growth

Not Brave Enough Yet

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Yesterday I was hit by a cloud of grief that soaked me as I watched Barack and Michelle Obama wave good-bye.  I could only watch for a couple of minutes and then just had to sit with my grief. As my thoughts went to the bravery of the women who would be participating today in the Marches across the nation, I felt afraid and vulnerable.  I, at this point, am not physically strong enough or emotionally brave enough to march. I want to hide. I don’t want to stand out. I am one of those faceless, nameless women (no longer) who have been molested and groped. As many others before me have done, I am choosing to move into the light rather than hide in the shadows. This new president has made it very clear he is not on my side. Thank you to all the women who are able to step out and make a stand today.

 

I’m a complicated person, in process, aren’t we all? I have lived overseas for over 20 years of my adult life. I know what it feels like to live as a foreigner, an outsider, one who does not understand all the languages and cultures swirling around me.  I was sent by evangelical churches and people to love people with very different cultures and languages. That is why I am grieved by so many from this demographic who are now calling for isolationism and nationalism. Are they giving into fear and self interest rather than being ruled by love?  They seem to be listening to another voice other than the One they claim to be following.

 

I count it a privilege to have many Muslim friends who are very dear to me, some even call me Mom. I grew up among Hispanics in East Los Angeles and am honored to have a precious daughter-in-law, whose first language is Spanish.  I am also very proud to have a Vietnamese son-in-law. From all of these groups I learned more about family and community.  I have learned about hospitality, kindness to strangers and a deep respect for the elderly.  I am enriched by my international family and friends. We are deprived when we cut ourselves off from the richness of other cultures.

 

Through listening to the stories of our friends, my anthropologist husband and I are trying to understand what it’s like to be on the margins in our own country. We are part of an organization (Peace Catalyst International) that builds bridges, not walls.

 

Today I am feeling stronger.  After listening to some of the inauguration speech by the new President, I want to say I’m sticking with the words of Jesus over his.  Jesus said if you want to be great, then be the servant of all and he showed us how to do that by laying down his life.  He said the first will be last and the last will be first.  So this “America First” statement strikes me as really dangerous. Self interest never leads to love. I’m sticking with “the greatest of these is love”.

 

 

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Categories: borderlands, Faith, God, growth, Hope, Hospitality, Love, pain, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Resolutions

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Some are about loosing

(weight or bad habits)

Some are about gaining

(wealth or a spouse)

All about changes to make in the year

Yet how much do I control

What happens to me?

Surely my choices are factors

In the matter

But I truly believe

All things considered

That the most important change I can make

In a year

Is what comes from my heart

And works itself out

in the way

I treat others

(And that is including

myself)

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: growth, Life, Poetry, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Start Small

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Start small

With steps towards

Good and beauty

Towards life and healing

Otherwise

You may find

Discouragement and

Disillusionment

Tagging, unwanted

Along

You may find

You don’t have

All you need

Lose hope

And not finish

 

Start small

You will add

Piece by piece

To what you have

Wondering where did

It all come from

Whether it be word

Or color or brick or paint

It won’t matter because

It will be there

To fit into the place it goes

And you will see

Unfolding before your eyes

(Maybe not exactly as you thought!)

The dream, the plan,

The drawing, the house

The life

finishing in all it’s glory

 

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, growth, Hope, Life, Poetry, Seasons, Trees, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Which Way

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There are those

Who spread fear

Just as black ink

Splatters thick

across the paper

 

Then there are those

Doing the slow work

Of love

Meticulously erasing

The stain

One person at a time

And filling the space

With glorious colors

Where beauty can take shape

And life can grow again

 

Here is a suggestion

Instead of standing against

The “Other”

Come along side

Listen to their story

Sorrow and pain

Love and joy

Understand

They too are human

Just like you

 

How did this happen?

The bridges slowly built

With care and love

Years of hard work

Dynamited in seconds

Rubble of hate and fear

Left behind

An enemy came

And spread seeds of destruction

Instead of kernels of peace

Fingers stop pointing

Look instead to the heart

Am I a good neighbor?

Am I my brother’s keeper?

 

© 2016 Julie Clark

The Path to the Garden

Categories: beauty, Faith, growth, Hope, Life, Love, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Seed

The Birch

the seed

dead and buried

slowly

throws off the decay

sprouts new life

to thrust through the soil

for air

for light

for life

becoming what it is

destined to be

flowering in beauty

bearing fruit

to nourish

all living creatures

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, growth, Hope, Life, Poetry, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Limitations

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I am but a part of the whole

I don’t need to

do everything

know everything

be everything

I just need to

do my part

know who I am

be who I am

As I take my place it is as if I’ve

caught a wave

found the current

flown onto the jet stream

This is a process

Not perfection

Pointed this way

Growing each day

Working and resting

Exerting effort

To become effortless

Watching

The master plan

Of my life

Intersect with the whole

Acceleration and

Exhilaration

Are the results

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, growth, Hope, Life, Paths, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Something New

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(This poem is dedicated to the Arts Team at the Seattle Vineyard)

Learning

something new today

Thank you

for inviting

prodding

just a little

to get me started

to whet my appetite

that perhaps

I could

create something

beautiful

with my hands

with the help of

paint and canvas

paper and scissors

 

You could have

kept your talents hidden

or only allowed

the professionals

to join the fun

instead you threw the doors

open and

invited us all in

to join

the joy

of creating something

beautiful

 

I think

there are many

budding artists, singers

musicians, writers

etc.

out there that only

need the nudge of

encouragement

and invitation

to get started

on opening up

new streams

of joy in

their lives.

 

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, growth, Hospitality, Life | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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