The Road We Travel

The labyrinth has always been a metaphor for our journey through life. Whether it is used to trap what you feel is evil, use it to let go of what troubles you, or use it to guide you through your life, it is and will always be, the road we all take. 

The center can be whatever we choose to call it, I choose to call it home and that is where I am going. I entered my labyrinth when I was born and I will walk it until I pass from this world into the next, when I go home. The mystics tell us we do not belong here, that we remember only vaguely where we came from, we have forgotten we will one day re-member with all that is home.

Early humans saw the winding one-way path more clearly than we who have forgotten where we came from and where we are going. They understood more clearly than us that we are simply travelers in this place. Like us they did not understand why we are here only that we had to journey home to where we belong. They recognized that every bend in the path represented each challenge we face in this long journey home, whether it be a challenge we have no control over, such as an illness, or something we created through our own ignorance, greed, or selfishness. 

We travel this path whether we want to or not, how we travel, what we do, or do not do, on the road creates each, and every, bend.  Every path is unique to each of us and we will walk it even if we do not want to. Every bend, every decision we make, every challenge we face and overcome will be recorded in the history of the universe. That history makes up the very fabric of the universe, the energy of life itself.  How we respond to our challenges, whether of our own making or not, creates the universe of life that births us all.

Ruth Jewell, ©May 16, 2020

NEVER THE WRONG PATH
By, Jeff Foster
(Merri Creek Labyrinth (Sidney Labyrinth),

May 16, 2020)

You cannot walk the ‘wrong’ path.
You can only walk the path.

For a moment, be present.
Breathe.
Let the past recede into the evening.

Feel your feet held on the vastness of the Earth.
Hear sounds shimmering all around you.

You cannot know you are walking the wrong path.
You are simply walking the path you are walking,
walking the path you cannot not walk.

Your walking makes it the path.

The path of this moment.
The only path you can touch.
The path your senses are meeting.

Behold, your path reveals itself in front of you, always.
Only a thought calls it wrong or right.
With doubt as your trusted guide, walk with courage…

In every sacred moment.
In every Now of Now.
Through every breath.
Through every joy and sorrow.
This is your path.

How Do I …

How do I put into words
A grief so deep
It scalds my heart?

How does
This soul so lonely say
I miss you?

You are my love, and
You are drifting away
Bit by bit I am losing you.

Some days you are you, and
Some days a little more
Is gone.

I want to tell you
To stay, don’t go, but
You don’t understand.

I love you,
I always will,
And I miss you.

How do I put into words
A grief so deep
It scalds my heart?

Ruth Jewell, ©May 4, 2020

Parody on the 23 Psalm

Today is a Palm Sunday unlike those we’ve ever had before. However, sometime the Creator tells us to take a moment to remember that in the universe, and world we create together, things often go awry. Nature has her own way of being and we have ours and it is in the balance between the two that we find life. Yet in all of the chaos of life we are not alone. They/Them will not let us travel this road alone, the creator is always walking along beside us, just like the shepherd is always with his flock.

This poem was written by my Grandfather during the height of the depression, another time of crises and chaos.  May it bring you peace during this Holy Week.

In pastures green? Not always:
Sometimes thou who knoweth best,
In kindness leadeth me
In weary ways,
Where heavy shadows be.

And by still waters? No, not always so:
Oft times the heavy tempests
Round me blow
And o’er my soul
The waves and billows go.

But where the storm beats loudest,
And I cry aloud for help,
Thou standeth by,
And whispers to my soul
“Lo, it is I.”

So where He leads me I can safely go,
And in the blest here after
I shall know,
Why, in His wisdom,
He hath led me so

Rufus G. Miller, written 1936, ©Ruth Jewell, April 16, 2013
(My grandfather loved roses, and the rose picture is one I took at Buchart Gardens Vancouver Island BC, in 2016)

(Rufus Miller was my grandfather and a poet.  My mother found this written on the back of a 1936 bulletin from the Christian Temple, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Lorain, Ohio in about 1962, among the belongings of my grandmother, Edith Miller, following her death.)

I Thought I saw You

I thought I saw you
down there at the end of the lane.
Was it you I saw
holding a violet to you breast?
Was it you I saw
gazing into the distant hills
with such a far away look?
Were you waiting
for someone you love
to come and hold you?

I thought I saw you
down there at the end of the lane.
Was it you with tears
filling your eyes?
Did I see you reach
into emptiness hoping
someone would reach back?

