Oh August…

1 Aug


This is the week I dread each summer, the one when I realize the new semester begins in less than a month.  I’ve enjoyed summer this year, even as hot and dry as it’s been here.  But now it’s time to get ready.

I have 1 personal goal this year, plus several professional (perhaps a different blog topic).  I am working on keeping a margin in my life.  A mentor observed of me that I seem to like to live without a margin, like a page of text full from top to bottom and from side to side. I remember my grandmother’s Bible full of notes she’d written in the margins during her daily study time.  I admired that.  I’ve found that I can’t sustain living a schedule of activities and priorities that is that full.  I’ve been a fan of Parker Palmer’s life and writings for a long time.  Recently on his Facebook wall I found this poem.

How To Be a Poet

By Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
David plays bass trombone in the Cedar Valley Big Band, is past chairperson of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Board and has served as the Campus Minister and Director of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Northern Iowa for 16 years.  After graduating with a  BS in Education from Bowling Green and a MDiv from G-ETS, he has served  UMC congregations in the Iowa Conference since 1985.  Meeting his wife Jaymee in seminary, together they are parents of daughters Allyn and Magee.  Despite growing up in a campus ministry family, both have been involved in the campus ministry/religious life of their respective college and universities.

One Response to “Oh August…”

  1. Deborah Lewis August 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Thanks for this, David. I know about those shrinking margins and I commend your goal to keep some “white space” around the page. Blessings!

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