Grief Comes

Grief comes
one step at a time
one moment
one breath

I watch you
slip away from me
each word
each look

My sorrow grows
every day
little
by
little

I don’t want you to go
I want you
to stay
to laugh
to sing
to dance with me

Yet I know you,
you have no choice
your world is shrinking
the door is closing
the window is being shuttered

So my grief comes
one step at a time
with each closed door
each shuttered window
my grief comes

I have only memories
falling stars upon the deck
laughter at silly dog antics
cuddles on the couch
memories I hold
in the golden box
of my heart

Love won’t overcome
my grief
love will hold it
and cradle it
giving me love back

Ruth Jewell, ©June 3, 2021

My Ministry

I have been taking break from reading and writing lately and doing more work in the garden. It has been a needed break. But, I am participating in a retreat on May 8th and the question was asked what does ministry look like to us and to provide a picture of our image. Well this is how I see my ministry:

I realize this may not be what many would see as ministry but it is how I see it, for me. At my age this is what I can do.

May each of you find your own path.

Ruth.

A Lord’s Prayer for Earth Day

Abiding Spirit, surrounding us in love,
Honored be your name.

Your Kingdom grows in all Creation.
Sacred is the work of the
Greening and guarding of the earth.

Your breath moves about and through us
As we walk your ways.

Fill us with the bread of your word,
Forgive the errors of our ways,
Just as we forgive the errors
Of those around us.

Guard the greening path we walk,
And keep those who would do us harm far from our travels.

We praise the Kingdom of your Universe,
Filled with the power of your love in all our
Yesterdays, todays and tomorrow’s,
Now and forever more.

Amen

By Ruth Jewell, ©April 20, 2021

So, the story goes . . .

It all began because I wanted a cake for my birthday. With the pandemic, and social isolation, I knew we would not have visitors and I rarely ever celebrated my birthday anyway, so I did not care if anyone other than John and I were here to enjoy my day. But, for some reason, this year I really wanted a cake.  I found a recipe for a Lemon Meringue Angel Food cake and decided that would taste lovely.  Angel Food Cakes are low in fat because they only use egg whites and no butter so this would be perfect me, can you say high cholesterol.  They are easy to make, as well. The hardest part about an angel food cake is separating the 12 egg whites from the 12 egg yolks.  So, I whipped up, literally, the cake and when done took it out of the oven.

Now one thing you should know is you have to invert an angel food cake as soon as you take it out of the oven to let it cool or it will collapse.  Well, my perfect cake came out, I went to invert and . . . wait for it . . . dropped the pan. My angel food cake was now a “fallen angel” food cake.  I was in tears.  I so wanted this cake.  Instead of being light, fluffy, and about 8 inches tall, it was dense, soft, and 4 inches tall.  It tasted ok but had the consistency of one of the Easter peeps!  ACK.  My husband John tasted this demon cake and decided it was wonderful and has been snacking on it ever since.  Maybe I have found a new treat for him. 

Now I had no cake, but I did have 12 egg yolks.  To paraphrase an old saying “when your angels fall, make a pound cake.” I dug out a recipe for a 12-Egg Yolk Lemon Pound Cake and while this would not be a fat free cake the only cholesterol would come from the yolks because this cake did not use butter either so not too bad health wise for me.

However, the universe’s jokes were not yet done with me.  I began to beat the yolks with my stand mixer, and it went well for about a minute then . . . wait for it . . . the mixer began to slow down and finally stopped.  I turned it off, unplugged, waited a minute, felt the motor (it was not hot), then plugged it back in, started it up, and it barely turned on. Now I have a dead mixer.  Ah, but wait, I do have a hand mixer and grabbed it and finished my cake. 

After I put the cake in the oven, I looked at my lovely Kitchen Aid stand mixer, which my mother gave me some 22 years ago, and wanted to cry. She has been my baking buddy for a long time and now she was dying. Together we made bread, cakes, cookies, and rolls and I am going to miss her. I will look forward to a new Kitchen Aid Mixer, but I will miss this old girl. 

