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 for the previous six months. The category page from which 

each work is taken is listed in parentheses ( ).


FEBRUARY 23, 2021

Two memorial services in one week


Last week, I attended two zoom memorial services. The first was for a young man of 25, who died


tragically, from a drug overdose. He was an only child. Friends and relatives kept the tone 


upbeat, remembering the young man as someone who lived life to the fullest, took risks, was 


himself, loved people, and loved life. I did not doubt that was true. It was not the time to focus on 


his battle with drugs or the number of times his loving parents had prayed for his deliverance, 


which, with an odd twist, was ultimately answered. Their son was finally free. The service 


was difficult to attend. So much potential in a young life, lost. Everything that was said was true, 


and so was everything that was not said. 

 


The second memorial service was for Tom, a 66-year-old man who had Downs syndrome. He 


died of old age. (66 is really old for people with Downs syndrome.) At this service, everyone 


talked about Tom’s long and satisfying life and especially about how much they had learned from 


him. He lived one day at a time. He smiled a lot, big over-sized, ear-to-ear smiles. He was very 


honest--except when playing his favorite board game, where he sometimes cheated to try and 


win! He loved his job: a daily workshop where he was employed along with other special needs 


workers. He liked to dance to records in his younger years. He was a Yankees and a Cowboys 


fan. Many agreed he was also known to be stubborn! The service was beautiful and authentic. 


So much irony. The younger man should have had a long and fulfilling life. The Downs 

syndrome man very well could have had a short and sad life. (At the time of his birth, the 

average life expectancy for Downs children was only 12 years old!) But just the opposite 

of what was expected happened, for both men. Life is beautiful and difficult. Be authentic, 

practice empathy, have faith, and hug your children while you can.  


FEBRUARY 1, 2021

(From: Suffering)


Sharing In His Sufferings

 

Does Jesus want my happiness

Above all else on earth?

Does His love for me insure

A life of peace and mirth?

 

“Not so.” His Word speaks to my heart—

No promises of ease.

Yes, His love is strong and thick—

But not, “just as you please.”

 

I oft forget that suffering is

A promise in the Holy Book—

Passed down from Jesus and the Apostles

When the path of “disciple” I  took.

 

Persecutions, difficulties,

Make my faith more pure.

Death to self, to life and all,

His mandate—to be sure.

 

Are feelings hurt or spirits crushed?

Or loved ones sore abused?

My Lord does see and feel my pain.

I know He’s not amused.

 

But, He will let me bear that cross,

Yet, offering His grace.

While in this world I have the chance

To taste the tears on his face. 

 


gratefulsue

12/4/95

(C) 2015 gratefulsue


JANUARY 23, 2021

As a poet, I could not help but be impressed with the beautiful poem written by Amanda Gorman, 

Harvard grad and National Youth Poet Laureate, delivered to the nation on January 20th, 

Inauguration Day. Regardless of one's political persuasion, if you are also a poet, you will be 

challenged and encouraged by her craft and creativity, her points and positivity, her alliteration 

and inspiration. If you haven't heard it or read it yet, you should! 


JANUARY 16, 2021

"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And 

the third is to be kind." 

Henry James, author


JANUARY 1, 2021

One day I looked out the kitchen window, as I often do, and was struck by the shadows of the trees in the yard. Instead of going from right to left in an angle across the grass, they were going from left to right. My kitchen window faces north. While I had been going about my business during the day, the earth had been rotating between breakfast and dinner without my notice. Hence, the inspiration for the poem below. Time marches on and we age without our immediate perception or power to stop it. 


The beginning of the new year is a good time to reflect. Am I spending my life on the things which matter most to me and to God? Or, am I just going through the motions of daily routines and responsibilities without thought? Let's all make a point of proactively planning for and making space for the people and things we value most.


(From: Eternal Perspective)


Empty Promise

 

The trees have flipped their

            shadows in the yard

 

Rooms on the dark side of the house

are now lit up

 

The clock reverses its hands

            in empathy while

 

The earth pretends to be still.

 

 

I feel just the same as I did

            this morning and afternoon

 

Life will always be

            as it is right now

 

Time is an illusion

            The moment promises.

 

But, shadows don’t lie.

 

 

gratefulsue

10/28/19

© 2019 gratefulsue



DECEMBER 10, 2020

"Work, love, courage, and hope,

make me good, and help me cope."

Anne Frank 

April 14, 1944


I am finally reading, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. It has been educational to humanize 

the suffering of Jews during WWII, though the lens of a young girl in hiding in Amsterdam, 

Netherlands, from age 13 - 15. She is both a typical, immature school girl in places, and a very 

honest and wise young lady in other places in her diary, as she grows and engages in self-

examination to improve herself, and philosophizes about life. Most of us know the sad end of the 

story... she loses her life in a concentration camp just prior to the war's end, after her family is 

discovered and turned in. The above poem captures a glimpse of her strength of character. She 

had wanted to become a journalist and ultimately, an author. She would have been a good one.


DECEMBER 1, 2020

Almost everyone appreciates the Christmas tradition of giving and receiving gifts! If you receive

the gift for which you had been hoping, what a delight! However, if you give a gift that someone 

desperately needs but cannot possibly afford, that's both a joy and a unique privilege!! If we're 

honest, we all have a desire for eternal life, life after death. But alas, the price is too high! One 

would have to live a perfect life before God. A life without sin. There is only one person who has 

ever done this. Jesus, Son of God, born on Christmas Day! And, wonder of wonder, His death 

(undeserved) in our place, is freely offered for our forgiveness of sins! Eternal life awaits, for all 

who simply believe...

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

Romans 6:23


(From: Doctrines)

Free Gift

 

“ ’Tis free!” said the merchant, with winking eye—

“Buy this, and get that…for free!”

 

“ ’Tis free!” said the Savior—“Forgiveness of sin.

Take the gift which I purchased for Thee.”

 

One’s free, one isn’t. The difference is plain.

You tell me whose offer you’d rather obtain.

 

 

gratefulsue

3/7/95

(C) 2015 gratefulsue


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)