We have so many things going on at the house during spring and – unfortunately so do our most steady volunteers! We are shorthanded morning and afternoon during the cafe, had only one person at the Breakfast Brigade last Friday(!), are adding days to the Art for All project so we’ll be ready for the sale at the end of April, AND we’re planting the parking lot garden. To save you time clicking on links, below is where we especially need help this week. Please email Kelli (gvillecw(at)yahoo(dot)com, if you can help.
And, remember this Thursday we will not have Roundtable (here’s a re-cap of last week’s on the civil rights movement in Gville, if you’re interested) , but will continue our Lenten reflection and potluck, 6-7:30 .
- Art for All, 1-5: We need people willing to help finish up projects from beading to fabric corsages to paper crafts.
- Gardening, 6:30 – 8pm: Sunflowers, zinnias,cucumbers, corn!
- Cafe food preparation, 9:30- 11:45 – Bake bread, prepare collards, and transform our dining room into a restaurant
- Cafe serving and clean-up, 11:45 – 4
- Art for All, 1-4pm: See above – children welcome
A group from St. Augustine’s is coming to help with the Breakfast Brigade this Friday, but we’ll need you next week if you’re free!
There is a common misunderstanding among all the human beings that have ever been born on the earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable. You can see this even in insects, and animals, and birds. All of us are the same.
A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring if the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness or prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life that that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is. If we’re committed to comfort at any cost, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we’re going to run; we’ll never know what’s beyond that particular barrier, or wall, or fearful thing.
[Photo: students and their teacher in one of the “most dangerous cities in Guatemala”]
When you are inside of great love and great suffering, you have a much stronger possibility of surrendering your ego controls and opening up to the whole field of life. Frankly, because you do not have much choice now, you are being led. Great love makes you willing to risk everything, holding nothing back. The feeling of fusion or acceptance by another, or with the Other, at least temporarily overcomes your terrible sense of aloneness, separateness, and fear. The ecstasy of this union makes you let down your barriers and see things inside of a new kind of wholeness and happiness for a while. . . No wonder people run toward love.
Great suffering opens you in a different way. Here, things happen against your will – which is what makes it suffering. And over time, you can learn to give up your defended state, again because you have no choice. The situation is what it is, although we will invariably go through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, resignation, and (hopefully) on to acceptance. The suffering might feel wrong, terminal, absurd, unjust, impossible, physically painful, or just outside of your comfort zone. So you see why we much have a proper attitude toward suffering, because many things every day leave us out of control – even if just a long stoplight. Remember always, however, that if you do not transform your pain, you will surely transmit it to those around you and even to the next generation.
– Richard Rohr, The Naked Now
From Meditations of the Heart by Howard Thurman
How good it is to center down!
To sit quietly and see oneself pass by.
The streets of our mind seethe with endless traffic;
Our spirits resound with clashings, with noisy silences,
While something deep within hungers and thirsts for the still moment and the resting lull.
With full intensity we seek, ere the quiet passes, a fresh sense of order in our living;
A direction, a strong sure purpose that will structure our confusion and bring meaning in our chaos.
We look at ourselves in the waiting moment – the kind of people we are.
The questions persist: What are we doing with our lives? What are the motives that order our days?
What is the end of our doings? Where are we trying to go?
Where do we put the emphasis and where are our values focused?
For what do we make sacrifices? Where is my treasure and what do I love most in my life?
What do I hate most in life and to what am I true?
Over and over the questions beat in upon the waiting moment.
As we listen, floating up through all the jangling echoes of our turbulence, there is a sound of another kind –
A deeper one which only the stillness of the heart makes clear.
It move directly to the core of our being. Our questions are answered,
With the peace of the Eternal in our step.
How good it is to center down!
“You are dust, and to dust you will return.” Who wants to really face this reality? Apparently, many of us since Ash Wednesday services are some of the most crowded of the year. It is a beautifully human ritual – feeding our deep need for meaning and purpose, as well as our desire for community. Standing in line for ashes, we wait to hear those solemn words directed at us personally, and we hear them in the company of others. We are all in this together.
Today – and every Wednesday – we at the Green House offer a free Café to folks who are hungry and homeless. We strive to create a very healthy meal made of mostly vegetables given to us by generous farmers in our area. Today we will dress up the lentil soup with fresh tomato salsa, and the rutabaga fries with homemade ranch dressing. We will pick lettuce from our garden. There will be fresh bread. All of this bounty spills over from the generosity of our community, created in a joyful, hurried kitchen full of people choosing to spend their Wednesday morning this way.
Some of those in the dining room will be experiencing the flip side of this. Many of them are unemployed, but have spent the morning waiting at the labor pools for work that didn’t come. Some are addicts and alcoholics who fell into addiction trying to cope with serious trauma. Some struggle with mental illness or physical infirmity. People come because they’re hungry, and they come for the company, and sometimes they come just to get a break from the cold or the heat or the rain. They are not necessarily experiencing “abundance” in their day-to-day life, and we try our best to help them experience a little here at the house – with second and third helpings and a plate to go.
Yet this sharing, in itself, is not necessarily compassionate. Compassion – to feel with – is not created in a “have and have-not” world, even in our own home. We can easily fall into pity, and charity. We can see ourselves “as blessed,” and serving the “less fortunate.” We can even believe as some have described it, that we are blessing them. And then, one hopes, we can begin to see the truth in St. Vincent de Paul’s warning that the poor have to forgive us for the bread we give them.
