reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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when we all do better. [merely-a-thought monday]

we all do better when

blank.  it’s blank.  this book i carry with me.  it’s a journal, but i’ve never ever written in it.  created by sue bender, the plain and simple journal has photographs of amish quilts and the shortest snippets of writings, many gleaned from time that sue spent in an amish community.  i’m not sure why i haven’t written in it; perhaps it is a very-prolonged beaky rule – to save it.  i do know that its pages have both comforted me and made me think.  perhaps my own writing-on-these-pages would distract me or, once the pages are filled with scribble, it will detract from the printed snippets and fall out of i-carry-it-with-me grace.  either way, it’s blank.  and it’s profoundly wise.

“an amish woman told me, ‘making a batch of vegetable soup, it’s not right for the carrot to say i taste better than the peas, or the pea to say i taste better than the cabbage.  it takes all the vegetables to make a good soup.” (sue bender)

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“to reconcile our seeming opposites, to see them as both, not one or the other, is our constant challenge.” (sue bender)

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“we all do better when we all do better.” (paul wellstone)

for where is it that we can not glory in another’s success, mourn with another’s failure, weep with another’s grief, dance with another’s bliss?  we share the space.  in community.  not division.

we share the ride – we are all vegetables in the soup – we are not one or the other – and yes, we all do better when we all do better.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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the dividing line. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

half and half

“the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts.” (a. solzhenitsyn)

it isn’t without hesitation that i speak now of september 11, 2001.  eighteen years ago today.  both yesterday and an eternity ago.

there is a dividing line that is the place of before and after.  in many ways, this date, september 11, 2001, marks that line.  a time when, before which, we innocently and trustingly got on airplanes to fly to destinations we anticipated with great joy.  a time when, before which, it didn’t occur to us to be wary in crowded places, to know how to exit, to navigate fear, let alone terror.  a dividing line.

but the truth of it is, there has always been good and evil.  the division has always existed.  history demonstrates that evil – in all its iterations, big and small – rears up like a wild stallion, flailing at goodness, rejecting compromise.

and when i look around, at the world, at our country, at this little island microcosm, i see that our collective hearts have not learned.  it saddens me to know that as my children continue to grow, adults in 2019, this has not changed.

solzhenitsyn’s quote continues:  “And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained.” 

i pray that this ‘small bridgehead of good’ will cross the dividing line and, like a snowball rolling downhill across a field of white, will grow…eventually bigger than any iteration of evil.  it’s our only hope. 

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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holding steadfast. [k.s. friday]

holdingsteadfast songbox.jpg

it is against the odds that this tree clings to rock and doesn’t topple into the lake with a great splash and float away.  instead it stubbornly holds on, a steadfast intention.  the rock, the basso ostinato.

at a time when holding steadfast seems mightily important, i wonder about the questions we have been asked.  will you stay?  will you leave?  will you love it here?  in the midst of all the infighting, are you going to give up? will you hold on?

the answers may not be directly related to the actual intent of those questions.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  we will hold steadfast to our integrity.  we will hold steadfast to the reasons we came here in the first place.  to make a difference, to bring ideas and change, to apply that which we have learned, studied, experienced over at least 80 combined years of work, higher education and profession.  to be honest and transparent and collaborative.  to try and instill a sense of working together into a community divided by narratives too numerous to list.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  we will hold steadfast to our belief that people should be kind to each other, that people should not work around others nor should they undermine others, that people should instead lift each other up, not drive stakes into another.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  steadfastly.  to honoring art, the driving force behind this initiative.  to honoring creativity and the blossoming of beauty and wisdom, staunch tenets of artistry.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  steadfastly.  to believing all is possible.

but, in answer to the real intent of the question asked us….will we hold on?

we will not hold on if others cannot join us in what is real, what is truth, what is most important.  we will not hold on in the fire of pettiness or shameful self-serving underhandedness.  we will not hold on, holding still while others take turns throwing rocks at us, at the real goals of this place, if those are indeed about art.

the answer to the question is not up to us.  we can either cling to the rock, holding steadfast or we can topple, with a refreshing splash, into the lake and float away.

download HOLDING STEADFAST from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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HOLDING STEADFAST from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood

 


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constellation. [merely-a-thought monday]

constellation poem.jpg

at night, if the weather is clear, with the backdrop of waves lapping at the shore, we look up and see the milky way in the night sky.  it makes us feel tiny.  tiny in a vast world.

we string happy lights about our home, inside and out.  they are the simplest of holiday light strands, eensy white lights on green or white cords and we use them year-round.  one white light alone barely lights a space, but together, a constellation of tiny bulbs, the illumination is magical.  one alone.  all together.  it makes a big difference.

we are working in a place that is divided.  the division is deeply rooted and exacerbated by stubborn attitudes and time.  we must “string the stars together” to bring hope; we must “sing light in common song” to move forward.  community must prevail over a schism of proportion.  no place can truly be beautiful without stringing together.  we have our work cut out for us.

