To Russia With Love

So, word is, Jehovah’s Witnesses may have broken Canada Post Priority mail to The Russian Federation. 

We sent ours yesterday & we hope they get there in time. My house alone sent 24 not including the ones the little kids made and tucked inside others. We really hope Jehovah blesses our prayers and letters for religious freedom in Russia. Regardless the outcome, it speaks volumes about our love & concern for our spiritual family earthwide & provided a strong witness on behalf of Jehovah’s name. 

What a great campaign to have been able to be a part of. 

Wondering…

Since hearing about the letter writing campaign I’ve been praying and wondering what it is I want to say to President Putin and the others…it’s no small thing, writing to a foreign government or really, any government to request a change of heart and express your feelings on the matter of freedom of worship. I’ve also wondered, will they have ever gotten so many letters on anything ever? 

To mobilize a letter writing campaign with over 8 million writers—they’re going to be flooded. Not just letters, but hand drawn pictures from little ones who will express from their hearts what they love about being a Witness. 

We don’t involve ourselves in politics, you won’t find us out opposing or protesting anyone, we pay taxes, obey laws; it’s so very non-extreme seeming to me. It actually takes inner strength to not get involved in the affairs of this world. So the accusation that we are an extremist group would be laughable, except, it isn’t when this is the accusation being used to strip away your right to peacefully gather and read the Bible & sing songs & teach others. 

I will be taking time to sit with the little kids and explain what is happening there, and see if they want to write anything. My oldest kids already have planned to write next week too. 

I hope it speaks loudly, kindly, calmly to our love for each other & to the fact that, these 170,000 Witnesses in Russia, they are not alone. They have both Jehovah & another 8 million plus of us, standing by their side. 

Video | Russian Authorities Move to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses | Our Organization

It’s such a heartbreaking thing to know that things have continued to decline for our brothers & sisters in Russia.
The other night at the meeting, the final song choked me up as I thought, ‘what would I miss most about losing the privilege of being able to meet together with my spiritual family?’
The spiritual food, yes. The talks, the association, yes. But, singing with my congregation, oddly, may have topped the list of what my heart would miss.
When you sing at the hall, at assemblies, it’s unlike anything you’ll experience elsewhere. It doesn’t require an audition to be in a choir. You just, sing. You hear your brothers & sisters sing, and even if at once, you were nervous to sing, the collective of people help you to just open your mouth and sing with them. It’s a small small thing, and yet, it is a way we all, collectively in that moment are singing to Jehovah. It is the only worship where we are so united as one in such an obvious way.
I think of those brothers & sisters in Russia and I know, their hearts will hurt from simply not being allowed to gather and sing praises to Jehovah. It’s so simple. So sweet. And such a pure heart-involved form of worship.
May Jehovah bless all our letters and prayers of hope, so that the hearts of the Russian officials can be changed and our brothers who were suppressed for too many years already do not need to go into secret and they are allowed to freely worship our God Jehovah.

https://tv.jw.org/#en/video/VODOurOrganization/pub-jwb_201703_14_VIDEO

Having Artist Friends is Important…

If you’ve never had an artist for a friend I highly recommend you find one, especially if you are artsy. 

Celeste has been a friend for over twenty years, tho we’ve rarely spent time together since our late teens we have a kindred spirit connection. We don’t even know each other that well, because we didn’t grow up together, we stumbled upon each other. My most memorable time with Celeste was when we went camping in Jasper, quite ill equipped, and nearly froze to death that August weekend. August in the mountains at night is no joke. 

We went cliff jumping & hiking the longest trail I’ve ever hiked. The boats on Maligne Lake looked like ants. The mountain air was so crisp up at the top of the mountain we hiked I truly thought we may freeze to death, being far more summer dressed than mountain dressed. The sun was not sufficient to fight off the ice up there. 

Beyond that camping trip, we had a few fun times & I knew she was artsy. Her mom was a local artist & a total character. Her brother was warm & quirky like her, and frankly I could have adopted them all as my own. 

This kinship just happens, and rarely at that. It’s not a friendship based on history, childhood or otherwise, it’s a friendship that feels more comradely. Artists all have a deep similarity. They are striving to pull the insides of themselves out; why— only God knows. The drive of artistry is fairly normal I think, I believe we are made that way. But people who were born creative have been told negatives more than those driven by more classically ‘successful’ pursuits. Creative people have a vulnerability & fortitude, both so strong, you cannot tell if they are weak or strong more. They are equally weak & strong. 

We were born this way. Sounds cliche but it’s entirely true. My first desire in life was to be an artist, it just was. I don’t feel this desire was properly fostered & nurtured. I was repeatedly told it was not a worthwhile endevour. What a terrible thing to tell a child who is born creative. 

