noticed that one suggestion is to write a blog! So I will add that another gratitude is for the desire to write and also for those who take the time to read my ponderings.
2 thoughts on “Tabula Rosa”
I’m sorry for the loss of your “treasures.” There are some things that truly can’t be replaced. How strong of you to look for ways to be grateful despite the situation.
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I adopted a catchphrase years ago that I now use whenever someone asks me how I am doing at a time when I am feeling low or off or even a bit ill. I will say — sometimes through gritted teeth — “Well, I’m upright, so I’m alright.” I feel that as long as I can think clearly enough to answer to someone, I have the potential to make my situation better. I can plan improvements, concentrate on healing, change my habits, rest, reflect, recuperate and rejuvenate while realizing that hey! things may look dark but I am still in the game of life.
It is tough to lose treasured items — particularly when they are gifts (and a journal entry is a gift to oneself) — but please remember that you are still upright so you can write some new journal entries, create new poems, and find new prayers. And I look forward to reading new blog posts!
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