Aldon Hynes's blog

Contemplative Snow Shoveling

It is still dark when I rise,
a late winter storm
having dropped
a heavy blanket
of snow
on the driveway.

I normally spend this hour
in contemplation and study
but I know
it will take me
much longer
to clear
the driveway.

The waning gibbous moon
hangs low in the western sky
flanked by two bright stars,
or perhaps
more likely,
by the planets
and Saturn.

I lean on my shovel,
I can feel each muscle
in my body.

Deep breaths.
What is your body telling you?
I feel my heart pounding
within my chest.
It is telling me
to go slowly
to pace myself;
wise advice
for both
the shoveling
and life.

The scape of my shovel
and the scrape
of a distant plow
are joined
by the wind chime
in the post storm

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How am I Called to Embody Love in the World?

In the online course I’m currently taking, we have been asked to reflect on the question, “How am I Called to Embody Love in the World?” As I listened to the guided meditation for the week, the question came to me in a different form, what sort of light are you?

We were asked to think about where we feel called to show God’s love. My thoughts drifted among the homeless, the immigrants, the refugees, and those seeking asylum. I thought of those who are strangers among us because of differences in sexual orientation, expression, or gender identity. I thought of those who are strangers among us because they come from different cultures or look different from ourselves.

The reflective exercise invited us to

Take a few minutes to look through the newspapers or magazines and notice if any picture attracts you or stands out for you.

Yet even that question reflects different cultures. I often write about Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants by Marc Prensky. The exercise seems written for the digital immigrants, still reading the newspapers of the old world. Those of us who identify as digital natives, or, if you are like me, a digital aborigine, may find a different formulation of the question resonates more.

Look through your Facebook feed. What articles or pictures catch your attention? What did you chose to share on your feed?

I’ve written about this in the past and I’ll take a quick view of my Facebook feed today, trying to put it into the context of the course.

Sunday was the final service of the priest at the church I attend. She has been a wonderful priest for our parish and will be greatly missed. Her departure was met with the combination of sadness at her departure as well as joy for her and her family in her new adventure as well as for the church that is so fortunate to have her as their new priest. A friend shared a meditation from Henri Nouwen about “Bringing the Spirit Through Leaving” that I reshared with best wishes for our priest. I also reshared various posts from church and from the going away party for the priest.

I continue to share my poems. Two of the most recent ones are centered around grief, inspired in part, by a friend whose husband died a few months ago. Grief, and donuts.

There are posts from an automated feed about connected learning. There are posts about some of the inane comments by members of the current administration. There are posts about health care, racism, visiting detainees, and local politics.

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Light of the World

You are the light of the world,
but what sort of light are you?

Are you the campfire
that everyone gathers around
for warmth and companionship,
perhaps to share some sweet food?

Are you the lighthouse
casting a light
for out o’er the sea
warning others
of nearby dangers?

Are you the spotlight
helping others
find something important
or focusing on
an actor on stage?

Are you the lights
at a party or concert
bringing joy
to all who see it?

Are you the flashlight
or candle
after the power has gone out?

Are you moonlight;
a reflection of some greater light?

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all you can do
is bring donuts
to those times
when there are no words

Maybe you ask,
“so, how are you doing?”
even though
you know
they aren’t doing
all that well.

It is an invitation
to speak,
to say anything,
no matter how
or profound.

You sit,
but fully present.

You hold
part of a donut
you could make it all better.

You look down at your hands
you could say something
do something,
and slowly
perhaps irreverently
or perhaps not,
the words
take shape
in your mind.

“This is my donut
broken for you.”

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“It wasn’t supposed to happen like this”
he thought as he crawled into his empty bed.
“We were supposed to grow old together.”

It had been like this every night
since his husband died a few months ago.

At first, he was incapacitated by grief
but slowly,
he managed to resume
some of the simple tasks of life.
Over the following weeks
he started relearning
how to live.

The death came
as unexpectedly
as their love;
an inter-racial
same-sex marriage
that broke just about
every taboo.

They had fallen in love
suddenly, impetuously
knowing that they could not live
without each other.

Their friends gathered
at the joining of two lives.

Then, just as suddenly
one half
of their shared life
came to an end
and the remaining half

“It wasn’t supposed to happen like this”

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