Notes from Jan

Heart to Heart Talk

February 8, 2016

Plans cancelled. Schools closed.  Blizzard swirling outside the perch, whitewashing the horizon, mocking the groundhog who announced an early loosening of winter’s grip. Not so fast, furry one.

Today’s a hunker down day to read,  write and maybe work on taxes. On second thought, why create a mental and paper blizzard.

This morning  I sat down for a substantial breakfast with Bible, Boston Globe, glasses, vitamins and one Advil to feed my shoulder.  Good to sit. Ready to pray, eat and enjoy some routine.

No fork.

Who said,”Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”?

Probably the same one who remembered, “It’s All Small Stuff.”

Like forks and please and thank you and I’m sorry and my neighbor, Beth, who cleaned off my car and shoveled around so I’d be safe.  Actually, that was big stuff  after last Friday’s storm.

I love Church.  Real Church like yesterday at Christ Church.  This month our focus is on World Relief, a wonderful organization that dispenses relief efforts through local churches at home and around the world.  Ryan McDonnell, Gordon alum and member of our parish, told of the work that’s being done with newly arrived refugees in Jacksonville, Florida.   My heart hurt when Ryan said, “many refugees arriving in Northern Florida have experienced strong anti-refugee sentiment from the community.”

Sad not shocked. We only need pay slight attention to  political rhetoric,  the news or listen to ourselves sometimes to know that feelings run strong against people who are different or who we fear threaten our way of life.

Welcomes matter.

So, yesterday I got to be a kid again at Church.  During coffee hour, Ryan set up a table with all kinds of supplies so we could make Valentines for the refugees.  Something to send along with other gifts to help  them know that some frozen New Englanders carry a warm place in their heart for them. They’re not forgotten.

Fun creating something with scissors, glue, markers, lace doilies and construction paper. Trying to think up meaningful words to send to folks who suffer and feel unwelcome? Not so fun.

Years ago Jud and I began the practice of reading Christmas cards in January and praying for each of the names who’d taken time to send a card, photo, long letter or personal note.  All mattered. I still love doing that.  It stretches Christmas and strengthens connections between friends and family.

Today I prayed for the Valentines, that God’s love and welcome would accompany our best attempts at creativity with paper and words.

Thank you, Beth, Ryan, World Relief and The Church.

“Above all else, guard your heart,  for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23  The heart, a bountiful resource from which small  or large good can flow.  Small, like forks… or large, like forks in the road marked Choices.

Sometimes, against all rational thought and prejudice, the heart leaps to love and welcome.

Hearts like yours and mine.

Stranger things have happened.

Like God’s.







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  • Reply susan February 8, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    What a great thing to do. I’m going to tell our priest about it. We may not make Valentines, but Easter is on the way. Speaking of which, I’ll see you then at our granddaughters’ baptisms! Yea. did I ever tell you that my middle name is Janice? He He.
    I am thinking of all of you in that nasty blizzard. Hope you stay safe and keep the power (in every way). xoxo

  • Reply Wendy Lane February 10, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    We like to go through our Christmas cards sometime in the new year too. I love the idea of praying through them! Ours are still in the basket – must have been waiting for this advice. 🙂

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