Well, the second cake of the day came out perfect and I had my birthday cake. At the end of the day I wondered if, somehow, I was not supposed to make a cake? Sometimes I just do not listen to the universe when it says stop. Most of the time when I do that it does not turn out well, today it did and I ended up with a nice cake, John discovered an interesting snack, and I was not too frazzled. All-in-all not a bad day, or birthday.

Ruth Jewell, ©March 11, 2021

Image: Ruth’s Birthday Cake

We Need Justice

Well, by now everyone knows 43 Republican Senators denied their oath of office, their duty to the country and failed to convict Donald Trump of Insurrection and High Crimes and Miss-demeaners. Every senator knows he was guilty. There is no doubt that they voted the way they did because they are afraid of not being elected by the very people who attacked the capital on January 6, 2021. Those 43 men and women are cowards and, some, possibly traitors to this country. Their actions show their Fascists beliefs. The are no different than those who supported Hitler in the 1920’s-1930’s and have revealed themselves for who they are. If you do not believe as they do then you are un-patriotic and un‑American.

Let me make this truly clear. When Donald Trump’s mob screamed the 2020 election was stolen from the ‘people’ of America, and those 43 senators voted to acquit, all were making an extremely specific point. They were not talking about you and me. They were saying everyone, you and me, who voted for President Biden, “you are not an American, you are not patriotic.”  The only Americans Trump and his mob recognize as Americans are those who voted for Donald Trump. Let me restate that, if you are a Biden supporter you are not a true American.

Elections always have winners and looser. One side, i.e., the majority wins, and the other side, i.e., the minority, is the looser, which is the nature of elections. The minority will of course be disappointed, which is also part of the nature of elections. In 99.99% of the time the minority accepts their defeat with grace and waits for the next time. What happens in that 0.01%? January 6th, 2021 happens.

We are not Myanmar, we are not Afghanistan, we are not other countries where coups occur on a regular basis. We are the United States of America. In this country we accept our losses and work toward the next election. We may not like it, but we know that our turn will come again. Yes, elections may not always seem fair, there are always winners and losers and the losers will always be unhappy, at least for a time.

Life is not fair, people loose elections, people win elections. But, winning or losing does not make you less of a citizen of America.  Donald Trump is calling me un-American because I voted for President Bidden and yes, I take great offense at that. Donald Trump’s followers are calling me un-American because I do not like their candidate and that makes me very afraid to live in my own home. So, do I want this man, and his family, prevented from ever holding an office?  Yes, yes, I do for my safety and the safety of my, MY, country. I want Donald Trump, his family, and his mob to be held accountable for attempting to prevent the peaceful transfer of power and the overthrow of my government.  I do not think that is unreasonable.

I want justice for my Senator who hid in terror in her office that day. I want justice for Officer Stickney and the officers so demoralized they committed suicide. I want justice for the officer who lost an eye and the other injured officers.  I want justice for Speaker Pelosi and Vice President Pence who fled in terror as the mob hunted them to kill them and I want justice for me. Yes. I want justice. I do not think that is unreasonable.

Ruth Jewell, © February 16, 2021

A Winter Walk

snow falling
soft, light, slow
the lightest of breezes
brushes the flakes
against my cheeks

I am walking
to the woods
my steps
leave deep prints
in an unmarked plain

the woods are ahead
white, muted
soft, welcoming

silence, not a bird
the woods are silent
not a sound
except,

yes I hear children
screams of joy
sliding down the
sledding hill
what joy, what joy

I watch as small clumps
of snow fall from
small branches
thumping in the
quiet wood

A chickadee suddenly
sings, Chick-chick-a-dee
in the silence it sounds
like a bell

a fellow walker passes
in silence
we nod and keep walking
unwilling to disturb the silence
of the snowy woods

ah the quiet of a winter wood

Ruth Jewell, ©February 15, 2021
Photographs: Yost Park, Edmonds WA, February 13, 2021, by Ruth Jewell

Alone vs Lonely

Do you know the difference
between alone and lonely?

