REFLECTION ANEW

More than meets the eye

Look beyond
what you see,
look at you,
look for me.
What seek you
in the days ahead?
Health and hope,
not fear nor dread?
It starts within
each gentle soul
as we look
to be made whole.
It is not so simple
is it now,
as we look for
the why, the how?
Do one kindness
on this day,
a smile, a laugh
to pave the way.
See beyond
what is there,
look for joy,
everywhere.

I watched a commercial featuring an elderly man doing a seemingly foolish series of exercises using – I think it’s called – a kettlebell. His actions are a curiosity to his neighbors and downright alarming to some, but he persists, always using as inspiration a photo the audience is not privileged to see, until the end. You can view the ad here. The commercial inspired me to write this poem and served as a reminder to identify what brings joy and focus on that. Happy New Year!


Sharon Vander MeerThank you for being a reader/subscriber. It is my goal to present informative, interesting, and creative content on this site. Your likes, shares, and comments are welcomed. I am an indie author of six books and two chapbooks of poetry. Check the BOOKS tab to find out more. Follow me at www.vandermeerbooks.com, https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks, Amazon Author Central. I frequently write about my town, Las Vegas, N.M.Occasionally I use interesting and helpful content from other sources. I also invite guest posts. If you have a topic you would like to share, send to fsvandermeer@gmail.com.

PEACE

Peace

Peace on Earth
seems far away
as we muddle about
from day-to-day.

Sing the song
of Peace on Earth,
see each person’s
gifts and worth.

Pass not judgment,
hear instead the sighs
of Peace on Earth
from he – or she – who cries.

May I make time to think
of a kindness I can birth
to bring about
Peace on Earth.


2020 has left us reeling and maybe a bit rattled about what lies ahead. I wrote this poem with hope in my heart.

–Sharon


FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH

Writer Sharon Vander MeerCovid-the-curse of 2020 may soon be one for the history books as more meds are created to slow the pandemic down and maybe even bring it to a halt. In the meantime, the battle rages about whether to mask or not, gather or not, be vaccinated or not.

It appears abundantly clear that masks do work, social distancing does work, and vaccines can get us back to what passes for normal. Are there risks? Perhaps. One thing we know is that the pandemic has killed more than 1.5 million people worldwide and left many survivors with lingering symptoms. The good news is that 97 percent of affected patients did survive.

For me, 2020 can be distilled down to things more personal. Our best friends died in a horrific accident in February; my son went through multiple health problems and continues to struggle; my husband fell at the end of June and broke his right femur, had surgery, and ended up in rehab for three months. He’s home now but needs in-home care. Mentally he’s 100 percent; physically he fights the good fight… with help. I developed chronic back pain, which is proving to be harder to get rid of than I’d hoped.

This is not the great whine, the 2020 Vander Meer pity party; this is the reality we’re living with. You have your reality: sickness, loss of a loved one – perhaps because of Covid, but likely from some other illness or circumstance; your plans have been harpooned because of the pandemic, moments lost forever, never to be regained. The political absurdities of 2020 I will leave for someone else to talk about, as well as racial inequality, which is a systemic barbed wire woven into the fabric of – not just our nation – but the world.

So, where is hope? It is found in every dollar given to feed the hungry. It is every first responder, nurse, doctor, and health care worker logging hours of overtime (for which they will never get adequately compensated). It is in all the agencies finding help for the homeless and in every person who puts on a mask to protect those he or she may encounter. It is the scientists working on a cure. It’s in the phone call you make to check on a loved one… Hope is everywhere and bolsters us now when we need it most.

The holidays are upon us, and by all accounts, there will be less giving in the gifting sense, but there will be lots of sharing. We have found within ourselves – it would seem – wellsprings of generosity and kindness. Perhaps by entering 2021 with a spirit of hope, we will find in others that something special that sets them apart, and help them celebrate that.

There is a public announcement, I think it originates in Albuquerque, but I’m not sure, that asks everyone to look within themselves and find their unique gift or skill and find ways to put it to work. Giving isn’t just about dollars donated; it’s also about how you engage with your community, following safety protocols, of course. We all have something to give. We can all point to people in our town who have made a difference, whether it’s collecting food for distribution or making masks back when there was a huge shortage. Giving and helping and reaching out are not activities limited to times of trial. My particular local heroes are the visionaries who are working on the natural waterway that runs through the heart of Las Vegas and creating a beautiful Gallinas River Park along the route. While the heavy-duty work is paid for by grants, a lot of volunteers are showing up to help when and where they can.

We have lots of reasons to be hopeful about the future. This year has been a test, but it has not broken our spirits. If anything, it has given us reasons to look around and appreciate living in our small town. It’s not perfect, but nothing is.

There will be less spending this year, so the talking heads say, but may I suggest that whatever you spend this year, try your very best to spend it at a local business. We need them to be strong and able to weather this financial storm. They are braver than any superhero and made of stouter stuff than you can imagine. Let them know you appreciate them. Spend your shopping dollars in Las Vegas in small businesses. Find out more about hometown merchants at the Las Vegas First Business Alliance website lasvegasfirst.org or by emailing lasvegasfirst@gmail.com.

Have a blessed and beautiful Christmas and look to the New Year with hope in your heart.

–Sharon


Thank you for being a reader/subscriber. It is my goal to present informative, interesting, and creative content on this site. Your likes, shares, and comments are welcomed. I am an indie author of six books and two chapbooks of poetry. Check the BOOKS tab to find out more. Follow me at www.vandermeerbooks.com, https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks, Amazon Author Central. I frequently write about my town, Las Vegas, N.M.Occasionally I use interesting and helpful content from other sources. I also invite guest posts. If you have a topic you would like to share, send to fsvandermeer@gmail.com.


