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Sex Without Love

Quest for Adequacy - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 22:13
Last winter, I had sex with a man a few times.  We weren't dating, really, though we went out to dinner occasionally.  For reasons that are unimportant here, we both knew that the relationship had no future.  

But there was heat.  I didn't want him to be my boyfriend, but he smelled great, I liked the way he tasted, and when he touched me, I melted.

We had conversations about what it all meant, and agreed that we weren't committed to each other or even exclusive.  But sometimes, when we were out in public, he would put his arm around me.  I would awkwardly shrug my way out of it.  

I knew he felt hurt, but I still didn't want to make what we were doing public.  I said that it was because I was new here, and thought that it was because I knew it wasn't going to last.

I've been thinking about this again recently, and realized why I didn't want him to be affectionate in public.  We were doing exactly the same thing, but it made him a stud and it made me a slut.  

Fuck purity culture.
Categories: Blogs

Don't Tell Me to Smile

Quest for Adequacy - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 18:43
I got into an extended conversation yesterday on Facebook about street harassment. I mentioned that I have had some recent experiences with men (yes, grown men) yelling at me from cars. I added, "And don't even get me started on men telling me to smile."

A man who I know to be kind and thoughtful asked what was wrong with telling a woman to smile. The following is a slightly edited version of my response:
Thanks for the question! When I said don't get me started, it's because I have so much to say about this. I am happy to respond and point you toward some other sources.

Men telling women to smile is a problem for a lot of reasons. One is that if I am not smiling in a public place, I might have a good reason. Maybe my sister is in the hospital, or I just got fired, or I was just thinking about something.

But when a man I don't know tells me to smile, I have to stop thinking about whatever it was I was thinking about and engage him. I have to either smile for him, even if I don't want to, or I have to refuse. I have to decide how badly he might respond. Will he get mad? Is it possible he could attack me?

In the end, it is a form of body control. It reinforces the idea that I am not out in public for myself, but to be pretty for men. It may seem like a small thing, but when it happens often, it is pretty demoralizing.

In sum, strangers are not entitled to my body, my time, or my attention.My friend, Monika T, added:
The thing is, telling someone to smile is telling them what to do and how to feel. And you would be astounded how many men regard women that way. Its insidious and pervasive. Every time I go into the city, I have to devote some of my mental energy and focus to assessing who might harass me, and how they might react if I push back. This happens often if not always on my way to class, when I have better things to be thinking about. There are some wonderful videos illustrating how ridiculous and awful telling women to smile is, such as this one called Smile, and this one from Stop Telling Women to Smile:



This morning, I saw that I was not the only one thinking or writing about this issue yesterday!  Here is a wonderful article about street harassment: You're a Good-Looking Girl . . . I Want to Attack You.  Cameron Esposito sums it up well:
I do not care if you think I am beautiful. Your feedback or evaluation isn’t needed. I also do not care if you think I am not beautiful. Your feedback or evaluation isn’t needed there either.I am grateful for the men who engaged in this conversation.  If men are concerned about this issue and looking for ways to help, here are 35 Practical Steps Men Can Take to Support Feminism.
Categories: Blogs

White Pines: The Republican theater company?

Benjamin Lloyd's blog - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 15:08
This is the fourth of a series of posts meant to support a seminar series I am leading at the White Pines Place. It’s called Unleashing Creative Empowerment, and its goal is to help… Continue reading →
Categories: Blogs

Pastoral Authority in Unprogrammed Friends

Quest for Adequacy - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 13:00
[As part of my second year in a Master of Divinity program at Candler School of Theology, I am required to spend eight hours a week in an ecclesial setting.  My site is Atlanta Friends Meeting, where I am a sojourning member.  This week, in the class connected with that site work, we were asked to interview our site mentor about his or her views on pastoral authority and leadership.  These are my reflections on our conversation.]

When I interviewed my site mentor, Paul B, about his understanding of pastoral authority and leadership, we agreed that it is a tricky question for unprogrammed Friends.  In my site, Atlanta Friends Meeting (AFM), there is no pastoral staff.  Paul stated that the pastoral nature of Quakerism is that the community cares for itself instead of having a designated pastor or minister to provide care.  Thus, every Friend has an obligation to support the community.

