Mini musing or poem of the month

On this page, you will see a new work, a timely poem, or a comment (mini musing) 

posted once or more each month. The category page from which each work is taken is listed 

in parentheses ( ).


NOVEMBER 10, 2020

"Too much control takes its toll." If you have ever had a high control figure in your life, you know 

how it feels. Stifling. Intimidating. Frustrating. Infuriating. No adult likes his or her personal 

decisions to be controlled by someone else, either by threats, manipulation, or force. Nor should 

they be. We all have three basic things:  a LIFE for living, a RIGHT to be free, and a brief TIME 

in the sun.  We all want to make the best of that brief time, even if our choices are not 

what the people who are close to us would like or choose for us. Those choices are ours to 

make. We answer to God and to our own conscience, not to those people. For more on this

tension, see You be you; I'll be me. It is Poem # 8 in Emotions.


NOVEMBER 1, 2020

My poem of the month for November is TOP of the Fence. It seemed appropriate because of the 

imminent results from the presidential election on or shortly after November 3rd. So many people 

have been thinking about, talking about, tweeting, and posting about who's right, who's wrong,  

and for whom to vote for president, that I wanted to give a different perspective. Yes, vote. But 

regardless of who wins and whether or not it is the person for whom I voted, there will be 

opportunities to practice my listening skills, along with empathy, in the coming weeks and 

months. Sometimes empathy can even lead us to change our minds about what we thought we 

formerly understood. We cannot truly "see" the other side without moving closer. The format is 

an attempt to picture the audience to whom I am speaking, from the vantage point of the top of 

the fence.


(From Fellowship with Believers)


TOP of the Fence

 

I am NOT “wishy-washy!”

 

I WANT to sit here on the TOP of the fence

rather than jump down to either side.

 

                                    What an AMAZING view up here!

                                    I don’t want to ever leave.

 

                                                                        Yes, I SEE you now!

                                                                        Before—I could not.

                                                                        How are you?

 

Yes, I remember where I was,

I love you too.

I’m not leaving, abandoning, or rejecting you

I AM you.

                       

                                    But I am the “other,” as well.

 

                                                                        Yes, I feel your pain.

                                                                        I now understand your journey with life,

                                                                        why you are where you are

                                                                        on the other side of the fence,

                                    from…

 

where I used to be.

 

                                    I’ll never go back!

                                    I LIKE sitting here

                                    on the TOP of the fence.

                       

There’s room for you to join me…

 

 


gratefulsue

3.14.20

© 2020 gratefulsue



OCTOBER 24, 2020

Last week when I was walking in the neighborhood where I have walked many times before, the 

wind was blowing more strongly than usual. I found that my attention was drawn to familiar 

objects in a new way. American flags, butterfly flags, "Welcome" flags, all usually hanging limply, 

were now flapping wildly and horizontally from their poles, looking rather majestic or frantic, 

depending. A couple of windmill-type flower garden ornaments were spinning so fast, I thought 

they might fly off their "stems" at any moment. But, the best surprise was a wind chime hanging 

on a tree. Usually still and silent, the chimes were now dancing in the wind, singing beautifully 

and enthusiastically! I am reminded of the Holy Spirit (described as a wind in the New 

Testament). When the Spirit blows through my day with a special message to convey, do I even 

notice?


OCTOBER 7, 2020

I've been reading through the Gospel of Mark lately. In chapter 8, verses 11-12, it says, " The 

Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from 

heaven. He sighed deeply and said, 'Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you no 

sign will be given to it.'" It struck me that I am often like the Pharisees, asking Jesus to give me 

a "sign" that He is God, that He is (still) with me, has heard my prayers, and will take care of me. 

Give me a "sign" (of your presence) to let me know I'm not crazy for believing in an invisible God 

at work in my world today. 


But, Jesus "sighs deeply" when that is my attitude. Where is my faith?!! Where is my memory? If 

look backward at my life, Jesus has "shown up" and answered prayers, or even given unasked

for blessings time and time again! Remember. And, walk forward in faith and gratitude. 


OCTOBER 1, 2020

We are approaching the presidential election. It seems like everyone has strong opinions about who should win the election. I have a strong opinion. Everyone has strong words about it. The candidates have strong words about it. It's one thing to have strong opinions. It's another thing to have strong words. I don't want to have strong words. I'm not God. I could be wrong. And, strong words are almost always counter-productive anyway. I have trod that road on many occasions, on other topics, only to regret my words later, which is what inspired the poem below.


