I Am Here

I am here . .
waiting for –
the Great Presence to
surround me,
hold me,
brush my cheek with
the breath of silence.

I am waiting . . .
here in silence
for the touch
of God on my shoulder,
for the warmth of
the Sacred
surrounding me.

Here I sit,
quietly,
letting the silence
surround me,
fill me, with
the silent song
of the Spirit.
Welcoming the
Holy into
my heart.

I am here.
I am waiting.
Here I sit.

Ruth Jewell, ©September 3, 2022

First Untethered Space WalkFebruary 3, 1984,

He floats free
suspended
above the Earth
balanced between the
Dark above
the blue below

He sits in the hand
of the universe
weightless as
a feather on
the breath of heaven

A billion voices
lie below
but here
his breathing is the
only earthbound sound

The universe
sweeps around him
with the sounds of atoms
stars
galaxies
in wavelengths he
is not tuned to.

Someday
we all will hear
the birth and death
of stars
of galaxies colliding
and maybe
just maybe
the voice born on
another planet

But today
only he floats,
suspended between
the light and
dark of the universe
the first of many
who follow

Courage took
the first step
hope floated out
into tomorrow
Astronaut Bruce McCandless
was the first
he wasn’t the last

Now the real
work begins

Ruth Jewell, ©June 19, 2022

Photo: NASA

A Morning Prayer

Forgiving as you, O Creator,
Have forgiven me.

Breath prayer:  Forgiven . . . Forgiving

The gift of grace
Freely given without merit,
O, Ground of my Being,
I am thankful.

Breath Prayer: Grace . . . Thankful

It is your love, My Rabbi,
That swells my heart
It is the compassion you teach
That my spirit carries
Into the streets.

Breath Prayer: Love . . . Compassion

In stillness I sit.
YOU are here.
I wrap myself in YOU, O Presence,
I sit in peace within your arms.

Breath Prayer: Stillness . . . Peace

Amen, and Amen

Ruth Jewell, ©February 15, 2022

Sun Rise

SUN RISE

I saw the sun rise this morning
The mist clings to the trees in the Dales.
Sheep move like ghosts in the mist,
Faces buried in the sweet grass.

I saw your gentle face enshrouded with sleep.
Slowly your eyes open to me.
You smile,
And, I saw the sun rise this morning.

©Ruth A Jewell, 10-9-00

I wrote this on Johns and my honeymoon in the British Isles.  We were staying at a B&B, in Cumbria, in a very old farmhouse were sheep grazed right under your window.  The house did not have central heating and it was very cold in our room (no heat in the bathroom either), with only one light bulb.  In the morning as we were getting up, I noticed there was a heavy fog, and outside the window sheep were grazing and moving in and out of sight.  You could hear their bells tinkling and listen to their gentle voices while cropping grass.  It was wonderful.

February 7, 2022

I was searching though old blog posts and re-read this one from July 2010.  When I did, John’s and my honeymoon popped into my head with total clarity. We had so much fun in England, Wales, and Scotland. But the sweetest memory was this one in Cumbria.  I still get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat when I read what I wrote that morning. 

As John’s dementia progresses, he has forgotten much of that trip and only remembers when I bring out the pictures.  At some point he will not remember even then and that makes me so sad. I am losing the one person I love more than anyone else and it is hard.  I am sometimes afraid of what will come, but memories like these remind me that love doesn’t die, that even at the end love is still there and love will hold me until I move on into the darkness.

July 28, 2010

It is in the small moments of the day that I find the greatest peace.  I don’t HAVE to go to a separate location to find God, yes, I do love to go, but it isn’t necessary.  Yesterday was one of those moments.

John and I hiked up to Barclay Lake near Baring Mt. and all day long I kept asking myself when I will feel God’s presence, She seemed to be absent from this walk.  Now mind you we are walking up a mountain trail with vistas everywhere; Dark green trees, babbling brook below, sunshine on the path, and ferns gently blowing, sound idyllic enough for ya’.   When we reached the lake and sat down to watch children enjoying the water and eat our picnic lunch, the sky was so blue, with not a cloud in sight and I kept saying “hey You, are You on this hike with us?”  It wasn’t until we reached home tired, sweaty, and dirty that something clicked.  There in front of me was John and Freddie being goofy as John got ready for his shower and suddenly, I realized I was looking in the wrong place and waiting for the wrong voice. 

Yes, the glories of the mountain and lake were wonderful metaphors of God’s presence but John’s presence throughout the walk was the real gift.  He waited for me as I stopped to look at small flowers and ferns.  He didn’t quibble when I simply stopped to take in the view, losing myself in the landscape.  John and Freddie made me laugh as they walked down the path in front of me and offered me a picture of memorable proportions.  

I often tell people that when I look into the face of others, I see God looking back and here I was seeing that expression right in front of me and I didn’t see it.  Wow, talk about not paying attention!  99.9% of the time God doesn’t make Herself known to me in grand gestures.  She speaks to me in the small everyday things and events in my life, (not that John is a small thing or event) the ones that go by so quickly that if I blink, I will miss them.  Opening my vision, hearing in my heart all those events require more than spiritual practice, or patience, it requires me to slow down and let Her voice and presence penetrate my awareness. 