At AFM, we do have a committee that focuses on pastoral care, the Care and Counsel committee.  That committee is made up of people who choose to be on it and serve for a designated term.  The committee draws people who are gifted in pastoral care, but they are not the only people who provide pastoral care in the meeting.  One of the tensions in an unprogrammed meeting is how to hold (mostly) volunteers accountable.  Having people rotate off the committee after their term is one way to do that.

As we spoke, the primary metaphor that Paul used for pastoral care was the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).  Christ is the head of our meeting and we are the body.  Within that body, people care for each other and provide care as needed.  Friends are resistant to the idea of authority, other than the authority that comes from the Holy Spirit, but we do recognize the need for leadership.

Three committees in AFM cover three of the roles that a pastor traditionally fills.  Care and Counsel provides pastoral care as described above.  The Ministry and Worship committee focuses on the worship within the meeting and attends to things like weddings, support for ministry, and applications for membership (I serve on the Ministry and Worship committee).  We also have a Social Concerns committee, which connects the meeting to the larger community context and does outreach.

Reflecting on this conversation, I agree that the body of Christ is a very good metaphor for pastoral care in a Friends meeting.  I also realized that my personal metaphor for ministry has been the story of Peter’s shadow falling on people and healing them (Acts 5:15).  In that story, if Peter’s shadow is behind him as he walks, he will never know whom he is healing.

I have been a public minister among Friends for over six years now, and in that time I have lived in four different cities.  Each time I moved, I felt like God was calling me to the next place, but it has been very hard for me.  I feel like I have been planting seeds in ministry, but I do not get to stay long enough to see how they grow or if they bear fruit.  I have to trust that God is working through me even as I move on.

Having a year to spend deeply involved in the life of the meeting at AFM feels like a gift.  My site mentors and I are still discerning what ministry will look like for me in this context, but I know that there are needs in the meeting and that I have gifts to bring.  I am also grateful that I will not be doing this work alone.  We have a well-developed committee structure with many people bringing their time, gifts, and skills to support this community of Friends.
Categories: Blogs

Make it personal.

Benjamin Lloyd's blog - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 14:57
This is the third of a series of posts meant to support a seminar series I am leading at the White Pines Place beginning Wednesday September 17th. It’s called Unleashing Creative Empowerment, and its… Continue reading →
Categories: Blogs

Recording Resources

Quest for Adequacy - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:24
A few weeks ago, a Friend wrote me asking if I knew of any resources about the Quaker process for recording ministers.  He said he was new to this, and it had been hard to find resources online.  I compiled a list of resources for him, and thought it might be useful for others as well.

My home meeting, Freedom Friends Church, has a page of resources on recorded ministry.

Here is a YouTube video of me talking about my recording process with Friends Journal:

 
I also posted quite a bit about the process of being recorded on my blog under the Recording label, as well as sharing stories from other women who have been recorded as ministers.

Steven Davidson wrote about some of the objections to recording in an article called Recording Gifts of Ministry in New York Yearly Meeting's Spark.  (See also Resources on Ministry.)

I highly recommend Brian Drayton's book On Living with a Concern for Gospel Ministry.  The whole book is excellent, but he talks specifically about his experience of being a recorded minister and reporting back to his meeting in Appendix 1 and 2.

Are there other resources you would recommend, Friends?
Categories: Blogs

PILGRIMAGE TO IRELAND, April 7-20, 2015

Connecting Friends: Salt and Light - Sun, 09/14/2014 - 12:34
Spend time in worship and conversation with Irish Quakers. Appreciate the rich history of Friends in Ireland, enter into the spiritual life of this diverse group as a guest at their yearly meeting sessions and visit some of their meetings.
- Visit Neolithic sites.
- Explore the 350-year history of Friends in Ireland, which began in persecution.
- Reflect on the witness of Friends whose quiet efforts during the Great Hunger of the 19th century helped relieve suffering and challenged its causes.
·   - Hear from those who worked during the 20th century 'Troubles' to offer fresh visions of reconciliation.
·   - Observe the continuing work towards community reconciliation in 21st century multi-racial, multi-cultural Ireland.