(From: Holy Living)

Confession of a Verbal Assassin

 

I’m finally learning the value of biting my tongue.

I’m trying to apply what I’ve learned.

I don’t have to win the argument.

I don’t have to prove I’m right.

I don’t have to have the last word,

Or, the best word,

Or, the most pointed word,

Thereby nailing my victim to the wall.

 

Pressing my points produces injuries.

Victims build walls,

Retreat – to heal wounds.

If I’m really right,

They may or may not know it.

But, God knows it.

And sometimes, I’ll know it.

And that’s enough.



gratefulsue

1/25/14 revised 11/17/19

© 2019 gratefulsue


SEPTEMBER 24, 2020

"... perhaps that's what faith is: trusting God's goodness despite any apparent evidence 

against it." 

Philip Yancey, Reaching for the Invisible God


SEPTEMBER 1, 2020

I am very blessed to have two sisters who I love dearly and with whom I feel as though we have 

great relationship. One sister, Cathy, is four years older than me. Soon after I graduated 

from college, we spent the majority of our adult lives living in different states, raising our families. 

Then, four years ago that changed! We now live only 15 minutes apart! I'm thrilled! I feel as 

though I'm still learning new things about her, like the fact that she is such a detail-oriented 

person. I recently wrote a poem about her and decided to ask for her input so that I could get the 

details right! The joint-effort project is below.


(From: Family)


That’s Cathy

 

She’s learning, reading, writing, pondering,

sharing – while climbing higher.

 

She’s painting, walking, sewing, singing,

worshiping – her Lord unseen.

 

She’s cooking, detailing, decorating, flower arranging,

serving – at life events.

 

She’s remembering, missing, processing, valuing,

honoring – heritage gone by.

 

She’s praying for, standing by, aching with, hoping for,

supporting – her five precious gifts.

 

She’s wife-ing, mom-ing, friend-ing, grandma-ing,

life-ing – with hugs and tears.

 

She’s talking, listening, laughing, grieving,

loving – all things eternal.

 

 

gratefulsue

8.16.20

© 2020 gratefulsue

 

(For my sweet sister)


AUGUST 1, 2020

I was married to David on August 10, 1985. This month we would have celebrated our 35th 

anniversary. Here's a twist of irony/serendipity. David was raised by an Aunt and Uncle. He did 

not know the date of his biological parents' anniversary (who were both deceased by the time we 

wed). After setting the date for our wedding and reserving the location for the reception, he did 

some research and discovered the month and date of his biological parents' anniversary was 

also August 10th! That was a pretty cool discovery! And, there were other cool things about our 

marriage, not just the date of the wedding.


What was not so cool were the difficulties we had in our marriage. We faced almost daily 

challenges from differing values, being raised in different areas of the country, different decades

(we were eight years apart), and parenting styles (his was authoritarian, mine was not). The 

poem below reflects many of those challenges. I read it to David while he was declining from 

cancer, and surprisingly, he liked the poem. So, it was read at his funeral in 2015. A few years 

after the funeral, I had to take out a verse which no longer fit after gaining perspective from his 

absence. No marriage is perfect, and some have more challenges than others. I still have 

questions about mine, and answers I won't know until I get to ask the Lord.


(From: Love and Marriage)


All We Didn’t Do

 

We said harsh words, but

            we didn’t neglect to apologize.

 

We got very angry, but

            we didn’t hate each other.

 

We had our power struggles, but

            we didn’t always have to “win.”

 

We sometimes felt lonely, but

            we didn’t abandon each other.

 

We were often disappointed, but

            we didn’t file for divorce.

 

We were too busy, but

            we didn’t stop going on dates.

 

We saw our definition of love change, but

            we didn’t discard saying, “I love you.”

 

We were sometimes hurt and misunderstood, but

            we didn’t withhold a kiss or a hug.

 

We went to bed at different times, but

            we didn’t leave out praying together before bed.

 

We had different philosophies of childrearing, but

            we didn’t miss out on having wonderful kids.

 

We had our own “important” agendas, but

            we didn’t disregard our promise to love and serve one another.

 

We were average people with some stubborn weaknesses, but

            we didn’t forget God could use us anyway, to bless others.

 

We sometimes faced walls of impossible trials, but

            we didn’t fail to see our Lord make a pathway over them.

 

We had 29 years of weathering a somewhat stormy marriage, but

            we didn’t give up.

 

Some might say, we “didn’t do enough,” but

            I say, “All we didn’t do, was enough.”

