An Invitation from Mary C. Myers, St. Michael’s parishioner, Spiritual Director/Companion &
Legacy Writing Facilitator
Week 10: An Invitation to Share your Written Reflections to be Included in the Upcoming Messenger
For the last nine weeks, you have been offered an opportunity to reflect on these times in which we are living, reflecting on how the crises of our times are impacting your daily life, your spirituality, your world view, your sense of well-being and insights you are gaining.
Please consider submitting your written reflections, not limited to the prompts offered over the past nine weeks, as a gift to our community to help us better understand how you as an individual as well as us as a community are coping during these challenging times and how you are naming the struggles, finding meaning and even hope. We need to hear from each other to know we are not alone. We have wisdom and encouragement to offer one another.
PLEASE CONSIDER SUBMITTING YOUR WRITTEN REFLECTION, OR EVEN PART OF A LARGER REFLECTION, A POEM, OR A WRITTEN EXPRESSION OF YOUR CHOICE, FOCUSING ON LIVING IN THESE HISTORICAL TIMES AND WHAT WE WILL WANT TO REMEMBER AND SHARE WITH FAMILY AND LOVED ONES, NOW AND IN THE FUTURE.
Here are the Invitations to Write beginning nine weeks ago.
I would like to invite you to pause, read and reflect on the following poem by Michelle Riddell and sit with the thoughts that it generates in you about your experience of this time of chaos and crisis we are living in. We are all experiencing it differently, uniquely, and we are learning, gaining wisdom, coping, changing and being changed.
It is important that we remember this time for ourselves, but it is also very important that we remember this experience for our families and loved ones, for future generations who will be asking the question, What was it like during the 2020 Pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and all the other crises that came together to create this time of total upheaval in our lives and the unfolding consequences that we are only beginning to grasp? Therefore, I am inviting you to begin to write about your life as you are living it in 2020 and as you write, perhaps, come to greater awareness and understanding of yourself and these times and also create a legacy for your family and loved ones.
Therefore, I will be offering several writing prompts each week for you to choose from and then respond to, perhaps in a journal that will be a container for your writings. Don’t worry about perfection, simply write from your heart and write as much or as little as feels right for you. In the future we may be able to come together on Zoom or in small groups to share our reflections, maybe the day will come when we can come together in small groups! In the weeks ahead, we can talk about collecting our writings to create a record of how we individually and as a community have lived and been transformed during this time.
QUESTIONS FOR WEEK I:
What do you miss about your life BEFORE the COVID-19 pandemic?
What are the gifts you have discovered about THIS time that you hope will remain a part of your life going forward?
QUESTIONS FOR WEEK 2:
What are you learning about yourself?
What are you finding most challenging about this time?
QUESTIONS FOR WEEK 3:
List at least three new insights/awarenesses that have come to you over the last five months from your reading, prayer, conversations with others, the news or participating in a small group discussions. Rather than being judgmental or defensive, reflect on each insight/awareness with a real sense of CURIOSITY. Ask yourself:
I wonder what influenced or helped form what I believed before this new insight/awareness.
I wonder why this insight/awareness is coming to me now, at this moment.
I wonder in what ways this new insight/awareness will be a blessing and/or a challenge to me in the days ahead.
Be gentle with yourself as you sit with these questions and write your response.
WRITING PROMPT FOR WEEK 4:
This week, I find that there are many things I WONDER about this time, what it means, what will be our future, what my response needs to be in light of all that is happening. I find nature has much to teach me besides offering me opportunities to be in wonder and awe. So, I am inviting us to WONDER together. I share part of a reflection I wrote as I spent time in nature and wondered…
… as I glide my kayak through the blanket of yellow, cup-like water lilies and the dazzling white star-burst water lilies floating above the carpet of flat, shiny green leaves,
… how such sublime beauty grows and blossoms out of the muck and decay at the bottom of the lake to grace me with such awe and joy.
