Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘writers’ groups’

What’s in Gray?


So much is being written and spoken about the Boston bombings and the brothers – some say they are sick and disturbed; others say kind and compassionate. Some say cruel, out-of-their-minds, while others attest to their normalcy, their friendliness. Their uncle called them “losers” but went on to define them as simply “lost” young men – who never really learned to “fit in”  after they immigrated to the USA. He saw something objectionable years ago… and distanced himself and his family from them. Whatever adjectives we use to describe them, we know this for sure: they committed those heinous crimes. So much hate is emitted from them – toward them – so much evil.

Our Writers’ Group met last Friday. We meet every first and third Friday each month. We begin our time together with a “Free Write” – fifteen minutes of writing – on a random topic, a subject pulled out of a hat. Then we share with one another what we have written.

Last Friday the random topic was a strange one: “What’s in Gray?”  I thought about it a long time. Then, this is what I wrote:

“What’s in Gray?”

Gray is black and white –
But gray is neither.
Gray is right or wrong.
Can it be either?

Gray is “Not Been Tested,”
– like stretchin’ out the law.
Gray is on the tip
Of a red tail hawk’s claw.

Gray is often in
The color of the hair
On an older person’s head –
Wise enough to leave it there.

Gray is in the tolerance
Of seeing the multiple views
On NBC, FOX, and CNN,
When watching ugly news.

Some only see the black;
Others screen in simply white.
But life is seldom pure,
So in the gray may be some light.

Lighten up the darkness
With the white of joy and peace.
Entertain some gray, friends.
In it, you’ll find release.

– Jan Beekman
– April 19, 2013

I’ve given a lot of thought to the “captivity of extremes.” That’s where the word “release” comes from. For me, all terrorists are victims of EXTREME. They are captured by extreme thinking. They have allowed themselves to be brainwashed or they have become mentally ill. They cannot let the white of joy or peace into their lives. Life is bleak and black for them. Bombings, killings, suicides, wars of all nature are the result of people whose thinking has become so skewed to the extreme that they have failed to see humanity, to feel love in its pure form, to allow any movement away from the corner they’ve painted for themselves. Gray is not a part of their mental capacity and logic is lost. There is no point in trying to REASON why they act as they do. Reason is gone – buried in the extreme – lost is the black bleakness of their terror. For these Captives of Extreme, death and destruction is the only option. They have become incapable of letting the light – the enlightenment – find a way into their miserable world. Can this be changed? Is there hope for the hopeless? Only God knows.

What a bleak week this has been!

Stimulating Touch


I belong to the Madison Valley Writers’ Group. We meet every first and third Friday at our local bank’s “Fireside Room” and share our creative efforts with one another. The hour and a half together begins with a writing prompt. It’s a topic we draw from a hat. Any member can anonymously add topics to the hat anytime. The topics are varied – some serious, some silly. Most lend themselves to whatever genre the writer wishes to engage.

For the first fifteen minutes or so, as members gather, we write using a new prompt each meeting. Then we share with one another what we wrote (with the option to “pass” if we wish). My last post titled, “Touch,” was one of the creations from last week’s prompt, “Things That Stimulate Your Sense of Touch.” Another of our members wrote about the itchy feeling of a wool hat – and how much better it feels if it is fur-lined. One member took the topic a step farther and wrote about the effects of touch – i.e. what happens when you touch someone else’s wallet (a fat lip), or what happens if you touch a rattle snake’s tongue (venom). My first poem was short and quick and left me with time to contemplate another kind of touch – not someone touching my cheek or my lips, my heartstrings or my spirit – but the sensation of the soft skin of a baby touching me. Here’s what I wrote:

A Baby’s Touch

There’s nothing in the world
That compares with a baby’s touch –
The soft and cuddly snuggle
On your shoulder, chin and such –
The little hand in yours
As it plucks your heartstrings firmly –
There’s nothing in the world
Like it, stimulating maternal yearning.

The sense of touch is vital
For a baby to thrive and grow.
Babies soon would wither
If love’s touch they never know.
So, as much as I need them,
I know they need me just as much.
There’s nothing in the world
That compares with a baby’s touch.

Think about the prompt that stimulated that poem. Give thought to what kinds of touch are important or stimulating to you. When is the last time you touched another person tenderly? When is the last time someone tenderly touched you? What touches your heartstrings?

I have a friend who had a stroke a couple of years ago. One of the residual effects of her stroke is an “Invisible bubble” around her that defines her “space.” She doesn’t allow others to invade that territory. She doesn’t shake hands – let alone greet her friends with a warm hug the way she used to. She sends off very clear vibes that say, “Stand clear. Don’t come too near.” Do you have an invisible bubble around your personal space? Know anyone like that? How does it feel? Do you think a baby’s touch could permeate that bubble? There’s something so vulnerable, soft, defenseless, and harmless about an infant’s touch.

If only every human touch could be as soft and harmless! Let’s work on that together. There’s nothing in the world like the touch of someone who genuinely loves and trusts you. Let’s foster that kind of world. Touch my world – and I’ll touch yours…

Love one another!

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