Newgrange, in the Boyne Valley of County Meath, built 5,000 years ago













THE PILGRIMAGEOur pilgrimage will begin and end in Dublin. As we get to know each other we will explore history and culture of the city of Dublin, and also take a day to visit the Neolithic sites of Newgrange and the Hill of Tara, where 142 Kings were crowned.
We will join Ireland Yearly Meeting at their annual sessions, to be held this year at the Dromantine Retreat and Conference Center in Newry, Northern Ireland. The yearly meeting is a microcosm of some of the theological and cultural diversity on the island. We will meet frequently to reflect on our learning.
Our final base will be Moyallon Centre, where we will get to know local Friends, visit meetinghouses in villages and cities, hear about faithful work for reconciliation over the years, and visit some of the places where Friends’ testimonies are visible in community relations. Be prepared to drink many cups of tea as Ulster Friends welcome us, and expect to make lasting friendships.
Moyallon Meeting House
Moyallon centre

We will travel to areas where so-called “peace walls” keep communities segregated, visit places of loss and violence, but also look for signs of hope, and see some the work to bring members of different communities together, including the role of the arts in creating new paradigms and symbols.

















We will have opportunities to relax and explore Dublin, Belfast and Derry/Londonderry, as well as visiting the Antrim coast and the Giant’s Causeway.
Ballycastle harbourThe Giant's Causeway










A pilgrimage involves preparation, the journey itself and reflection after the event.
SOME QUERIES TO BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY:·   - How do I prepare myself for what God has waiting for me in Ireland?
·   - What gifts do I bring to reconciliation?
·   - How do I overcome inward obstacles - especially assumptions and fears?
·   - What would make me a more effective agent of reconciliation in my own community?
·   - How am I called to engage in change within my own community - Quaker and beyond?

SOME THOUGHTS AND QUESTIONS ON THE JOURNEY·   Ireland Yearly Meeting spans two countries, Ireland and Northern Ireland. What holds it together as one yearly meeting?
·   Irish Friends now reflect some of the diversity in broader Irish/Northern Ireland society, and much of the theological diversity to be found among Friends elsewhere. How do they nurture unity?
·   How can we learn from Irish Quakers, with their cultural and theological diversity, on navigating the differences among Friends - especially in North America?
·   In what ways have Irish Friends held up Quaker testimonies and influenced public policy in both countries?


YOUR FACILITATORS Margaret Fraser has co-led Quaker pilgrimages for both adults and Young Friends on two continents, and three previous international visits to Northern Ireland. She has a growing interest in the ways in which some communities can live together in the midst of significant cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, while for others the stress is too great. She feels happily at home among Irish Friends.
Anne Bennett taught at Queen's University, Belfast, during the Troubles, and for several years afterwards she worked for the international department of Britain Yearly Meeting. She was involved with developing peacebuilding programmes in societies which had experienced violent conflicts including Africa. Asia and the Middle East, before returning to Northern Ireland in 2004 as Director of Quaker House, Belfast.
They are both hoping that their friends will quickly become your friends.



PILGRIMAGE COST: $2,600.                                         WHAT'S INCLUDED:
- 13 nights' accommodation- 3 meals a day - Travel - on buses and trains, and in a van with a local driver- Entrance to places of cultural and historic significance- Travel insurance- Attendance at the residential sessions of Ireland Yearly Meeting- Advance reading materials- Daily reflection and conversation time.
Airfare to and from Dublin is not included.

REGISTRATIONTo register, contact margaret@goodnewsassoc.org A deposit of $850 will secure your place. Please make two further payments: $850, due by December 1, 2014, and $900, due February 1, 2015. Please make checks payable to Good News Associates, and mail them to 13730 15th Ave NE #A302, Seattle, WA 98125.

Once your place is confirmed, make your own airline reservation. Plan to arrive at Dublin Airport early morning on Tuesday April 7 and to leave on Monday April 20.  

