Posts Tagged With: family

Locked In and Locked Out

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Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

(This poem is dedicated to those imprisoned in concentration camps and their families in Northwest China.)

 

What else can I do

But continue to speak up and out

For the ones locked in

And the ones locked out

They are separated from family

From community and their beloved land

From health and safety

Their hearts are tormented

And their bodies are broken

They are in anguish and pain

Can you hear them and lend your voice?

 

What else can I do

But pray and cry out

For the ones locked in

And the ones locked out

For the ones I know and do not know

To ask the One whom death could not hold

Who razor wire and prison gates

Cannot keep out

To walk among these people

Locked in and locked out

To call them by name

To comfort

To give courage

To give hope

To heal

To restore

To lift up

To set free

To rise like the sun

And bring a new day

 

© 2019 Julie Clark

Categories: borderlands, Faith, God, grief and death, Hope, lament, Poetry, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Welcome Aziel

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You came early

in a flurry

of activity

Cars breaking down and swapping around

Your dad out playing pool with Uncle, late

But you couldn’t wait!

You were ready

even if it felt like no one else was

but really –

it was the perfect time

You were 8 pounds after all

Your Mama had a great birth

Your brother was having a birthday too

ready to share it with you

Welcome to this family!

We are so happy you are here

with thick dark hair and baby sounds

With your wrinkled forehead and serious look

There is a lot of life going on

and we are glad you are here to share it.

 

© 2015 Julie Clark

Categories: Life, Love, Marriage and Family, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Cabin in the Woods

A Cabin In the Woods

Beloved Ones are like

a cabin in the woods

 

A safe place to stop

along the journey home

 

Warm fire of family

of being oneself

 

No need to cloak

my vulnerability

 

Or hide my face

in a mask

 

Feast and refresh

take the nourishment

 

Rest for the next leg of the road

be it stoney or steep

 

Another cabin will appear

a light in the window

 

Will beckon me

when needed most

 

© 2014 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, Hospitality, Life, Love, Paths, Poetry, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Family Gatherings

Our 1,750 square foot home did not feel very big when we gathered as a small clan for an extended time in mid wet winter.  There were a few days when 9 of us were together.  I am grateful for dear friends who let us use their “cabin”, which was bigger than our house, for those few days. Mix in a small dog with a toddler to liven things up and you can imagine the chaos at times. On the whole the 1,750 square feet were big enough, everyone had a bed or at least a mattress, enough bathrooms to share and room to cook in the kitchen to keep all of the above fed.

Compared to some parts of the world where we have traversed, our square footage is enormous. Many families in Hong Kong live in very small flats where gathering as a clan takes creativity. When we lived there, hospitality was often shared in a favorite restaurant. We were grateful for the rare opportunities to visit friends in their homes.  The refugees (boat people), who were our students, had one tier of a double sized bunk bed to call home. Yet, they still practiced hospitality and invited us to sit on low plastic stools to share a meal. Our Central Asian friends don’t worry about tables and chairs, they sit on colorful mats on the floor with a tablecloth spread out on the carpet for piles of food to share.  That way more people can squeeze into a room. Later they spread those same mats and more for sleeping.

I have been thinking this morning about how good it was to gather as a growing family.  It’s good to move our stuff and make room for each other. Our bonds were strengthened with each other. Our grandson will not remember the details of this visit in his long-term memory, but I believe he bonded with each of us in a special way that will continue through his life.  I’m smiling as I think of him singing “Teo, Teo, Teo”, (Uncle in Spanish) as he headed upstairs looking for his very fun Uncle. Or the report from his Mama that he woke up saying “Nana” a morning or two while he was here.

Another way it was good, was to see where love still needs to grow.  We don’t always know unless we are in a situation where it is challenged.  Say, tired and in need of a shower and both of the showers are in use.  Or, not quite enough of that fresh french pressed coffee to go around.  Or, whose on the dish duty, not me again? Or just trying to figure out what to do together. Things like that can help us see where our attitudes need adjusting.  If we live isolated lives we never really know where we need to grow. When the children were young and we all lived together,  there were daily lessons to be learned by all of us. Now I need my family to keep showing up for visits to keep that process going in my life. It’s not just knowing where I need to grow that is important, but also turning those needs into prayers and inviting the help of Heaven to bring about change on earth, in me.

I am tired and need to put my house back together again.  I need to get back into my regular schedule of writing and meeting with people, but above all I am so grateful for the sacrifices my kids and their spouses made to come home, travel from far away for the holidays.