Rather than brainstorm how to channel your creativity into a worthwhile pursuit, it was viewed as a futile waste of time. To this day I have guilt over spending time on creative things. My logical self says one thing, my heart another. 

Celeste is an example of someone who slowly & surely all her life, has built a creative haven for herself. She doesn’t really sell enough to make a living at it, but she is passionate about what she does and she continues working at her craft. She’s had a gallery showing & has told me how it was what she thought she wanted only to feel it is not worth all the hassle of it. Artists must self promote mercilessly which, many of us just have the hardest time doing. We would rather just do the art and have people understand us through our art, which ever media we’ve chosen. 

All pictures below are of paintings by Celeste Rode. The painting of Spitfire was a gift & is one of my most cherished possessions. I’m so thankful for having an old friend & artist in my life. 

The Blue-Fag in The Bog—By Edna St. Vincent Millay

God had called us, and we came;
Our loved Earth to ashes left;

Heaven was a neighbor’s house,

Open to us, bereft.
Gay the lights of Heaven showed,

And ’twas God who walked ahead;

Yet I wept along the road,

Wanting my own house instead.
Wept unseen, unheeded cried,

“All you things my eyes have kissed,

Fare you well! We meet no more,

Lovely, lovely tattered mist!
Weary wings that rise and fall

All day long above the fire!”—

Red with heat was every wall,

Rough with heat was every wire—
“Fare you well, you little winds

That the flying embers chase!

Fare you well, you shuddering day,

With your hands before your face!
And, ah, blackened by strange blight,

Or to a false sun unfurled,

Now forevermore goodbye,

All the gardens in the world!
On the windless hills of Heaven,

That I have no wish to see,

White, eternal lilies stand,

By a lake of ebony.
But the Earth forevermore

Is a place where nothing grows,—

Dawn will come, and no bud break;

Evening, and no blossom close.
Spring will come, and wander slow

Over an indifferent land,

Stand beside an empty creek,

Hold a dead seed in her hand.”
God had called us, and we came,

But the blessed road I trod

Was a bitter road to me,

And at heart I questioned God.
“Though in Heaven,” I said, “be all

That the heart would most desire,

Held Earth naught save souls of sinners

Worth the saving from a fire?
Withered grass,—the wasted growing!

Aimless ache of laden boughs!”

Little things God had forgotten

Called me, from my burning house.
“Though in Heaven,” I said, “be all

That the eye could ask to see,

All the things I ever knew

Are this blaze in back of me.”
“Though in Heaven,” I said, “be all

That the ear could think to lack,

All the things I ever knew

Are this roaring at my back.”
It was God who walked ahead,

Like a shepherd to the fold;

In his footsteps fared the weak,

And the weary and the old,
Glad enough of gladness over,

Ready for the peace to be,—

But a thing God had forgotten

Was the growing bones of me.
And I drew a bit apart,

And I lagged a bit behind,

And I thought on Peace Eternal,

Lest He look into my mind:
And I gazed upon the sky,

And I thought of Heavenly Rest,—

And I slipped away like water

Through the fingers of the blest!
All their eyes were fixed on Glory,

Not a glance brushed over me;

“Alleluia! Alleluia!”

Up the road,—and I was free.
And my heart rose like a freshet,

And it swept me on before,

Giddy as a whirling stick,

Till I felt the earth once more.
All the earth was charred and black,

Fire had swept from pole to pole;

And the bottom of the sea

Was as brittle as a bowl;
And the timbered mountain-top

Was as naked as a skull,—

Nothing left, nothing left,

Of the Earth so beautiful!
“Earth,” I said, “how can I leave you?”

“You are all I have,” I said;

“What is left to take my mind up,

Living always, and you dead?”
“Speak!” I said, “Oh, tell me something!

Make a sign that I can see!

For a keepsake! To keep always!

Quick!—before God misses me!”
And I listened for a voice;—

But my heart was all I heard;

Not a screech-owl, not a loon,

Not a tree-toad said a word.
And I waited for a sign;—

Coals and cinders, nothing more;

And a little cloud of smoke

Floating on a valley floor.
And I peered into the smoke

Till it rotted, like a fog:—

There, encompassed round by fire,

Stood a blue-flag in a bog!
Little flames came wading out,

Straining, straining towards its stem,

But it was so blue and tall

That it scorned to think of them!
Red and thirsty were their tongues,

As the tongues of wolves must be,

But it was so blue and tall—

Oh, I laughed, I cried, to see!
All my heart became a tear,

All my soul became a tower,

Never loved I anything

As I loved that tall blue flower!
It was all the little boats

That had ever sailed the sea,

It was all the little books

That had gone to school with me;
On its roots like iron claws

Rearing up so blue and tall,—

It was all the gallant Earth

With its back against a wall!
In a breath, ere I had breathed,—

Oh, I laughed, I cried, to see!—

I was kneeling at its side,

And it leaned its head on me!
Crumbling stones and sliding sand

Is the road to Heaven now;