Good News Associates 13730 15th Ave NE #A302, Seattle, WA 98125
Categories: Blogs

Relationships and results

Benjamin Lloyd's blog - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 21:00
This is the second of a series of posts meant to support a seminar series I am leading at the White Pines Place beginning Wednesday September 17th. It’s called Unleashing Creative Empowerment, and its… Continue reading →
Categories: Blogs

Dualism, relationships and results

Benjamin Lloyd's blog - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 21:00
This is the second of a series of posts meant to support a seminar series I am leading at the White Pines Place beginning Wednesday September 17th. It’s called Unleashing Creative Empowerment, and its… Continue reading →
Categories: Blogs

People, Not Products

Benjamin Lloyd's blog - Sun, 08/31/2014 - 20:34
This is the beginning of a series of posts meant to support a seminar series I am leading at the White Pines Place beginning Wednesday September 17th. It’s called Unleashing Creative Empowerment, and… Continue reading →
Categories: Blogs

The Middle

Quest for Adequacy - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 14:32
"How is it with you in your call?"The question came from a woman I had just met at the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference.  It took me by surprise, but after I thought for a moment, I said that there had been a lot of energy at the conference around beginning the journey, and that is not where I am.  I feel like I am on the path, but just plodding along.

The call to ministry is exciting and sexy.  Trying to live a life of ongoing faithfulness is not.

I have been a public Friend for six years now.  Not long compared to some, but long enough to get past the initial excitement of the call.  Sometimes ministry is exciting, sometimes it is horrible, and sometimes it is just a slog.

I have found that, once Friends are on board with the idea of ministry, there is a lot more focus on getting started than on the tools we need for a sustained life of ministry.  I hope that those of us who are doing this work can find ways to encourage each other in the middle and along the way.
Categories: Blogs

Quaker Fame

Quest for Adequacy - Sun, 06/29/2014 - 22:05
"You might say they are going through fame puberty—the awkward stage." Nick PaumgartenFor the past year, I have been going to Quaker events and hiding.  I wrote about this a little after the FGC Gathering last year (where I actually started carrying around a disguise).  I said then that I was having a hard time with my rising level of "Quaker celebrity." It is something that is still a struggle for me.

Few things will throw me off center at a Quaker event faster than when someone knows who I am and I have no idea who they are.  A Friend will introduce me in conversation and the other person's face will light up.  I feel dread because I know they have read something I have written, or heard me speak, or heard about me some other way.  I never know what to do, and any response on my part feels awkward and ungracious.

I read the quote above in the New Yorker a few days ago and it spoke to my condition.  I feel like I have been going through an extended fame puberty.  Fortunately, I have been able to speak about this with some trusted elders over the past few months, and they have given me some good advice:

1.  I need to find ways to acknowledge that God is working through me when I do ministry.  It is especially awkward for me when people compliment me on a message I have given, because I feel strongly that those messages come from God.  At heart, my ministry is to help people experience the presence of God.  When they experience God through me, it can be a powerful and attractive experience.  It is important for me to be clear that I am the conduit, not the source.

2.  If I keep doing this work, this will keep happening.  I think part of the reason that I respond so poorly is because I act like every time I am recognized, it is the first time or totally unexpected.  I need to stop acting that way and start putting together a toolkit for how to respond when this happens.

3.  I need to find a Quaker space that is restorative for me.  A couple people have encouraged me to find somewhere that I can go not as a minister, but to worship and rest.  This may involve sending a message to the organizers in advance about my needs and how I want to participate.

All of this is complicated by the fact that Friends pretend like we don't have celebrities.  It is very hard to claim a level of fame when Quakers want to believe that we are all equal in every way.  But I think it is important to do so for me to be able to grow out of this "fame puberty," and I am going to claim this:

I am a minor celebrity in a small denomination.

How did it make you feel to read that?  Was it funny?  Did it seem like not a big deal?  Or did it make you want to reassure me that, really, I'm not that famous?
Categories: Blogs