I love being alone
walking among trees
wading in the water on the seashore
listening to the silence of the night
smelling the roses in my garden
I am not lonely then, and
I can be alone

I am lonely when
no one asks
how I am doing
no one asks
is there anything I can do
no one calls
just to talk about nothing
no one listens
to what I have to say
I am very lonely then

When the only time someone calls is
when they
need something
when they
have a problem I must listen to
when their
issues become the focus of every encounter
I am lonely

How do I tell people
I am afraid
how do I tell people
I can’t cope
how do I tell people
I need them to keep
the loneliness away

I know about dark times
I have had dark times
I have lived through dark times
I am not sure I will live
through this dark time

Ruth Jewell, ©January 27, 2021

Our Song

You cannot bind us again
We have a power you
cannot comprehend

Our bodies will
never again belong
to someone else
our songs
our words
our are ours alone

We have a power you
cannot comprehend

Our voices will not be silent
our deeds will not go unnoticed
we will no longer hide
behind a wall
not of our own making

We have a power you
cannot comprehend

We set ourselves free
to do what
you cannot
will not
do
We know
the pain of injustice
we know
the pain of humiliation
we know
the pain of hunger
of homelessness
of sorrow
not of our making

But we have a power you
cannot comprehend

We come to right
your injustice
your cruelty
Not for power
Not for greed
But because it’s
the right thing to do

We have a power
you cannot comprehend

And you are afraid
you should be afraid
for we are here
Now
and

You cannot bind us again
Because we have a power
you cannot comprehend

Ruth Jewell, ©January 23, 2021

Image: A Collage of Poets, Actors, activists, politicians, Leaders all

Angry, Frightened, and Overwhelmed

I was watching C-Span on January 6th when the mob, incited by Donald Trump, broke into the Capital Building. I watched as Speaker Pelosi was hustled from the chamber. I watched as congressional members, Democrat and Republican, huddled down as Capitol Police guarded, barricaded the doors, and tried to get them to safety.  I heard the gunshot that killed one of the rioters.  I was a witness to something I never thought I would see.

Since then, a lot has happened, the House impeached the 45th president for inciting insurrection and now with new information about the intent of the crowd may be changed to sedition.  Mike Pence was a target and barely escaped with his life; the traitors screamed “Hang Pence.” If it had not been for one brave Capitol Police offers, Officer Goodman, he might not be here today. The crowd wanted to capture and kill or hold hostage congressional members, especially Secretary Pelosi. We have learned that actual House members might have been complicit in the insurrection, even as 10 republican Congress members voted for impeachment. A Capitol Policeman lost his life and another committed suicide after the riot.  Donald Trump still has not conceded the election which is continuing to fuel his followers. In Interviews DC and Capitol Police say that they were beaten, sprayed with bear repellant, and verbally abused.  The rioters had guns, bombs, napalm, and Molotov cocktails; we are fortunate they did not use them. They were domestic terrorists so do not dare call them protestors!

This did not happen in one of the states, or in another country, IT HAPPENED HERE, in our capitol, fueled by the hate and lies of a demented president and his sycophant cronies, which included his son Donald Jr., Daughter Ivanka, and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

John and I have been glued to the television listening to events unfold. We have watched more television news in the last week or so than we have in the two years.  Even though I have been saying, since 2016, that Donald Trump wanted to overthrow the government, I still cannot believe he tried to.

I am overwhelmed, angry, and frightened. Intelligence reports tell us that those who were in Washington D.C. have returned home and plan to attack all 50 state capitals by inauguration day on January 20, 2021, and that does not include the amount of COVID-19 virus they are bringing home. 

As I continue to watch the events unfold and prepare to celebrate the inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris, I am appalled at anyone, regardless of their political affiliations, who condones what happened. I am angry, no I am really pissed off, with anyone who supports or makes excuses for Donald Trump or the terrorists who stormed the capitol on January 6th. Anyone who does is complicit in the attempted overthrowing of our government and should be treated as such.