They have to forgive us because It belongs to them already. It comes from the earth’s abundance – “fruit of the vine.” We “volunteers” may have jobs our culture deems important and hidden addictions and illnesses and losses that we are not forced to air in public. But we, the ones holding the soup pot today, are no less dust than those who come with empty bowls. The ashes of the first day of Lent are a reminder that we are here together for just a little while, that we are all lowly and in need of grace and love. We are to share. What does not happen in this world of Haves and Have-Nots, we are to bring about in the Kingdom of God – for the little time we are here together.
It’s the beginning of Lent, and it’s also UF Spring Break. We’re sure to need extra help at the House, so let us know if you want to kick off your Lent by helping out at Art for All (Tuesdays), the Cafe (Wednesday), or the Breakfast Brigade (Friday). See our updated schedule for details. Send us an email to sign up!
LENTEN REFLECTION AND POTLUCK: Also, On Thursdays, in lieu of our regular Roundtable discussions, anyone who is interested is invited to join us for prayer, reflection, and a common, potluck meal, in preparation for observing Friday as a day of fasting. At 6pm, we’ll gather for centering prayer, an ancient practice of contemplation popularized in recent years by monks like Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating and others. It will include a short reflection followed by 20 minutes of silent meditation. We’ll end our time in silence by sharing, briefly, any thoughts, insights or questions related to our spiritual practice. Following our time in prayer together, we’ll break bread together over a common meal (potluck).
ART FOR ALL is in full full gear, and we are creating some beautiful things on Tuesday afternoons. This week, we’ll be beading paper cranes, eyeglass chains, and bottle cap necklaces, among other things. We are in need of some material to finish up some projects as well; if you are harboring a stash of any of the things below and want to relocate them for a good cause, we would appreciate it!
- Felt with which to back “Urban Flower” corsages for Easter and Mother’s Day
- Plain 5×7 frames for framing Judy’s lovely photos
- Sheets and other large pieces of fabric for making aprons, and folks willing to make aprons at home
- Singleton earrings – posts and dangling
We’re excited about the sale and hopeful that people will come visit the house, enjoy the art, and maybe buy a thing or two to benefit the artisans and the work of the House.
Hope to see you this week!
This week, Kendera and Liz Wilson will be painting flower pots. Come join the Art for All workshop on Tuesday, 1-5, and make a pot to take home or to sell at the April craft sale. For future projects we are looking for scrap wood: small pieces of board in particular that we can use to create wall hangings. In addition, we’re hoping to put some “singleton earrings” – the earring that is left when you lose its match – to good use in the upcycled jewelry Kendera is creating. Let us know if you have any to share. Thank you!
This Thursday, 6-7:30, we’ll host a simple potluck dinner with no planned speaker or discussion. These are great opportunities for families and others to come and enjoy sharing a good meal and conversation with friends. If you have time to bring something good to eat, please do. If not, we’ll have enough, so come anyway.
Being outside in this beautiful weather is reminding us that gardening season is coming up. We have plans to expand the parking lot garden and also to do some landscaping in the backyard. John and some high school volunteers are clearing a new space in one of th parking lt islands, and we’ll be planting out the first veggies in mid-March. If you would like to help, send an email and we’ll remind you when we decide on a date and time. The donation of a hammock for the backyard has rekindled an old wish to make the backyard a peaceful place for folks to rest or eat outdoors. If you have garden or landscape experience – or plants – and would like to help with this project, also let us know.
Hope to see you this week!
We are changing up the schedule a little this week to allow for some time to organize Sunday’s Open House and ART FOR ALL sale. Instead of the Roundtable on Thursday, we’ll be pricing, tagging, moving furniture around, and doing a little more beadwork. We’d love to have your help between 6 and 7:30 on Thursday!
We’ll be at St. Augustine’s Advent/Christmas Concert on Friday night (7:30 – 9:30) with a display and “pre-sale” after the concert. This concert is always magnificent, and we’re grateful to be a part of it. You should come too!
Our Open House will be next Sunday, the 5th, from 1-5. Please come enjoy good company, good food, and the beautiful art created by our community. Bring some finger food to share if you can!
While we are engaged already in the hustle-bustle of this time of year, we struggle to find ways to still ourselves during the season of Advent – to “wait for the light.” Pax Christi has some wonderful online Advent resources to help provide inspiration and focus. May you and yours find ways to connect to the beautiful season of Advent, a real gift during a busy time.
We are excited this week to welcome back Scott Robertson to Thursday’s Roundtable and Potluck, 6-7:30. As a follow-up to our discussion about the various benefits of and barriers to community sustainability, join us for a brainstorming session on how we might make small changes that create greater waves. We will consider how we can mirror the patterns of nature in our own lives and community. As a project in local abundance, we will inventory our varied talents, shareable assets, and blocks of free time– with this we can start a local network to buffer against emergencies, reduce our consumption of resources, and get to know each other better. If you have any interest at all, please come! Mimicking nature, the more diversity in our community, the greater our stability.
- bottle caps
- pop-tops from soda (beer) cans
- magazines with great photos like National Geographic and gardening catalogs
- glass or ceramic beads and other beading supplies