Awareness is a spiritual practice that I frequently ignore because I am ‘just so busy I can’t take the time to be aware.’  What a crock!  Yesterday was so beautiful and there in front of me was God, ok so He is a little bowlegged and is wearing shorts and a dirty T-shirt but the image of God none the less, and I was so intent on hearing God in the wind or seeing God in a tree that I missed the loving embrace of the Divine.  I admit it, I’m an idiot!  God, I love you in all your images, trees, mountains, dogs, lakes, but most of all as John who is your presence here on this earth with me.  Thank You!

Ruth Jewell, ©February 7, 2022

Image: from Wallpapers, Sheep in a foggy field, free image.

We Are in This Together, Or Are We?

It is time to stop thinking of this country as the “United State.”  We are not united, the civil war never ended, and we are still north vs south. In addition, we have added west vs east, liberal vs conservative, plus numerous other divisions too many to name. There is not such thing as “My Fellow Americans,” because no one thinks of themselves as Americans anymore.  We are white, black, brown, yellow, Republican, Democrat, liberal, progressive, conservative, Christian, Evangelical, non-Christian, goodness there are so many divisions it would take up the entire post to list them all. Something needs to change before we are doomed to collapse.

We need to begin to consider the dissolution of this country into areas where the many individual groups clamoring for attention can live in peace. Such a plan would require the dividing up of the country into several parts and giving each area their own governing body to address the issues of the area and people.  It might mean a mass removal and resettlement program for each area to have the appropriate people who might, might mind you, live in harmony.

For example, the southern states such as North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama might be for far-Right conservatives.  Middle of the road conservatives might be resettled in Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.  Liberals might want the Northeastern States, or the Pacific northwest.  Of course, you would have to taking the division of west vs east there.  You just might end up with 2 liberal or progressive areas.  Of course, resettlement would cause some problems, but the government has plenty of experience in that area.  Given our experience with Native populations, and Asian Americans.

Of course, I am being facetious, on some level.  Not the part about being a “United States” or “dissolution of this country, just about the rest of it.  We are the Divided States of America.  I am not sure I have talked, or read about, anyone calling themselves American first in a very long time.  Everyone has a group, a section of the population that they belong to. All these groups have their own grievances, wants, needs, desires for their little group, and their little group is the most important all the rest are secondary. No one, except maybe a few occasionally, has considered what is best for America as a whole. Why is that? Can we please begin to see ourselves as Americans first and all the other designations as secondary?

Every person in this country is important regardless of their skin color, their gender, their ethnic makeup, economic status, culture, age, or physical ability. Each one adds to the whole of this country.  We need each, and every, person to step up and recognize the value of every other person.  The wealthy need to recognize they are dependent on the people they employ. The workers need to recognize the imaginative abilities of their employers. Shop keepers need people to buy their goods and they can’t sell them if the population has no money.

We are dependent on each other to progress scientifically, economically, and academically. Until we begin to accept that and start seeing ourselves as one people, as Americans this country is doomed to either dissolve, or become an autocracy with people like Donald Trump as our own “Hitler.”  Is that the goal for the people of this country? If Trump should win again, or someone like him this country will dissolve, and the Great American experiment will come to an end. 

We are in this together, every single person in the country. What happens depends on us, on whether we have the courage to be Americans, to draw together and explore and how our individual needs benefit the country, the people of this country, as whole.  Until we see each other as equals, see the individual, or group, as just as important as every other individual and group nothing will change.  Can we do It?  I don’t know and honestly, I have my doubts.

Ruth Jewell, ©January 30, 2022

Image from Bing Images

Things I Do on a Winter Day:

Read books

Pet Chihuahua’s

Look for books

Drink tea

Smell books

Give Chihuahua’s snacks

Talk about books

Eat snacks

Read books

Cuddle with Chihuahua’s

Go to sleep with book in hand

. . . And a Chihuahua by my side, in my lap and at my feet.

My Three Chihuahuas

Ruth Jewell, ©January 1, 2022

Images by Ruth Jewell

Winter Solstice

Welcome, welcome
the returning of the light

While winter’s grip still holds
we see the promise of spring

As I watch the cold snow from my window
I can almost see the Robin searching among the crocus

The Creator gave us the dark to rest
but I am eager for the light

Come, light a candle of hope
Come, light the fires of love

Come O light of new birth
Come O light of the promise

Come, O Creator with your blessing of light.
Come, see the blessed light

Ruth Jewell, ©December 21, 2021

Image, Ruth Jewell, Sunrise, Edmonds WA, summer 2013

The Space Within

Space the “final frontier”
   so, they say.
But what is space?
A star laden sky?
The space between
   atoms?
The 6 foot
   social distance?

We are mostly space.
We may look solid, but
   we are not.
We unsolid Beings are
   born of stars dust.
Star Dust longing
   for something more.

So, we search for . . .
   what?
We search for knowledge,
    for meaning, something to
    hang our star dust on.
We search for soul,
    and spirit.
We search, by any name,
   for Gd.

