Pandemic Punctuation!

cuppajoeandthou

Diving headlong from the platforms of social media, texting, and email

my thoughts and conversation flail

as punctuation

re-purposed as faces, hearts, and other embellishment

look on.

Shortcuts have declared war on the well-written word.

The romance of nuance and tone is forgotten

as words march away to do battle with the reply and demand for constant interaction.

Paranoia has gripped me on more than one occasion when I dared use a simple period

at the end of a sentence.

Will someone think I’m not happy for them?

Will they think I’m in a bad mood if my prose isn’t peppered with exaggerated punctuation and smiley faces?

Will my love seem less sincere without hearts at the end of my sentence?

Can mere words convey meaning effectively as I multitask, interact and delegate

any skilled use of language

to the stickers and stick figures that march across a paperless landscape?

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Laugh At Yourself

Storyshucker

Mary Dell Grey, my good friend of nearly forty years, passed away last month. I was honored when her family asked me, along with family and several other close friends, to speak at her service.

It was no ordinary gathering.

Obviously there were tears and sadness as we talked about our friend, but what I will remember most is the laughter. I’ve never heard such laughter at a funeral service.

Mary Dell wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Each of us who spoke mentioned her constant smiles and her love of laughter. She laughed at herself most of all. We each had a story to tell, a funny story or two, to illustrate just how often she laughed and made others laugh.

“Always laugh at yourself!” she’d say.

Below is something I posted close to three years ago about a day Mary Dell and I spent working in her garden…

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Sprouts of Hope

dinkelislandsmalltalk

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Walking toward my car in a wintry parking lot I glimpsed a touch of green just under the front bumper.  I leaned down for a closer look.  There it was!  A tiny weed refusing to give in to winter’s dismal grip, trying against all odds to gain some sunlight–to hang on for a better day.

An icon of hope!

This was the last thing I expected to see after more than a foot of snow had fallen, mixed at times with freezing rain and sleet, then bitter cold temperatures that had persisted for days.

Yet there it was, this small green plant nestled down in whatever soil had packed itself around a steel pin holding the concrete parking barrier in place.  In spite of harsh wintry conditions, it was reaching for sunlight and growth.

I want to be like that minute plant when I face tough trials, seemingly impossible hurdles, splintering…

View original post 335 more words

Sprouts of Hope

1-IMG_3406

Walking toward my car in a wintry parking lot I glimpsed a touch of green just under the front bumper.  I leaned down for a closer look.  There it was!  A tiny weed refusing to give in to winter’s dismal grip, trying against all odds to gain some sunlight–to hang on for a better day.

An icon of hope!

This was the last thing I expected to see after more than a foot of snow had fallen, mixed at times with freezing rain and sleet, then bitter cold temperatures that had persisted for days.

Yet there it was, this small green plant nestled down in whatever soil had packed itself around a steel pin holding the concrete parking barrier in place.  In spite of harsh wintry conditions, it was reaching for sunlight and growth.

I want to be like that minute plant when I face tough trials, seemingly impossible hurdles, splintering circumstances.  When the atmosphere surrounding me rages with vitriolic acidity, I want to stand braced and confident, trusting that truth and justice can prevail. I want to focus toward the sunlight of God’s redeeming grace that says no matter what, my life is grounded in God’s all-embracing love.  I want that to be my source of value and purpose.

Over the course of nearly four score years, I’ve come to understand that fear and anger are the two deadliest enemies of the human soul.  I’ve also learned that it’s up to me to refuse to allow these enemies dominion over my thoughts, understandings, relationships, values and choices.

I don’t have to do it alone.  I can turn my fears and anger over to God’s greater power.  I can consciously cultivate the presence of God’s Spirit within myself so that he can cause enriched seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to live within me, and flow from me–green shoots of life reaching toward the sunlight.

When I saw that small green sprout broadcasting its presence in spite of harsh conditions, my mind played tapes of verbiage that had been bombarding me…political diatribes seeking to channel me into dark dungeons of fear and anger.

Those dungeons are not escape hatches.  They are tombs!  Fear and anger fuel only destruction, disintegration, and morbidity.  My spirit does not live there.  With God’s help, it never will.

So, sprout of life, hope, energy, faith–come forth!  Emerge in the face of doomsday proclamations to challenge the evil that would darken the world of human life.  God has lovingly created this habitat to be a garden of joyful prosperity–not material prosperity necessarily, but spiritual prosperity where we bloom with wholeness and enrich the space around us.

Enough of vitriolic diatribes!  Let’s be united by love, respect, hope, energy and vision, so that blessings can come through sharing life and its challenges from a bedrock of faith and trust in God.

Let’s be sprouts of hope in a troubled world!