Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It's Personal but No Longer Private

Something has come over me.  Something I didn't see coming. 

Congress is talking about defunding Planned Parenthood.  I've never been inside a Planned Parenthood office or clinic and yet I am a staunch supporter of PP in large measure because of something I have rarely discussed.  I've had an abortion, and for the first time in my life I feel compelled to say so out loud and in public.

I'm almost 70 years old so it is within my lifetime that abortion and the pill became legal realities, miracles for women everywhere.  I never dreamed that, once achieved, anyone would want those miracles to disappear as though those gains had never happened. 

I am tempted to explain the circumstances in which I found myself to justify my decision to terminate a confirmed pregnancy, but to do so would merely feed the notion that my reasons are better than her reasons.  The truth is that the circumstances are none of your business; they are my business. I have had an abortion, and I have never once regretted it.  It was very likely one of the most pro-life decisions I've ever made.

I am not speaking up because I believe by doing so I can change minds.  I do suspect, however,  that if more of us who have had abortions, if thousands of us, millions of us, simply said so it might change the conversation.  The gay rights movement gained acceptance more rapidly than anyone foresaw once normal, healthy intelligent people decided to come out of hiding in droves.  They are our neighbors, our relatives, our co-workers, our co-worshipers, as are women who have chosen abortion.  All of you know women who have had an abortion whether you are aware of it or not.

For those of us who made the decision to terminate a pregnancy this is not a hypothetical or theoretical discussion.  It is personal and real.  When I was confronted with the responsibility of deciding what I should do, the last thing I needed was for a senator, congressman, or presidential contender to advise me.  

I cannot express adequately how grateful I was and still am that I could discuss my options with my personal physician, choose a course of action, walk into a reputable hospital with no one picketing or yelling at me, end a pregnancy and resume my life.

In all the swirling debate folks are talking about me, and women like me. It's personal, not political.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Going Forward

When it dawns on me that you are other
That you do not see what I see nor hear what I hear
That in fact you see where I opt to be blind
And are comforted by sounds I find discordant
I pause and inwardly flinch
Hoping you do not discern my retreat.

If I could change our national discourse
The only ingredient I would add, perhaps, is respect.
I could then more easily recognize that 
In order to move forward
I must allow for some portion, but not all, of your reality 
Into my future so that you might relax.

The last thing I want is for you to live each day
Afraid of me, afraid of my worldview, 
Afraid that I will force you, drag you kicking and screaming
To live with what you cannot accept
So that you arm yourself the next time you see me coming.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Throw Back Thursday

Oh lordy lordy.  Cleaning out my closet, opened a box, opened a spiral notebook and read this.  I wrote this in January, 1994.  Glad I found it--saves me the time it would take to write it today. My comments today are in  red.

"It seems I am plagued by deep seated self-doubt.  Constantly asking what am I doing wrong.  I see this morning what a useless question that is once one has accepted and invited the reality of God into one's conscious awareness."  This makes it obvious that some revelations can be easily forgotten.

"It is not that I or any student of God can do no wrong, but that that is the 'wrong' place to look.  Following that train of thought leads to despair, anger, and frustration."  Yesterday in a crying frenzy I pleaded with John, 'what am I doing wrong?' You could say I was in despair.

"One need be willing to see and acknowledge one's mistakes, but not go looking for them.  With Spirit as our guide, our mistakes will be revealed to us clearly.  We are relieved of the constant questioning of 'is it this?' or 'is it that?'.  My experience is those questions go unanswered.  Wish I had thought of that.

"It comes back, always, to trust.  Even when our lives seem to be out of balance or disharmonious, looking for where and how we are screwing up is non-productive.  Being willing to be shown is another matter."  Huh.

"It is the difference between the agony of proclaiming I can't find the way--I'm lost--and the assurance of no matter the circumstance avowing that I can not be lost because once I have been found I am found forever."  How in God's name could I have been wiser 20 years ago than I am today?!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Knitting 2014

I knit
Hours and hours I sit knitting
Almost compelled to sit, and knit.

I drive far and wide seeking yarns,
Colors and textures, wools and silks and cottons,
Thin yarn, fat yarn and all in between.
I stash the yarn, hoard the yarns
In my grandmother's cedar chest.

I take pride in the finished piece, briefly
Before moving on to the next, starting anew
Casting on with new yarn, a new color, a new pattern.
The finished project matters little compared to a 
New beginning.

My need is not to pile up knitted pieces, but
To knit with the deep and secret desire that
I too am being knitted,
With the prayer that if I diligently sit and knit
It will knit me, fashion me, adding colors and textures.

My longing is not to become a finished piece,
Rather I fervently hope that my, our, Knitter 
Will not give up on me, as I have often done, 
Leaving me half knitted, still on the needles 
In a basket gathering dust.

An aside:
I have never knitted anything that did not contain flaws, mistakes, imperfections.  I have yet to knit a perfect piece.  Sometimes the flaw is so glaring that to continue on without going back and repairing it  would be too disheartening, and so the tedious task of backtracking and reworking becomes the work.  Other times the mistake, in context of the entire piece, is minimal and not worth ripping out and starting over...I continue on, leaving the flaw in place, or patched.  

Likewise, the Knitter has on occasion taking me apart and started over, but usually She says learn from this mistake and carry on.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

An 80th birthday poem

Not long ago I was asked to write a poem for a woman's 80th birthday.  I like it.