Icy at my straining knees

Drags the awful under-tow;
Soon but stepping-stones of dust

Will the road to Heaven be,—

Father, Son and Holy Ghost,

Reach a hand and rescue me!
“There—there, my blue-flag flower;

Hush—hush—go to sleep;

That is only God you hear,

Counting up His folded sheep!
Lullabye—lullabye—

That is only God that calls,

Missing me, seeking me,

Ere the road to nothing falls!
He will set His mighty feet

Firmly on the sliding sand;

Like a little frightened bird

I will creep into His hand;
I will tell Him all my grief,

I will tell Him all my sin;

He will give me half His robe

For a cloak to wrap you in.
Lullabye—lullabye—”

Rocks the burnt-out planet free!—

Father, Son and Holy Ghost,

Reach a hand and rescue me!
Ah, the voice of love at last!

Lo, at last the face of light!

And the whole of His white robe

For a cloak against the night!
And upon my heart asleep

All the things I ever knew!—

“Holds Heaven not some cranny, Lord,

For a flower so tall and blue?”
All’s well and all’s well!

Gay the lights of Heaven show!

In some moist and Heavenly place

We will set it out to grow.
(In honour of World Poetry Day I have to share this one. Aside from its trinity reference, it is perfect. The rhyme & meter pull you through, yes, theoretically it’s flawless, but much more than that, it illustrates our intense love and humanity, the unnaturalness of heavenly desire. What human craves heaven? 

Humans crave Earth. We crave physical earthly things. This piece of writing illustrates this intensity & the sorrow at the very thought of its loss. Vincent, regardless all the hype & rumour of her personal life, craved life on Earth in a way that makes perfect sense based on what I believe. Tho she herself had been taught apparently of ‘The Rapture’ & that God would destroy the Earth, she, quite unknowingly, proves the non-mythical facts of the Bible, which teaches humans were created to live forever, on Earth, in a park-like setting, and to care & cultivate the creation God put here. We were created to be Earth’s caretakers. Her intense sorrow at Earth’s destruction & her subsequent elation at finding the flower & her need to protect it & care for it, even if it is Heaven as a keepsake from her beloved Earth—exquisitely done. It is proof to me, that regardless what you’ve been taught, we have been created with this need to care for & love this place; we are not heaven-bound by nature. 

It would take God himself to change my desire to be alive on Earth. I’ve never craved heaven and I suspect I never will. I will always be here, God willing, I will be one of the old ones who survived & tells the stories of how it was before Armageddon. And when Vincent is ressurected I’ll find her, and teach her & she is gonna cry tears of joy because, she will be among those here & not in heaven. ) BTW, this was a copy & paste and why can’t WP have an easier way of doing that without screwing up the spacing of the stanzas? Super annoying. 

Songwind

You cannot touch the unseen

With fingers & lips—What am I? 

Am I skin or am I an unseen universe

Clinging & quietly exploding

Birthing breath upon breath?

What raven-breath screams

From these frozen lungs & soars, this

Blue sky sculpting me into

Ever wild birds & these clouds
Clutching

The slight wind, grazing here & there,

My neck, my cheek, my inner arm, my pulse

Slowly, fading, rising, twisting my hair

The invisible has me touched

Like death & there are tears streaming

Everywhere 

I’m not just shattered glass

Aching for the blood of sliced fingers
& hungry lips,

I am this songwind & soul

Something touched & untouchable

CCTV

I sit inside the warmed haze of 

Quiet loom & motions ticking about

Cylindrical & roving
I’ve pushed out the cluttered heart

Plucked it apart, murmuring against

It’s deadfall beats…

Oh cautious thing, dead & ungrieved 

I’ve opened my jaws wide to consume

Whatever remains [a little whisper of

yesterday’s blood ] it’s a dried up thing now

Black & little perfuse in its foul odours of

Indignant & decayed effulgence

—A strange perfume
I grip the tattered thing, a tough sinew

A gagging in my throat, I don’t care anymore
I’m silent now. Silence is now 

My heartbeat. 

Black Current

the black current
of life & meaning
where does it pull to

this small edge of curiosity
to peer over & drop the small
questions off watching them
tossle into the below, unanswered

scream me the keys to unlock
all those disquieting thougts
or better yet, reverse the flow
make me see it all again
with wiser eyes