May Goodness Define Us

Two Sundays ago, during our live-streamed worship service, many left comments and greetings. Among them were the words in today’s post title: May goodness define us. A member of our congregation wrote these words for all to read. His choice of words jumped off the computer screen at me. And I knew at that moment what I wanted to do with them.
 
I wrote them out on a small Post-it note and placed it near my computer. When I felt judgmental about someone’s words or actions toward others, I’d read these words. And I’d stop myself from throwing out a quick rebuttal with four words: May goodness define us. Friends, it is working. 
 
Today I share them here in the hope of others doing the same. How you ask? By spreading thought-provoking reflection throughout the land. Here’s a suggestion to begin.

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Ways You Can Participate in Change

Following up on my post from last Monday, I’ve compiled a list of resources in which you may find information and/or interests from which you may find a way to help make a change.

These items were found in various circulated newsletters, blog posts, and my personal reading. As I publish this list, to my knowledge all links are working. Let’s hope nothing messes them up in their transmission to you.

I encourage you to find your way in our current situation to make a change in yourself, your community, your workplace, your church, your family, and on and on. It’s the only way things can become different–we all have to work together. Continue reading “Ways You Can Participate in Change”

Democracy by Langston Hughes (1949)

Summer entered the Pacific Northwest yesterday, specifically the Portland, OR area, ablaze in sunlight and blue sky. Of course, lest we’d forget our geographic location, the occasional cloud covered the sun. Yet, that did nothing to deter the soul from dancing.

In reading yesterday, I came across a poem by William Wordsworth that spoke to how I felt with summer outside my doorway and what memories of its gala arrival would mean for me months down the road.

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“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.”

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.

Perhaps you learned this iconic quote in childhood. It is attributed to Watty Piper, a pen name of Arnold Munk, owner of the publishing firm of Platt & Munk. Munk wrote children’s books, including this favorite, The Little Engine That Could.
 
Little Golden Book, The Little Engine That Could, I Think I CanGrowing up, we read the Little Golden Book edition of The Little Engine That Could. Our favorite book soon became tattered, torn, faded, and fingerprinted with our love. With eight years between us, I read the book to my younger brother. 
 

 
On February 10th, we had a group of young men at our place to take down three old Doug firs. The approximate height of these trees was 135 feet. We knew that a lot of work and, yes, a mess would remain.
 
We understood that some existing shrubs and plants might suffer damage. But these trees had to go—they were encroaching on the front of our home. One of the first things we noticed was that a grouping of hyacinths were gone. Smashed by limbs bigger than the hyacinths would ever be.
 
Yesterday I noticed one white hyacinth was up to proving it could survive anything! I could hear that hyacinth repeating the words, “I think I can.” Today Bob pointed out there were two hyacinths there, both white. 
 
How symbolic this is of what we need to embrace today. In the face of this unknown virus and misinformation about it, we need a sense of calm coupled with determination. We need to prove we can and will survive this crisis. Further, we need to support our neighbors and community. And despite misinformation, we can find an authentic and reliable source.
 
And we need to adopt the mantra of that little engine of long ago and two white hyacinths beating the odds. Repeat after me:
I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.

 

Featured image attribution: Etienne GONTIER from Pixabay