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fair isle books is one of the sweetest spots on this island.  a breath of fresh air with warm ambience and overtones of the joy of learning, this little shop is owned by deb, whose heart is gigantic.  outside her shop is this plaque, a snippet of a poem ‘constellation’ by wisconsin poet laureate bruce dethlefsen, a presenter at the washington island literary festival in 2013.

how fortuitous that this poet should capture in a mere 33 words the work that is to be done.  we are not alone, each of us on this tiny-planet-in-the-vastness.  though seemingly individually strong, we are indeed actually weak.  we must link arms, act in community, string together, work collaboratively.

division doesn’t create more for each on the sides of the chasm.  it creates less.

collectively, we can create boundlessly.  our constellation -together- creates hope.

we have our work cut out for us.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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cohesion. [merely-a-thought monday]

cohesion copy

cohesion definition

from essays in the art of living  (wilferd a. peterson, 1961) “no [one] stands alone.  through all the centuries of recorded time, [people] have set into motion influences that affect your life today…you are the heir of the ages.  [people] reaching for the stars have created for you a world of wonder and challenge…more enduring than skyscrapers, bridges, cathedrals and other material symbols of  achievement are the invisible monuments of wisdom, inspiration and example erected in the hearts and minds of [all persons]…a leader glorifies the team spirit.”

it is a mighty mountain to climb without support.  it is a mighty chasm to fall into without hands reaching out to form a solidarity, a community.  the struggle to retain absolute and autocratic control is the antithesis of the solution, for no one person knows all, no one person can see all, no one person can create all.  control will undermine, sabotage, poison the well-spring of possibility.  control is not that of wonder.  control is not enduring wisdom or inspiration.  control is most definitely not example.

“a leader glorifies the team spirit.”  “cohesion-the action of forming a united whole.”

moving into the future requires a choice.  division and discord?  unity and harmony?

separation or cohesion?

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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amazing grace. [k.s. friday]

amazinggraceonearthintsongbox copy

the woods along the trails by the des plaines river have been burned.  the fires, intentionally lit to restore native life to the forest floor, to burn out the invasive species that have harmed the vegetation.  already, post-burn, we can see green amid the blackened mulch.  already, there is newness of life.  the toxic has been deliberately remediated and goodness will prevail.  it will take some time, but it will eventually tip the balance and the woods will be better for it.

this is simple.  it is all around us.  the necessity for an intentional burn.  we wake up to a new day, a new sun, a new chance.  in this time of re-birth and restoration, we are amazingly gifted.  with grace.

i cannot help but think of the world despairingly coming together to lift up notre dame as it was on fire.  not at all intentional, not necessary, absolutely devastating to that beautiful and majestic cathedral, yet somehow it brings together a global community of people who recognize its importance, its value, its history, its soul.  and it will prevail.  in a divisive world, grace.

less is often more.  it is in that spirit i recorded this track of amazing grace

download ALWAYS WITH US VOLUME 2 on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

to view or purchase this stunning painting please click on this link or on the painting below

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AMAZING GRACE from ALWAYS WITH US VOL 2 ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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the twain. [merely a thought monday]

lifebelowzeroquotesueaikens

i shudder when i hear the words “…and never the twain shall meet…”(rudyard kipling)  in my head when i read this.  but sue aikens’ words (on life below zero, she is a strong alaska-proof woman living in the arctic) were not a viewpoint on the polarization of our country.  they were merely the way she was describing the ropes she sets outside her buildings so that in the middle of fierce snowstorms she will be able to find her way, despite not being able to see in the swirling snow.

in life – intellectual, emotional, political life – however, there is a middle ground.  but it has become difficult in our current climate to sort to the middle, to not stand firmly on one side or the other of the great divide, a place that grows larger by the day, with an ever-brewing moat of hatred and vitriol, terrifyingly divisive to families, relationships, communities. there is danger on the far sides, danger in stubbornly and feverishly clinging to the left or the right, without considering ramifications, without any compassion, with an unbending dedication to absolutism, with no room or moment for thoughtful consideration, with breakneck righteous reactivity.

in sue aikens’ world, it will save her life to unconditionally sort left or sort right.  in ours, it may destroy us.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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