The ancients looked to
   the heavens.
The religious told us
   Gd lived there.
They were all,
   sort of,
      wrong.

You can travel an infinite
   distance into space, and
      still only find
         space.

Yet if you travel within
   each of our, or any, atom, we
      find a space we cannot go with technology,
         a space so small
            it appears empty.

Is it empty?

Or is that space within what
   we’ve been looking for
       since we crawled out of the sea?
Could that “empty” space,
   the still small, so very small space be
      the place we find Gd.

That very small space,
   larger than a mountain,
      longer than the longest river,
         wider than the sea,
            could
                that be where we find Gd?

Might we discover within
   each of us, a piece of Gd
      has always been?

Might we discover a thread
   finer than silk,
      stronger than steel,
         connects us to each other
      through space
   called Gd?

That still, small, space
   we cannot go,
      just might,
         be the answer
            we have been searching for.

Maybe? 

Go within and
   look.

Ruth Jewell, ©November 25, 2021

September 11, 2001 — September 11, 2021

Twenty years, has it been so long?

I remember that morning
all too well.

It was early here in our Pacific Northwest town
We were just rising
Getting ready for the day —
Turning on the news
Then …

My Husband called out
“Come out here, you have to see this”
As I reached the living room
And turned to the television
The second airplane
flew into the second tower
My … heart … stopped
For just a minute

Was this real
What was happening
I found I was crying
We watched the towers collapse

We heard a low flying aircraft
And ran outside to see
A fighter jet from Whidbey Air base passed over
I didn’t know whether to feel safe,
Or frighted.

Twenty years, long years
seems like yesterday
Twenty years, a lifetime for some

Twenty years of fighting in foreign countries
To many lives lost  
US lives, Iraqi, Afghani lives lost
Twenty years of death
Of young men and woman
Lives gone,
Ruined,
Changed forever

Was it worth it?

Why must we always
Respond with weapons,
Hate, anger, torture,
imprisonment, and lies
… by those who said they would lead us?

Was it worth it?

Why did Guantanamo Bay have to happen?
Why did Abu Ghraib have to happen
Why the loss of limb and mind have to happen?

Was it worth it?

Can we not see that war only brings
More hate, more war, more torture,
More lives lost?

Can we not see that our
Young men and Young Women, of all nations
are worth more than cannon fodder?

Can we not see that war only teaches war?

Was it worth it?

Could we have responded differently?

Could we not have honored the dead of 9/11
by finding a different path?

Could we not have found a path that healed
rather than kept the wounds
open and festering?

In hindsight can we not see there
Was a different way forward?

Twenty Years since September 11, 2001
Yet, we haven’t learned anything from that day.

Was it all worth it?

Ruth Jewell, ©September 11, 2021

Where 2 or More Are Gathered

Communion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist

At the table with friends and family
Holding hands, bumping shoulders
Kisses, breathing each other’s breath

Communion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist

Feeling the presence of
All who came before me
All who are here now
All who will come after me

Communion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist

Knowing Jesus, Carpenter, Rabbi, Rebel
is here in the room with me
Encouraging me to be His body
As I eat the bread, drink the wine

Communion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist

Doesn’t matter where I share my bread or wine
Church altar, Home, city street
Meadow, or a battle field

Communion, Lord’s, Supper, Eucharist

Doesn’t matter what time of day or year
Before dawn, Noon, After Dark
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

Communion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist

Doesn’t matter what bread is served
Crackers, Oreos, gluten free bread
Or Hot Dog Buns

Communion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist

Doesn’t matter what is poured out
Wine, grape juice, Kool-Aid
Water, or Mountain Dew

Communion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist

Doesn’t matter who is at your Table
Christian, Jew, Muslim
Poor, rich, healthy, disabled
(Remember the Table doesn’t belong to you)

Communion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist

All that matters is whether
2 or more are gathered, together
In love, compassion, and mercy

Communion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist

Ruth Jewell, © September 5, 2021

John and I have missed in person communion, it is, after all, why we go to church.  But going to church right now simply isn’t an option. So, I decided we would hold our own Eucharist, Lord’s Supper, Communion here where we are.  I have everything I need, pitcher, chalice, paten, bread, grape juice and put all those together with John, me, and Jesus and our table is set.

Communion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist

I will admit we added three more. We added Charlie, Esmerelda, and Louis our Chihuahuas. Yes, I know some would say “what sacrilege” to give communion bread to my dogs. But I would tell them that no purer souls exist than the souls of my dogs. For they embody love, compassion, mercy, and yes justice as well. I know that Jesus would welcome them because they are Gods Children just as I am. And, since the table isn’t mine but Jesus’ then I know they are welcome. They are welcome just as any human who came to the table Jesus sets would be welcome. Just as anyone who came to my home and shared what was laid out would be welcome.

My Congregation

So, in need of Communion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist?  Then come on over, no matter who you are, no matter what your faith, no matter your economic status, no matter your medical status, or creature type you are all welcome at the table.

Ruth Jewell, © September 5, 2021