Categories: Hospitality, Life, Love, Marriage and Family, Parenting, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Zigging and Zagging

Bill and I are walkers. We have a half-dozen walking routes of varied lengths that we take depending on time and energy. One of our favorites is down by the beach but we need at least an hour for that one with a short drive to get there. The route we took today is about 40 minutes. It has a view of the sound, some hills, curves and crossing one mildly busy street. On one part we go up and down a couple of hills. There are no sidewalks on these side streets. I am always zigging and zagging across the street so I can keep the on coming cars, if there are any, in sight and get out the way if need be.  I don’t want to be on the wrong side of a hill where the driver doesn’t see me and I don’t see the driver.  I learned that when I was 16 and in Drivers Ed in High School.  In fact I learned a lot of things about driving and road safety in that class that lasted half a year and with an instructor who drilled every thing into our heads.  Now, Bill didn’t have Drivers Ed in High School.  He went to a small prep school and had to take private Drivers Training.  Let’s just say our Drivers Ed experiences were not on the same level.   I drive Bill crazy sometimes with my zigging and zagging across the streets, along with my back seat driving at times. I am also the family Safety Marshall. Not only do I zig and zag, I check my mirrors when I get in the car, and always check my blind spots when changing lanes. I also check for fire hazards in the house, move books and other flammable matter away from heaters, make sure the stove is off, double-check to make sure doors are locked at night, never leave the house without wallet or phone. You get the picture.

 

When we first were married we lived in my hometown.  Bill was able to find a job with the taxicab company driving a Dial-A-Ride bus for senior citizens.  He loved that job and those folks loved him too.  He got to hear lots of stories from their long lives.  One lady was booked on the Titanic with her Mother and the rest of her siblings.  The Father of this family was in America waiting for them to come.  He had a strong impression to cancel their booking and rebook them for the next ship rather than the Titanic.  Well we all know what happened and can only marvel at the message he received which saved his family from trauma and tragedy.  Well, on one of Bill’s days driving he had a reporter riding with him for part of the day.  Bill was in the paper the next day!  My favorite line of the story was quoting one of the passengers. She said, “He zigged and he zagged all over town but we had a wonderful time.” So I am not the only zigger/zagger in this family!

 

It’s great when we are in alignment and zig and zag at the same times. Those are smooth times and we are grateful to have some of those days. But those off times of zigging and zagging are the spice of life and what makes our life together most interesting! How boring it would be if we were exactly the same.  We need each other to keep growing in grace and love.

Categories: Life, Love, Marriage and Family | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

To Boston With Love

Yesterday, in-between watching CNN, I sat down and wrote a blog on building Parent/Child Connections: http://faithfullparenting.wordpress.com/ This was one of my responses to the unfolding drama in Boston.  I know it is just one piece, the parenting piece, in the complex array of broken pieces in this tragic story.

 

Why did this happen?  There is the emigrant story, the broken piece where the emigrant does not assimilate to the American culture and life. To understand this more Mary Pipher does an excellent job in her book: The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community

 

Then there is the broken piece of radical religion.  How does loving God mean doing something like this?  It does not. God is love and this is not love.

 

Perhaps another cultural broken piece is family loyalty trumping everything. An older brother influences a younger brother to join him in an atrocious act.  We could find and name so many broken pieces.

 

It is important to work through these questions on the road to recovery. Along with this, in order to heal we need to choose our response.  There is a lot of hard work ahead to do in order to heal.  Will we become haters?  If we choose that route we align ourselves with the same spirit that motivated the terrorists and they win. We become like them. Anger is a normal response to grief, but we can’t stay angry and let it poison our souls.  We must move beyond it to the hard work of grieving, sadness, and the seemingly impossible process of forgiving. Hate, revenge, and bitterness are not the answers we need for healing.  They never are.  They will only destroy us and turn our hearts to stone.

 

Dear Boston choose the harder path of healing and recovery and you will find yourself surrounded by heaven ready to help.  Our prayers are with you.

Categories: Boston, Faith, God, Life, Love, Paths, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Breeze

The breeze rustling through the plum trees

Against the clear morning blue

Catches my breath

Suddenly I am in the mountains

Somewhere

It could be the Crestline of my youth

Or Dutch Flat where we spent many a summer day

With our little ones and extended family

Or the Tien Shan

Which we lived in the shadow of for so many years

It is the stillness

Interrupted by the playful breeze

It is the fresh morning air

And sun awakened scents

That bring this mountain peace to me

It connects with a longing for rest

The need to just be

To slow down

To enjoy unfolding beauty

Not to rush off

To the next thing on my list

© 2011 Julie Clark

Categories: Poetry, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Family

Did someone tell you it was easy?

They lied.

This is where we roll up our sleeves

And engage in the hard work of love.

It does not just happen.

We need to learn it.

Children need to learn it.

It isn’t always pretty.

Have you noticed?

Not a one of us is perfect.

Don’t give up.

Fathers, Mothers engage your children.

Teach them the art of:

Conversation

Boundaries

Respect.

Patience and Kindness are our friends.

They guide us along the path.

Children need to be taught by the ones who love them the most.

Not once,

Not twice,

But all of their growing up years.

Challenging?

Indeed.

This is not a path for the faint of heart.

But don’t worry.

Even the faintest of hearts can be revived.

I know.

I have one.

© 2010 Julie Clark

Categories: Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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