27.9.05

I'll be...

blown over with a feather?

damned?

a monkey's uncle?

Something, anyway.

We just got a phone call from a contrite alumni of the school. This gentleman was clearly atoning for his ill-spent youth and wanted to return - 10 years too late - books he'd borrowed while here. After putting him on hold and cracking up, I pulled it together enough to inform him that we were very grateful for the gesture, but it really wasn't necessary that he pack and ship them to us.

A cash donation would do just fine. (Of course I didn't say that, but I wanted to!)

18.9.05

Out of the silence

Today at Meeting there were three Messages that really spoke to me. I'd debated going at all, preferring to read God Among the Shakers, but I'm really glad I went.

Message One was from a Friend that was feeling overburdened. She'd started to feel guilty about not doing as much as she'd done previously, but those things were for others and she was putting them aside to do things for herself. Not in a selfish or self-centered way, but things like finding the time to quietly sit and watch the sunset or read. Things that help heal us and make us whole, yet can make us feel that we're wasting time not doing the "important" work that society or friends demand of us.

Message Two was from a Friend with vision problems. She'd recently seen a video about three artists, the final one being a Japanese artist with a clearly defined linear style. This Friend had always thought that was how she saw things: clear, precise. Yet that was only with her right eye, and when she closed it and looked only through her left, things were more like a Jackson Pollack, only vaguer. This troubled her not just because it was a physical problem but because it made her question how her mind also saw things. Was it clear, or vague? She encouraged us to only go with the clear, the defined, the strong.

I thought about that in the ensuing silence. One charge against me by a good friend is that I'm too inclined to see things in black and white, with no grey. I believe that I see too many shades of grey, but that I search for the black and white. At home, in the silence of my cottage, after a long day at work, the grey closes in: was that the right choice? were my directions clear? are my staff following? did the students learn anything? Trusting that I'll find the clear, direct path in life means trusting that God will help me find it. I try to be there, to listen, but sometimes....

And Message Three was from a Friend who reminded us that this is exactly what the silence each First Day is about: listening to the Inner Light guiding us towards the clear and direct. There is always time to stop and listen, we just have to choose to do so.

16.9.05

Coming soon to a mailbox near you!

Terry writes:
This correspondence was inspired by my new friend, who wrote to me a few weeks ago as follows:

Isn't it nice to open letters, too? In a funny way, I think all the email/blogging returns an almost romantic, Victorian specialness to pen & paper correspondence.

Until I answered her note, it had been years since I'd last sent anyone a handwritten letter longer than the compass of a notecard. Part of what inspired me to do so was her handwriting, which is neat, fresh, and a delight to behold. It took the place of the imagined sound of her voice: I felt as if she were sitting across a table, telling me about herself, and I felt irresistibly inspired to reciprocate.
This got me thinking. I have a good friend, one I've never actually met "in the flesh", who lives in Germany. We write on good stationery, using fountain pens. It's such a treat to go to my mailbox and get her letters and notes.

While I've tried to write to other friends, their reponse is inevitably by e-mail. So... I've decided to ignore the e-mail, to treat is as a letter and respond via snail mail. Obviously this won't work for everything - there are some things that aren't worthy of the pen, ink and stamp - but maybe I'll start a revolution/devolution back to the golden age of writing letters and having a mailbox filled with something more than junk mail and bills.

You have been warned!

15.9.05

Mom, are you reading this?

My mother is a grammar-maven, still correcting me after all these years. I've done a lot of work as an editor, but I'm still not up to her standards.

Then, today, I read Maud's posting about diagramming sentences. How very cool!

(for earlier posts about grammar, go here and here)