I thought I saw you
down there at the end the lane
waiting for someone.
I saw you kneel in the grass
with violets all around and
I watched you pray.
As you stand and walk away
I prayed for you.

My spirit reaches out to you,
surrounding you, supporting you,
loving you, sending your heart strength.
It is all I have to offer
I cannot promise
all will be well.
I can only watch and guard.
I can only send courage and walk with you,
wait with you.
I cannot give you all you want.
All I can give, from my end of the lane,
is love and hope.

Ruth Jewel, ©March 16, 2020
Photo: The Guardian of the Woods

House of Worship

. . . Long ago, Long ago

Long ago this was a great house of worship
Men came from far and wide
To hear powerful leaders speak of God

. . . Today, Today

Today I am old and only my bones remain
The grass, the flowers, the trees worship here now
Fox, and mice, and birds all congregate

. . . Now, Now

Now sermons are the gentle whispers of wind and rain
Mice lead with tiny voiced prayers
Wrens lead a choir of sparrows and finches

. . . Prayer, Prayer’s

No more the loud prayers for men’s pride
Now there is a gentle offering of gratitude and
The Creator’s voice, the world’s hope, and the prayer for another day

Ruth Jewell, ©March 9, 2020
Photo: The Guardian of the Woods, March 3, 2020

The Jesus Prayer

Mark 10:46-52

46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside.

I love Bartimaeus and have gained insight from his persistence in his call to Jesus. Yet, I often wonder if most people who use the prayer understand its implications. The story itself has many layers. The blind Bartimaeus had a strength we often do not have.

First, the story takes place after Jesus has made his 3rd prediction of his coming death and has turned toward Jerusalem. As Jesus and the disciples leave Jericho Bartimaeus calls until Jesus acknowledges him from there the real meat of the story happens. Bart is calling at a critical time as Jesus is now focused on what will happen in Jerusalem. Yet, Jesus stops and answers Bart’s call. I am reminded of all the times I have called on Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit and wonder if I too have made my petition at an inopportune time. It is a grace that Jesus responds to Bart. This gives me hope.

Second, Jesus doesn’t just heal him rather, Jesus asks Bartimaeus what he wants from Him. Bart must articulate, say out loud, he wants to see. Bart must not only admit his need he must believe in the words Jesus will speak. It is in Bart’s belief in Jesus that he is made to see. He sees not just the world around him but the truth of what he sees. It has always been hard for me to speak my needs. I am always afraid I will be ridiculed or told that what I need is not important. I admit that my belief hasn’t always been as strong as Bart’s was that day in Jericho. Opening my heart and soul to my Creator has not been easy. But, I am a work in progress and I do believe the Holy Spirit is patient with me.

But there is one more piece that is often lost, Bart follows Jesus. Does he follow Him all the way to the end and the resurrection, we don’t know? But in the question and answer of the story, and the following the path that the story takes real meaning. We can ask for mercy, but what do we really want from Jesus. Bart followed Jesus on a difficult path, a road that led to Crucifixion, and yes, resurrection. But also, much pain and suffering. We don’t know if Bart stayed the course. I would like to think he did. But it gives me pause to think when I offer this prayer, what will I do when I am offered the opportunity to see.

Ruth Jewell, ©February 27, 2020

Photo: unknown, (this was sent to me as is, if you know the author please let me know)

The Massacre of the Infants

16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
wiling and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”
Matthew 2:16-18    

 I wonder at the gospel writer
 was the death of children
 so common place
 he only needed three verses
  
 Children, a gift of God
 dead and no one cared
  
 When will we learn
 when will we cherish
 God’s gift
 not yesterday
 not today
 
 Tomorrow?
  
 Children, a gift of God
 mistreated and no one cared
 
 Children torn from their parents
 placed in schools
 beaten for who they are
 lost culture, lost name
 lost selves
  
 Children, a gift of God
 abused, dead, and no one cares
 
 Children torn from their parents
 placed in cages
 left to die of illness, neglect
 used by guards for their sick means
 crying, beaten, 
 refused
 comfort, 
 dead on floors
  
 Children, a gift of God
 lost, hungry, alone
 and no one cares
  
 When will we learn
 when will we cherish
 God’s gift
 not yesterday
 not today
  
 Tomorrow?
  
 I wonder at the gospel writer
 was the death of children
 so common place
 he only needed three verses
  
 Ruth Jewell, ©December 28, 2019 

Image: 10th– Century Illuminated Manuscript, Kerald_(Meister_des_Codex_Egberti)_001