Epistle

Quest for Adequacy - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 01:31
Epistle of the 2014
Pacific Northwest Quaker Women’s Theology Conference
June 11-15, 2014
Menucha Retreat Center, Corbett, Oregon
Greeting to Friends Everywhere:We are 77 women who have come together from North Pacific Yearly Meeting, Northwest Yearly Meeting, Freedom Friends Church, and meetings further afield. Our theme this year was “Wilt Thou Go on My Journey?” To prepare for the conference, each woman wrote a short reflection paper on the conference theme and quotes from Luke 9:2-4, Isaiah 6:9, and from two women who traveled in the Quaker ministry: Nancy Hawkins and Caroline Stephen. We read each other’s papers and discussed them within our home groups: small groups of women who met throughout the conference to share with each other their stories with confidentiality, great trust, and vulnerability.We met to worship together in unprogrammed worship, plenary sessions, workshops, community activities, worship for business, and semi-programmed worship. Each day we explored a different aspect or topic related to spiritual journeys: Welcoming, Clearness of Calling, Doubt and Fear on the Journey, Deepening Faith, and Journeying Together.Through workshops, including workshops on writing, songs, movement, and prayer, we explored ways to reflect on, express, and share our journeys with each other, moving past our fears about being judged based on our differences. We felt great trust in this group and were able to shed our reluctance to expose our fears and joys to each other. We celebrated what we found in common and explored what was new to us.We used forms of worship that were new to most of us from both programmed and unprogrammed meetings, including chanting and worshipful movement. We found these forms to be powerful ways to move into worship together. Spirit-led, spontaneous acapella singing enriched our worship and community.During a powerful gathered meeting, we supported those who were trembling, weeping, and quaking and encouraged them to speak. We talked with each other about our roots as Quakers and about how our traditions have splintered so that none of us has a complete experience. We heard from the Lord a call to help bring those pieces back together that can help us create a new mosaic that honors the many facets of our different traditions.We committed to organize this conference again in two years’ time and to invite more women from the evangelical traditions.We asked ourselves what we would bring with us from this conference. We were invited to take the things we had heard and experienced and allow them to change us and through us, change our communities and to bridge the divides between different yearly meetings.Regards,
All of us gathered at the 2014 Pacific Northwest Quaker Women’s Theology Conference.
Categories: Blogs

The agreement of traffic lights

Benjamin Lloyd's blog - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 12:59
Do you hear the sound of breaking glass and grinding steel the moans of those about to die? Those are the sounds we hear when we ignore the agreement of traffic lights.  … Continue reading →
Categories: Blogs

Workshop: On Prayer

Quest for Adequacy - Fri, 05/30/2014 - 23:57
[The workshop I am leading on prayer at the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference.]

Douglas Steere said that “To pray is to pay attention to the deepest thing that we know.”  In this workshop, we will explore different kinds of prayer, including body prayer, a breathing prayer, and an interactive stations of the Lord’s Prayer.  Everyone is welcome.

Led by Ashley W – Originally from Alaska, studying at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, and a recorded minister of Freedom Friends Church in Salem, OR.  I call a lot of places home.
Categories: Blogs

It’s the end of theater as we know it.

Benjamin Lloyd's blog - Thu, 05/29/2014 - 21:18
I’m not a huge R.E.M. fan. I mean, I like the hits, but could never quite enjoy Micheal Stipe’s voice, as much as I loved his activism and persona. But I always loved… Continue reading →
Categories: Blogs

Deal or no deal? When 40% off is less than 13% off

Jez Smiths blog - Mon, 05/19/2014 - 13:19
Cotswold Outdoor is 40 years old this year. To celebrate, every day at the moment they’re offering a 40% discount on something they sell. Or, at least, that’s what they’d like you to think. Today’s offer is for a Vango Stratos 500 tent, which they’re selling for £174, which is a whopping 40% or £116 […]
Categories: Blogs

Quakers and Women in Ministry (Video)

Quest for Adequacy - Fri, 04/25/2014 - 13:25
In February, I had the opportunity to go to Philadelphia to observe the Friends Journal board meeting for a school project.  While I was there, Jon Watts interviewed me for Friends Journal's new QuakerSpeak project.  We talked about a lot of things, including my recording process, vocal ministry, my home meeting, Freedom Friends Church, and women in ministry.

I feel honored to be featured in this week's QuakerSpeak video about Quakers and women in ministry, along with Marcelle Martin, Carole Spencer, and others.  This video does a great job of explaining Friends' history of women in ministry, as well as talking about some of the ongoing challenges for women in ministry.


I am very excited about the QuakerSpeak project, and I look forward to the ways that QuakerSpeak will share information about Friends today in its weekly videos.  Good work, Friends!
Categories: Blogs

Inter-critic? No. Dramaturg.

Benjamin Lloyd's blog - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 13:35
The following was submitted as a reply to Wendy Rosenfield’s thoughtful piece on The Broad Street Review, “The Future of Professional Theater Criticism: An International View”. Since I am not confident BSR will publish my… Continue reading →
Categories: Blogs

Seeking the Living Water

Quest for Adequacy - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 10:21
[The message I gave out of open worship at the Friends World Committee for Consultation Section of the Americas consultation in High Point, NC.