… what will be the beauty and the gifts that will come out of the pain, suffering, chaos and death of this time as we are being called to draw on our better selves and manifest a better world.
As I stroll along the beach, watching the rhythm of the ocean as it repeatedly erupts into high-crested waves edged in foam over swirls of blue and green water rushing to the shore that become ever more gentle and peaceful as they flow over the waiting sand.
… who and what will create the new waves of harmony, justice peace and love we long to have wash over our country and our world transforming it with healing and hope.
… can we be open to see with the eyes of our heart and catch glimpses of the new reality already forming, like waves, and beginning to wash over us with refreshment and new life.
WHAT ARE YOU WONDERING?
WRITING PROMPT FOR WEEK 5:
Sue Monk Kidd, in her book The Book of Longings, writes, “I think every pain in the world wants to be witnessed,” and I would add, also to be truly heard.
- What pain(s) are people expressing during this time of chaos, crises and suffering that you are witnessing or hearing for the first time or in a new way?
- How the pains of those in our community that you are witnessing/hearing impacting you or challenging you?
- What actions, big or small, are you beginning to take to learn more about the pain or respond to the pain you are witnessing/hearing?
WRITING PROMPT FOR WEEK 6:
Many historic moments are happening in these days and moments we are living in today. The writing invitation for this week is to pause and name three or more of them. Suggestions: Death of John Lewis, the naming of a woman of color on the presidential ticket for 2020, the Black Lives Matter Movement, the SpaceX exploration….
Choose one or more, and write about the historical significance of the event you have chosen, its place in your life story and the personal impact and meaning it has for you. It is valuable and important to pause and really take in these events and their historical significance and what it might mean for the future.
If you have questions each week or would like to share your writings, please email Mary. She will continue to explore possibilities for sharing these with each other and with the community. Blessings as you reflect, write and share your thoughts.
You Will Want to Remember This
by Michelle Riddell
You will want to remember this.
Maybe not next year or the year after, but someday, when the shock and horror wear off, when we are sitting next to each other at say, a baby shower or a band concert, so close that my sleeve brushes yours, and we exchange a look that recalls these strange days – you will want to remember.
You will want to remember how it felt to wake up in the morning, how it took a moment for the
cloud of sleep to lift, and then another for the cloud of day to settle, and how you would ask yourself What did I do yesterday? Did I shower? Did it rain?
You will want to remember how you passed the time, how you became mesmerized by colorful cardboard shapes and lettered tiles and playing cards. How you drifted off in thought, mid-turn, worrying about the kids from school.
You will want to remember how at last, when you had all the time in the world to read, you couldn’t tame your mind beyond a sentence.
Maybe like me, you lost yourself in a closet or a drawer, emerging hours later, aimlessly clutching saved baby clothes and keychains bought on vacation.
Maybe, like me, you felt guilt and relief about being healthy, safe, spared.
Maybe, like me you cried watching a music video someone shared on Facebook, a dreamy, haunting rendition Of A Day in the Life, so harrowingly beautiful it hurt.
You will want to remember how in this time, some people turned inward, some to nature, some to humor, some to God.
How, when we all felt helpless, some made bread, others art. Some made masks. Others wore them.
How phrases like “virus shedding” and “social distancing: became part of our vernacular, how we ran out of ways to say “unprecedented.”
How we kept running tallies of our infected and our dead.
How you stopped caring, or started caring, or wished you’d been a better daughter.
You will want to remember how you changed, how you went from the rigid enforcer to letting your kids to eat cake in their bedrooms. How you learned to wait. How you learned what mattered.
Maybe you made a schedule.
Maybe you upheld bedtime routine.
Maybe you called your Mom at midnight just to hear her sigh and tell you to get some sleep.
You need to remember this. I want to remember this, because years from now, a lifetime from now, when we’re leaving somewhere, saying goodbye, when I’m hugging you tight and tighter still, and we both laugh, and yet I don’t let go – you will know why.