 

 

gratefulsue

2/8/15

(C) 2015, 2019 gratefulsue

(For David, on Valentine's Day)


JULY 1,2020

Years ago, someone in my church was offended by something I did. To this day, I don't think I did anything wrong. But, that's not the point. He did. He felt wronged. I apologized. He asked his wife to stop talking to me. I was devastated because she was my best friend and he had put her in a terrible position. So, my good friend and I didn't speak, while we prayed and cried a lot. This poem came out of that experience. Given the tense climate in the US right now, I imagine there are many different kinds of people who are experiencing emotions similar to mine, the terrible ache of Hurts Unforgiven. I'm happy to say, two weeks later, the Lord had graciously moved in this man's heart and my friendship with his wife was restored. May we all learn the difficult ministry of forgiveness.


(From: Fellowship with Believers)


Hurts Unforgiven

 

My pleasant thoughts of you have been

interrupted by this ache…

I would really like to be free again,

the latter is too hard to take.

 

The former mind of smiles and cheer,

of friendship –warm and clear,

Is clouded by the muddy waters

of hurts unforgiven, I fear.

 

I hurt you, yes. And you hurt me.

We didn’t mean to, though.

Apologies were spoken, but

the wounds were deep, as you know.

 

You backed away, withheld your love,

“And moved on” without me.

I stand alone and grieve to God—

How I miss what ought to be!



“Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be

overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love

for him… in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of

his schemes.”    2 Corinthians 2:7,8,11. NIV 

 


gratefulsue


4/6/00  


© 2015 gratefulsue                              



JUNE 16, 2020

The end of May and beginning of June was a difficult period for the United States. Fresh 

examples of police racism, and brutality against Black men in particular, and African American 

people in general, delivered fresh trauma to the collective psyche of the Black community. 

Protest marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement were held in nearly every major 

city in the US and even in many cities overseas. Almost everyone, Black, Brown, or White, was 

outraged at the dismal state of prejudice and injustice which continues to exist in the U.S.

The images in online videos and news reports and written accounts online reminded me of

how systemic injustice is a form of ongoing trauma to the entire community, from torturous 

thoughts and concerns, day after day, after day. Here's the first part of a poem I wrote titled,

Trauma.


Mind videos and audios,

            are stuck on “instant replay.”

Like a “broken record,” they

            continue night and day.

 

Exhausting thoughts, ferocious fears;

            raw feelings barge right in—

at any moment, without welcome,

            relentlessly, they begin.

 

Depression enters, falls, and feels

            like a blanket, wet and heavy.

Endless details overwhelm,

            and drown me without pity.

 

My mind becomes a second foe,

            besides the trauma’s furry.

A battleground for fractured faith,

            hard questions, doubts and worry.


For the remainder of the poem, go to poem # 7  (From: Suffering). 


JUNE 1, 2020

In February of 2017, I was volunteering with a local program, run out of a church, to teach English

as a second language (ESL) to Internationals. On one occasion, I was having a private 

conversation with a woman named Nursen. She is a very warm person, the child of devout 

Muslim parents, but herself, an atheist. She said she was "tired of people who claim a religion 

but don't follow the core principles." Her philosophy now is to "Love, love, love!" and to always 

help any person who needs it. How right she is about that (Lev. 19:18, Matt. 22:39, Gal. 5:4) 


The following year at Christmas time, the director of the church ESL program wanted to 

give a small gift to each of the 83 students. Nursen knew how to knit and so she helped out the 

director by knitting 83 3x4 inch squares with a cross in the middle, to be used as Christmas 

tree ornaments. Her labor of love inspired the following poem.


(From: People)


Love! Love! Love!

 

What an example, her heart of love!

            Hours and hours knitting eighty-three crosses

To bless eighty-three new friends.

 

She does not believe in the One she honors,

            And yet, she displays His character—

Much more than many who claim to believe.


“The only thing that matters

            is LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!”

She preached to me some time ago.

 

Yes, you’re right, my Turkish friend.

            So said the man on the cross.

And, in that pursuit, you are ahead of me.

 

My Lord and Savior sees and smiles.

            “Look how well she uses the gifts

I shower on all mankind!”

 

Oh, that all would have this purpose—

            to, “LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!”

Like that of sweet Nursen.

 

Oh, that I would be so generous—

            handing out care and acceptance

Even to ones so different from myself.

 

 

gratefulsue

12.12.17

© 2018 gratefulsue

(for Nursen, who is from Turkey)