At Freedom Friends Church, we always begin with gratitude.  I am grateful to be here with all of you this evening.  I am grateful for safe travels and warm welcomes.  I am grateful for Deborah S, who is eldering for me, and for all of the Friends who are holding me in prayer.  I am grateful for all of you, for the joy and hope and love you bring to this gathering.  I am grateful that God is not finished with us yet.

In Jeremiah 2:13, the prophet Jeremiah speaks the word of the Lord, saying, “My people have committed two sins:  They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and they have dug their own cisterns, cisterns that cannot hold water.”
As I was preparing this message, two images from the natural world came to me.  The first is of dead trees filled with salt in Alaska.
I was born and raised in Alaska, and so was my mother, and so were her parents.  That place is deep in my bones.  There are certain colors and smells and images that I associate with it, and when I see them or smell them, I know that I am home.
One of the most haunting images of my childhood was of these dead trees.  They are a result of the 1964 earthquake.  That earthquake was 9.2 and lasted for four minutes.  My grandparents and my mother thought that it was the end of the world.  They ran outside as their house fell off its foundation.  The destruction was incredible.
In one part of Alaska, the ground sank below sea level, and the trees’ root systems filled with salt water.  Decades later, you could drive by and see these ghost trees, standing exactly as they stood during the earthquake.  It is a haunting image and one that seemed like it would last forever.
This was a natural reaction to a natural disaster.  The water that killed those trees had been living water, but it was no longer life-giving for those trees. 
Sometimes when we encounter God, it feels a little like that: overwhelming.
There is a story in the Bible where Jesus takes three of his disciples up onto a mountain to pray, and while they are there, they have an encounter with the living God.  As Jesus was praying, his face was transformed and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightening.  (Luke 9:29)
This story is like another story in the Bible, where Moses also went up a mountain to encounter God.  After he did, his face also glowed.  His face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.  (Exodus 34:29)
But the first time Moses went down from the mountain, he found that the people had built a golden calf and were worshiping it.  (Exodus 32:5-6)
The question that people always ask is, How could the Israelites do that?  They had just had an incredible encounter with the living God; God had just rescued them from slavery in Egypt and performed miracle after miracle.  But I think it is not in spite of that encounter with God that the Israelites built the golden calf, but because of it.
A phrase you often hear Quaker ministers say to each other is, “Watch what you fill up on.”  When we encounter the living God, that experience changes us, inside and out, and others can see it.  We feel different and we look and sound different. 
Afterward, there is a strong impulse to recreate the experience, to fill the hole that was so recently filled by the presence of God.
And, in the story of Jesus on the mountain, this is what Peter wanted to do.  He saw Jesus’ radiant face and the two men with him and said, “Master, it is good for us to be here.  Let us put up three shelters―one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  The Bible says that he did not know what he was saying.  (Luke 9:33) 
But Peter knew that he had encountered the living God.  He wanted to mark the experience and hold on to it by making a tabernacle, but the spirit of God had moved on.
I began with Jeremiah 2:13, a passage that has been important to me.  But when I was in North Carolina a couple years ago, a Friend from Ohio Yearly Meeting reminded me of another passage about water.  Proverbs 5:15 instructs us to “drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.”
The context of this verse is faithfulness to one’s spouse, but I think it works for the Religious Society as Friends as well.  We are all here because we have found something, we have encountered the living God, we have found the living water here among Friends.  Where have we found it?  Where have we abandoned it?  Where do we find it now?
Even if we have abandoned the living water or we have set up monuments to the past, there is always hope.  Even those ghost trees that haunted my childhood won’t last forever.  When I was a teenager, an artist began to make salt and pepper shakers out of the trees. 
The second image from the natural world that came to me is of a place that I used to pass by in Salem, Oregon when I would take walks on my lunch break.  It was a place that had been a concrete driveway, but the concrete had been taken away and there was grass growing where it had been.  After a while, you couldn’t even see where the concrete had been, it was just grass.
Concrete seems permanent.  It is heavy and it seems like it will last forever, but it doesn’t.  It is possible for grass to grow where there was once concrete.
Transformation is always possible.
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