Wednesday, January 18, 2006

i don't have the stomach for this

One of my morning rituals is to listen to The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor, which plays at the end of Morning Edition on WGBH, one of our local NPR stations. Each day, he makes note of significant birthdays in the literary world and then reads a poem. He closes each segment by saying, "Be well, do good work, and stay in touch."

Today's poem was one by Robert Frost:

A Time to Talk

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, 'What is it?'
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.


Tonight at church we face a different kind of time to talk. This is the night of the big meeting with the mediator. The phone and email chatter has grown quiet over the last several days; I'm not sure anyone knows quite what to expect.

Normally, I do not know of an emotion that does not make me want to eat. If I'm elated, I can think of no better way to celebrate than with a meal. If I'm depressed, I can bang my way through a bag of Cape Cod Sea Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips without even blinking. This week has been different. Whatever I have eaten seems determined to work it's way out of my body as though it was competing for a medal.

I am finding little comfort in food.

One of the working theories of my life is we could work most anything out if we could sit down and discuss it over a meal. If you need to ask someone to pass the potatoes, you're going to have to figure out a way to talk about other stuff as well. Therefore, I'm a bit weary of a meeting that makes it difficult for me to even think about eating. How are we going to break down the walls that need to be broken down so we can create a time to talk -- and listen?

I wish I had an answer to that question going into the meeting tonight.

How I hope we could get to the end of the time tonight and have found enough healing for someone to say, "You want to grab a bite to eat?"

Peace,
Milton

PS -- As you can see from the format change, I'm trying to learn a bit more about HTML and setting up the blog the way I want it to look. Since Ginger and I live in Green Harbor, just 600 feet from Cape Cod Bay, this template seemed appropriate.

4 comments:

Bill said...

Oh dear, you have my prayers. I'm an Episcopalian and I'm sure you're well aware of how difficult it has been for many of our brothers and sisters to have a friendly visit with one another for the last 2 1/2 years. The church's every-three-year general convention is coming up this June. I am not a delegate, thanks be to God, but the deacon at my church is. He says the national church has set up a private website where the delegates should be able to discuss the issues with each other. So far, he says, the "discussion" has already degraded into name-calling and insults. Lord have mercy on us!

don't eat alone said...

Thanks for your prayers, Bill. I keep praying we will remember, as the old Baptist saying goes, who we are and Whose we are.

Peace
Milton

mibi52 said...

Praying for you as well. When you find you can't eat, you know you're in tough shape (I know from personal experience).

Just breathe before you speak, to give the spirit a moment to work its way through your defenses (something I also learned the hard way, through personal experience).

Real Live Preacher said...

Hey Milton,

Having been there, I can relate to the effect of this kind of stress on your body. Yeah.

God love you folks, I hope you get through this.