KINDNESS

Be Kind

 

In an unsettled and unsettling time,
when life’s surprises can turn on a dime,
we look to each other for reasons to smile,
to leave fretting and worry behind for a while.

Tomorrow has never been certain;
it hides behind Future’s opaque curtain.
Be thankful you have this day,
to be kind to others along life’s way.

Give when you can in this murky rift,
to help those who are suddenly adrift,
cast into the darkness of what’s next,
their hearts and minds equally vexed.

Kindness does not resolve fears;
it can wipe away worried tears,
giving for a moment, a little relief,
restoring, hope, trust and belief.

In an unsettled and unsettling time,
when life’s surprises can turn on a dime,
we look to each other for reasons to smile,
to leave fretting and worry behind for a while.


Follow Sharon at:
www.vandermeerbooks.com
https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks
Amazon Author Central


 

Poetry in Notion

Apple Blossoms

SPACED OUT

Give me space!
I have no place
in life’s maddening race,
where I exist, by God’s grace,
yet hunger to see a familiar face
as distancing makes its case,
to be masked with haste!
To ward away the virus’ pace,
advancing, advancing! Lives laid waste…


FOLLOW THE LIGHT

One candle, one light
sputtering and stuttering.
Winds of change cannot,
will not smother its glow.
The light of truth
grows brighter
moment-by-moment,
overshadowing the darkness of lies.


 

A NEW WORLD

How will what I do in this moment
give hope and help to someone else,
so they know the hellish world of today
will not always be this way?

For something more, my heart yearns.

Make this New World, when it begins,
one full of kindness and comfort,
love, one for another, rippling, flowing
as toward the future we are going.

We ask for ‘normal’ to return.

For something more my heart yearns,
a New World where words of care
are backed up by action taken,
the status quo shaken, shaken.


Follow Sharon at:
www.vandermeerbooks.com
https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks
Amazon Author Central


 

Tree of Peace

Our minister played this during worship today. I thought it was so beautiful I wanted to share it. The song was adapted from a Quaker poem, “Oh Brother Man.” The rendition  below was adapted by Gwyneth Walker. Read more about Walker here.

O Brother Man

by John Greenleaf Whittier

O Brother man! fold to thy heart thy brother;
Where pity dwells, the peace of God is there;
To worship rightly is to love each other,
Each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer.

Follow with reverent steps the great example
Of Him whose holy work was ” doing good ” ;
So shall the wide earth seem our Father’s temple,
Each loving life a psalm of gratitude.

Then shall all shackles fall; the stormy clangor
Of wild war music o’er the earth shall cease;
Love shall tread out the baleful fire of anger,
And in its ashes plant the tree of peace!

 

 

Gifts that keep on giving

and (he) said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens.”

LanieLike little children. What does that mean? Well, children are truthful because they have yet to learn how to lie. They are loving because they have yet to learn how to hate. They are trusting because they have yet to learn suspicion. They are kind because they have yet to learn how to be cruel. We can take a positive lesson from the negative things we have learned along life’s way. In this season of celebration, I choose to let go of all that holds me back, or has the potential to mire me in fear and frustration. I choose to be more truthful, loving, trusting and kind, gifts easily passed along, and they don’t cost a thing.
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And yet…

It's Christmas

Our lives are brightened and emboldened by the birth of Christ
not because of who we are, but because of who he is.
He was born in a stable, hardly a place to inspire wonder.
And yet… we decorate with gold and silver, red and green. Why?
Is it to signify the light that came into the world?
I like to think so.

Christmas carols seem inappropriate in a hurting world,
and yet… the increased kindness in this season speaks
of an underlying music we can’t identify in any other way
than the Spirit alive and at work in the world,
a tune that gives hope.

We look at the Christ child full of
innocence and tranquility, just a baby, and yet…
he heralds the promise of peace on earth,
new born in the hearts of
peace-makers around the world.

We see the simple shepherds
– the first to hear the news –
and think, so what?
And yet… the message is clear: to God,
each of us is special, no matter who we are.

We hear choirs, powerful and joyful voices
telling a story that touches
any and all who listen, annoucing
Emmanuel, God with us!
Born a child who would become a Savior.

We see the wealthy magi
as they bow and give him gifts,
wisely seeing more than meets the eye.
This child touched their hearts,
as he does all who seek the Light.

_________
Image: clipart.com

 

RIPPLE EFFECT

nice blue droplet splashing in a clean water

Oh, I am sorry, forgive me,
I said,
I didn’t mean to be–

thoughtless, unkind, rude.

So, forgive me, for those
things I said or did.
I didn’t mean anything.
Just joking.
Just kidding.

I hurt your feelings?
Don’t be so sensitive!
Couldn’t you tell I was being–
funny?

And then someone called me “bossy”
in the most teasing sort of tone.
I knew he meant
pushy, aggressive, ambitious.
Someone else commented
–oh so kindly–
on my weight,
wondering what I was doing
to get into shape.
There have been other asides
I won’t quote,
words intended to be droll, I must note,
not cutting or demeaning
or­­­–
hurtful.
Two lessons from life’s journey:

One,
if it tears down rather than builds up,
don’t say it–

Two,
forgive careless words
spoken by others.

Be a pebble of kindness in the pond of life,
creating ripples of forgiveness.