I am grateful some republicans are finally waking up and seeing the road Donald Trump has led them down.  I do not know if they understand their role in what has happened, or if the only reason they changed their position was to save their jobs. Their twelfth hour confession will not change, however, the fact they helped create this disaster, and they will be held accountable at some point for their role.  But at least they have come forward now.

I believe in the grace and forgiveness of the Great Spirit, yet those gifts are dependent on the receivers understanding they are responsible for what ever actions they have committed, and they will be call to account. Donald Trump, his family, the Republican Party have much to account for. They have lied to the American People, they have stolen money from the American People, and treated anyone that did not agree with them as enemies of the state. They have dismantled the advancements of the last 50 years for the sole purpose of lining their pockets and giving them power. They have tried with all their might to deny women and people of color the rights they deem theirs only. They have used their positions of power to disempower people of color, women, homeless, and the disabled. They have told those who are ill or poor that their illness and poverty is their fault and therefore unworthy of federal assistance. They have denied that their beloved resource hungry industries are destroying our environment and are bringing us all to the brink of an environmental disaster. Their hypocrisy is without bounds.

Donald Trump and the republican party has used white supremacists, white Christian Nationalist, and Fascists groups as their private army and that army will not give up their belief in their supposed white male privilege or the belief that Donald Trump cared about them. Such people will continue over the next days, months and years to attempt to overthrow our Democracy. They will use violence and thuggish behavior to intimidate any, and all, who oppose them. These groups are armed but they also are technically savvy and will use technology to disrupt our way of life in a way we have not seen before.  Already faith organizations are being warned of possible attacks because of the support they give to the hungry, the homeless, and the disadvantaged. Any group standing for justice will be under attack.

It boggles my mind that these sad groups have not realized Donald Trump’s or those who align with him, have such contempt for them. After all, during the rally before their march to the capitol he said, “I will go with you to the capitol.” He did not go, Donald Jr. did not go, neither did Giuliani, at that moment they should have realized he would let them hang by themselves. As far as he was concerned, everything his army did at the Capitol was their doing and had nothing to do with Donald Trump. He was blameless, ah, but he “loved them.”

Now the time has finally come for the reckoning of his army more than 100 have already been arrested and more is expected, including, hopefully, the Trump family.  His minions are now telling Donald Trump invited them to the rally and to the attack the Capitol, they did it for a man who only thinks of himself and they are too stupid, to deluded, or to mesmerized to realize it.

Forgiveness does not mean I forget, it does not mean there are no consequences to the actions Donald Trump, his followers, or his sycophants committed. It does means I and all who have been wronged can move on with our lives without out hate, without the desire for revenge.  Yes, I can forgive what has been done to each, and every one of us. The lies, the attacks on our integrity and intelligence, the botched handling of the pandemic, the destruction of our worldwide credibility, mishandling of environmental issues, and so much more. If every one of those responsible are held accountable and are made to pay the consequences I can forgive. 

But I will not forget. Neither should you.  You must remember, you must tell your children, they must tell their children what worshiping and idolizing people like Donald Trump, worshiping power and money did to this country. We must remember that all people no matter their gender, their culture, the color of their skin, their belief system, or their socioeconomic status are equal in the eyes of this country and in what ever Divine Force we believe in.

Our county was the first democratic experiment, let it now be the first country to honor every person regardless of who they are.  Let us begin anew and honor the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence, with some new wording. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.”  Let us be the first country where women and men work together to create a country were each can live their lives to the fullest. Let us be the first country were regardless of your abilities, gender, faith belief, culture, skin color, or disabilities, each person can live their lives to the fullest.

Let us include in that declaration that all Creation, every creature, every plant, has also been created with “certain unalienable rights.” Let us include their rights to live their lives as our Creator intended.  Let us include in our declaration that all the creatures of this country non-humans and humans have the right to clean air to breath and clean water to drink and live in.

Let us begin something new. We can do this. If we want to survive then we must do this.

Ruth Jewell, ©January 16, 2021

Image: Associated Press, January 6, 2021