Connecting Chicken Coops and Benedictine Prayer Illustrations
Earlier this week, I posted a quote on our Facebook page from Eulalia Cobb. She’s a listener from West Pawlet, Vermont who wrote a lovely reflection in response to last week’s show on her practice of mindfulness while spring cleaning a chicken coop:
"In years past, I rushed impatiently through this coop cleaning. After all, there was a garden to be planted…"
What I find so delightful about posting wonderful words like Eulalia’s outside the bounds of speakingoffaith.org is the broad knowledge base and interesting insights we may not have learned otherwise. Many times this wisdom serves as a fresh starting point for fans who may not have happened across these quirky, endearing stories. And that’s why I absolutely dug Denise Klitsie's comment in response:
"I am working on illustrations for a book on the hours of prayer—the Benedictines started this idea of recognizing transitions throughout the day that pressed up against one in work and life and began to name the hours, none, sext, vespers etc.—this essay on cleaning the chicken coup is inspiring me for imagery because imaging these "hours" is every challenging so I thought this picture of repetitious mundane yucky work might fit the hour of sext where the noonday devil is present tempting one to give up, throw in the towel, give up the fight because it is just too hard or too messy. Thanks SOF."
These are the types of connections that sustain my work. I’ll keep trying to do more. I’d love your advice on better or more inventive ways of making these connections possible.
President Obama Evokes Rabbi Heschel?
Colleen Scheck, Producer
From a Guardian story about President Obama’s press conference at the G20 Summit yesterday:
Asked whether he thought the US should shoulder the blame for causing the crisis, Obama replied America had some accounting to do. But he said he was “a great believer in looking forward rather than looking back”, citing his American law school professor who told him “some are to blame, but all are responsible”.
Surely his law school professor was evoking the words of Abraham Joshua Heschel — “Some are guilty, but all are responsible” — right? Again we feel Heschel’s present-day relevance.
Niebuhr, Heschel — which other SOF biographical series subject will President Obama evoke next? Perhaps Einstein’s post World War II comment: ”…there is no escape into easy comfort, there is no distance ahead for proceeding little by little and delaying the necessary changes into an indefinite future. The situation calls for a courageous effort, for a radical change in our whole attitude in the entire political content.”
They are the ones who whispered it on the playground when nobody was looking. If we lose that language, we lose who we are.
— Ryan Wilson, referring to tribal elders who were listening to young girls singing in Arapaho.
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor
Wilson, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe and a board member of the National Indian Education Association, is working with the Northern Arapaho tribe to establish Hinono’ Eitiino’ Oowu’, an Arapaho language immersion school on the Wind River Reservation in northwest Wyoming. Wilson’s words remind me of something David Treuer said to Krista about his tribe’s effort to preserve the Ojibwe language:
"What I really love about language revitalization, what is so key to it, is that it’s always been ours and it’s a chance to define ourselves on and in our own terms and in ways that have nothing to do with what’s been taken. We can define ourselves by virtue of what we’ve saved."
And now, speaking of physical necessity, I’m off to IKEA in my online editor Trent’s pickup truck known affectionately (despite its carbon footprint) as ‘Black Thunder.’