Our Collective Journal

Dec. 2014/ Feb. 2015 

  

"I have often felt a motion of love to leave some hints

in writing of my experience of the goodness of God." 

--John Woolman  

 

Chapter 21

When has the Light come to 

you in a time of darkness?

First Sunrise of 2015, Portland.  Makoto Furuya.  

http://www.studio-lumio.com/portfolio/


 

Storms of Life

A couple of weeks ago, I was flying to the east coast and started thinking about the terrible storms that have engulfed the northeastern part of our country.  From there, I began to think about the storms that are an inevitable part of life.   

 

I recently lost my grandson, and the pain goes deep into my soul.  I know that different people respond to grief in different ways.   Some people seem to be over their grief... [more]

 
 

The Mountain

Even now, over 20 years later, it is hard to tell the story of how my sister Nana and I became estranged.  It all began one Christmas when I realized that Nana had been sending Christmas gifts to my sister Clare’s little daughters, Jane & Julia, but giving nothing to my son Nick.  This made no sense to me! I had always given presents to all my nieces and nephews when they were small, even... [more]

 
 

Young Friend's Story

God has helped me when. . . I am scared or frightened, when I am worried about someone or something.  When I pray to God, He hears me and He helps me.  I know I’m not alone.

—Molly F, age 7

 
 

 
 

Wrapped in the Light

As one who’s wrestled with depression since early adolescence, there has been a lot of darkness in my life.  It’s like a dark pit I sometimes fall into, a beast stalking me in the deep jungle, a heavy cloud that obscures the sun and everything that might be illuminated by it.

 

I’ve learned what helps: quiet walks, slow breathing, long baths, gentle music.  People, often.  The tender, trusted ones.  The ones whose judgment I don’t fear.

 

Is... [more]

 
 

The Obstacle is the Way

This past year I experienced something of a break down.  Things that I know should have brought me joy, like family and work left me empty. I thought I just need to “suck it up” “push through”.  I began to get afraid and negotiate. Okay, I can have this breakdown, but only while the kids are at school or only when it’s private and convenient. I will schedule it, experience it, and move on. Yeah,... [more]

 
 

Reading the Signs

Tryon Creek State Park is a place I go to look for God when I feel disconnected.  The big trees, the slant of sun through branches, the startling shades of green on the moss and lichen against dark bark take me back to the relationship that guides me.  

 

What sent me to the park that afternoon was a worry that had been growing for weeks.  My daughter was deep in the troubled waters of middle school,... [more]

 
 

Ice Cream at the Mall

The mall was crowded today—not surprising, considering the chill of the cold January spritz outside.  Holding my mom’s hand, we navigate through shoppers clutching large bags while balancing coffee cups and cell phones.  Like ants, they march with a sense of purpose. 

 

We do not walk the mall for stuff.  We walk for movement, as a meditation and a chance to notice everything.  Noticing is important now.  All that is left is the moment.  As we... [more]

 
 

The Light Shining in Darkness

Despite many positive elements, my family of origin also included elements I later understood to be traumatic, including alcoholism, violence, drugs, incarceration, institutionalization, and, for me personally, shame, neglect, and drugs.  In choosing a college 2000 miles from home, I was pursuing a vision of who I wanted to become, but I was also seeking to escape a world I didn’t want to be a part of, and to start over again.  But such a... [more]

 
 

Light Along the Way

Several years ago I took my children on a church camp-out.  Being new to camping and the Northwest, I decided that—despite the approach of both dusk and a rainstorm—the first thing I should do, after emptying everything from the Suburban into a heap on the ground, was blow up my air mattress.  That’s when I discovered that I had lost the cap.  I piled everyone into the truck and headed for the nearest hardware store,... [more]

 
 

A Crack in the Foundation

A giant crack had opened up in the core of my foundation and everything was being sucked in…at least that’s how it felt to me. Up to that point, my life had been easy. I was married to a professor and we lived what might be called a charmed life, both of us young, athletic, educated, and vibrant. Our home just north of San Diego overlooked a small, tranquil lake and we had an active... [more]

 
 

Wild Plum Blossoms

In January 2009, a few years short of retirement, my husband lost his job.  The former boss wrongly accused him of misconduct, and thus, he was ineligible for unemployment.  We were depleting savings we’d put away for retirement. On a windy, frigid day, our furnace broke. For the first time ever, we relied on Food Stamps. I hadn’t worked full-time for several years due to a degenerative disease. I’d lost my part-time work, too.  Things... [more]

 
 

When Light Meets Darkness

Photo by Sarah Blanchard taken in Pinedale, Wyoming, 2015.

 
 

Drawing

 
 

Hold On Let Go

 
 

Photo credit: Sarah Blanchard, taken in Pinedale WY.


 

Chapter 21 Stories 

 

Storms of Life

 

The Mountain

 

Young Friend's Story

 

Wrapped in the Light

 

The Obstacle is the Way

 

Reading the Signs

 

Ice Cream at the Mall

 

The Light Shining in Darkness

 

Light Along the Way

 

A Crack in the Foundation

 

Wild Plum Blossoms

 

When Light Meets Darkness

 

Drawing

 

Hold On Let Go