Instructions, A Poem By Sheri Hostetler

There’s something very beautiful to me in this photo filled with Lambs Ear blossoms. They stand so fully themselves in my back garden, treating the eye to loads of pink and purple, and treating the fingers to leaves like, well, soft lamb ears.

There’s something beautiful in this poem that I’ve been referencing lately. It’s by Sheri Hostetler, an American poet and pastor in the Mennonite tradition. Something about standing so fully and so simply.


by Sheri Hostetler

Give up the world; give up self; finally, give up God.
Find god in rhododendrons and rocks,
passers-by, your cat.
Pare your beliefs, your absolutes.
Make it simple; make it clean.
No carry-on luggage allowed.
Examine all you have
with a loving and critical eye, then
throw away some more.
Repeat. Repeat.
Keep this and only this:
what your heart beats loudly for
what feels heavy and full in your gut.
There will only be one or two
things you will keep,
and they will fit lightly
in your pocket.

A Little Grief, A Little Joy

One of the things I’m learning these days from my garden is how a carrot in the ground from last year’s garden can grow to flower in this year’s garden. I like the experiment of it. The flowers will grow to umbels. The umbels will dry. From there I can harvest seeds, lots of them, to plant to get new carrots. In the photo above, I also love the splash of color in the Lambs Ear flowers. And the radish tops growing much lower on the ground. There is much that just happens together in my little garden.

Another thing I’m learning these days is about the relationship of grief and joy. It’s no small thing to welcome relationship with grief, not bypassing it. So as to welcome its plentiful harvest or sorrows and beauty.

For inspiration.

Days That Have Brought Us Here

Grief, grief, grief.
Of fulfillment. Of loss.
Of lament. Of isolation.
Of speed. Of the narrowed.
Of world crazy.
Of days that have brought us here.

Joy, joy, joy.
Of simplicity. Of essence.
Of beauty. Of connection with others.
Of slowed reality. Of the expanded.
Of world wakening.
Of days that have brought us here.

I’m learning.
Grief is to be moved.
Joy too.
So that there is flow.
Of being.
In these days that have brought us here.

A Wabi Sabi Life

If you haven’t found Katharine Weinmann’s blog yet, I’m sure enjoying it. I know Katharine from years of work with The Circle Way. We were on the board together for years, often finding insight, wonder, and sometimes grief together. She also lives in my home town of Edmonton, Alberta — though I didn’t know here when I lived there. 

As Katharine says on her blog description, “…a commitment to the craft, chronicles through word, photo, thoughtful poem and quote, the beauty in my imperfect, sometimes broken, mostly well-lived life.
This, a wabi sabi life.”

I like each one of those words. Word. Beauty. Photo. Sometimes broken. There is an honesty that I know and appreciate in Katharine. I know that she can dwell in the range of things, or perhaps the moment of things held against backdrop of the range.

Here’s a bit from her post today, which blessed me with that feeling of, “I needed that.”

And I ask that my life be my prayer.

“It is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.”

Mary Oliver, Redwing, 2008

“And I pray….my life is a prayer more conscientiously now.” I first spoke these words in an email to a dear friend a few weeks back. It just came, in the moment, fingers pecking at the keyboard. I paused. True, and what does this mean? How does one live one’s life as prayer? 

In a first draft of this post, I had a list of things that I’m doing. But when I “winnow to essence,” the simplest, truest response is notice, name and thank people being and bringing their best to the world. Be kindness. Be.

In these days of that I and many experience as topsy turvy, emotional roller-coaster, remembering and forgetting courage, claiming and losing hope, being with and missing friends, holy moly…., I’m so glad for another human sorting it with such presence. Thx Katharine.