What have I done?
Where have I been?
Who have I known?
Who did I become?
You likely don’t remember your beginning, and
If you do you can assume your memory is not accurate.
None of it.  Your memory of the events in your life
Leaves gaping holes and embellishes with manufactured experiences
That never took place.  Memory is the most fallible aspect of life.
Without trusting memory how can you possibly embrace these questions
As if they matter, which is questionable in and of itself.
Tuning into your innermost heartsong is far more trustworthy
Than scanning the pages of a scrapbook.
Today, who do you know yourself to be?
You know, not by listing your many accomplishments for
You are wise enough to accept that for every accomplishment
Is a stone unturned, someone neglected, a lie told, a grudge held.
You will only truly know who you are today by listening
To your inner song, its resonance, its harmony, its honesty.

On this, your 80th birthday, you will be celebrated, feted, honored and extolled,
But you, and only you, can hear the inner chords from Life’s Heart,
The resonant hum that whispers Lillian, Lillian, Lillian.
That song will remain with you until the end.
It will continue to uplift and reassure, console you and release you,
Draw others to you, frighten some away.
It is your song, your composition, your unique melody
That you have been orchestrating your entire life,
Your indestructible song, your signature symphony,
Now 80 years in the making.

Nothing, no one is more reliable, more dependable than
The unique, magnificent and now ancient song in your heart.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Born to Perform

I was born to perform
An audience completes me, yet
All these years I felt ashamed of that need.

In order to know myself,
In order to recognize you,
I must express and observe your response.
Without your feedback I live in a vacuum,
A cave where I lose myself and lose sight of you.

I marveled at people who could unabashedly admit
They felt most authentic “on stage.”  
I could not say that out loud.
I set it aside, put performing behind me,
Fifty years ago.

I moved to a small town
Where no one knows me and found
A small community theater.
What the hell?

Each night I show up for rehearsal where
I am becoming a clown.
One of the young children in the cast
Approached me and asked, “are you a clown?”
“Yes,” I replied, and she asked
“With gray hair?”

The oldest member of the cast by at least 30 years
I am showing up, 
Remembering how to be a clown,
Bowing to the cliche “it is never too late,”
I memorize my few lines,

Finding myself, and hopefully, rediscovering you.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Disengaging from this or that, right or wrong, smart or stupid,
Informed or ignorant, progressive or backward.
Losing interest.
I hear the stakes are high and yet remain unmoved,

Voting Democratic in today’s world is, for me, a no-brainer,
Yet the will to persuade another is lacking.
Passivity? Apathy? Laziness?
I see people passionately persuading,
Passionately defending
Passionately accusing
I cringe, and envy their passion.

What is more troubling to me is
Why do I not have one black friend?
Why won’t I offer our rental property in Section 8?
Why do I check out the drivel on Facebook multiple times a day?

I find myself more concerned with
Extending or withholding, engaging or ignoring, expressing or containing,
Seeking or hiding.

That’s what I feel like saying.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

World Events

Pondering why Anne Lamott can say what I'm thinking better than I can think it
As I sit here safely in the heart of 4 tranquil acres.
Willing myself to not succumb to despair or futility or cynicism.
We spiritual types eschew cynicism like the plague, even when a plague is plaguing Africa.
Drawn to and repelled by Facebook, Jon Stewart, Diane Rehm, The Huffington Post,
Resistant to daily practice or reading yet another spiritual picker upper
While exploring Robin Williams's eyes in all the photos of his precious life.

Here I sit in Paris, Tx half-heartedly registering folks to vote in the November elections
Thinking to myself this is not the playing field where real change can happen.

Remembering the refrain of the hippie-dippie Harmonic Convergence of yesteryear,
It's gonna get worse before it gets better.  

Overwhelmed by peering and staring at world events, out there,
I can only, reluctantly, turn within even while that voice whispers cop-out.

From within I type these words, eyes closed
Seeking that harmonious touchstone, landing one foot on home base,
Where baptism without water stands a chance of refreshing me
So that I can meet you eye to eye with gratitude and compassion.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hobby Lobby etc

I am disturbed by the recent SCOTUS "Hobby Lobby" decision, but I will not be boycotting Hobby Lobby.  Though I think HL's beliefs on contraception and abortion are very misguided and erroneous, I respect their right to hold those beliefs.  I know that every one of us acts based upon our beliefs.  That HL took their beliefs to court, awaited a decision, and got what they wanted does not upset me.  They, and I and you, have every right to do that very thing.

What profoundly disturbs me is the direction the current Supreme Court is taking us as a nation. What profoundly disturbs me is the growing popular opinion of what "Christianity" means, of what "Christians" believe.  I am not angry at Hobby Lobby; I am disheartened that so many Americans celebrate the "Hobby Lobby" worldview.  I am chagrined that so many of our elected public servants pander to this worldview.

Boycotting Hobby Lobby hurts their employees even more than their refusal to pay for morning after pills and IUD's.  If you need to boycott, and I do, boycott today's Republican party...vote Democratic this fall.  VOTE!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I long to reinvent my life,
Not so much start over, God forbid, but
Transition from this to that.
She is weary and ready to let go,
Not so much from fatigue, but
From a sense of completion.
Truth is, she no longer sees the point.
It’s a good thing, really.

The challenge is that
She who is emerging is
Hovering in a cloud, a phantom.
I’ve seen her do this before, but
She seems to have forgotten how it goes.
The caterpillar is dissolving, and the
Butterfly is not as yet fully formed.
She is squirming.