Siggie

Might we not say that every child at play behaves like a creative writer,
in that he creates a world of his own, or, rather,
rearranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him?”
Sigmund Freud

SIGGIE

Siggie created the world in new way, which pleased her. Every day.

In the summer she would get up before the sun. She wouldn’t take the scissors with her. She felt scissors were too cruel, snipping stems with lethal blades. Bending and snapping was much more humane. Her gentle touch and gracious thank you to each stem was more kind. Siggie knew flowers would be pickable only if they were ready. Mrs. Parson’s flowers were generous and no one would know that Siggie took them. She would never take more than needed, just a small bouquet that would fit perfectly into her slender hand.

In the dark she could never really tell what color the flowers were unless the moon was full, so Siggie’s bouquet was always a rainbow. Except once when all the colors were blue. That was a sign. The blue flowers were gathered the morning after the night Alfred left without telling her.

Siggie allowed the bouquet to dry out completely with no water in the vase because there was nothing left to water between Alfred and herself. Once they were dry and faded to a light yellow ocher with a hint of baby blue, she took the bouquet to the park on top of Smoky Hill and let the wind blow away each petal, one by one. And with each loss of a petal she remembered and then thanked Alfred for what he had given her. It was her way of saying good-by.

Every day Siggie would play. Today she sat in her chair by the window overlooking the alley. She was on a corner of the building and could see both the street and the alley, if she crooked her head out the window. Today she chose not the street with people emerging from their morning routines, but it was the alley she looked down.

Opening the window she felt the icy bite of wintered air. Early morning light didn’t shine all the way down to the end. Not just yet. It would take a few more minutes before the sun was high enough to make its crossing to illuminate the entire alley. Siggie knew this. She liked to watch the sun’s path over hers. Today it wasn’t the sun she wanted to play with though, it was the shadows that pulled her interest.

Darkness, shadows, black holes, fascinated Siggie. She always wanted to step into them to see where they would lead. She knew that they were just regular parts of the world veiled in black. But somehow, somewhere she knew deep down that there was more to shadow.

Siggie re-arranged her chair for a better look. A flash caught her eye. It wasn’t big. It was almost as if someone was lighting a match and then blowing it out immediately. Siggie didn’t move. She held her breath. Just as she was about to exhale, it happened again. This time it was more defined. It was a bigger flame. And just as soon as she realized it, again it was swallowed by the blackness.

Siggie decided three was the lucky number, the sign that she needed to investigate further. It took only another moment and there it was. The flame was bright blue, about the shape of a hand, fingers closed, palm flat facing her. It burned and flared. When it went out, it didn’t just vanish. It was as if it had been pulled away, sucked into the deep dark, black hole.

She had to hurry if she was going to find out what it was. She didn’t worry about shoes. Siggie knew she had to get down three flights of stairs, out the door, and through the alley before more sun threw its light to dissipate the secret.

It was cold, but that didn’t matter. She was in her pjs. That didn’t matter. Something inside Siggie told her that this was important. Something would be re-arranged when she found out what the light was.

“Good morning, Siggie.” Old Mrs. Crane peeked out of her door, always nosy as to what was happening in the building.

“Morning.” Siggie flew down the stairs.

“Ouch!” She slid in her socks and hit the front door too fast not getting it opened quickly enough. She bumped her elbow and forehead against it. Siggie never considered herself graceful.

As Siggie headed down the front steps, the sun was getting higher. She had to hurry.

A quick right turn and she bumped into a man with a backpack looking at his phone.

“Sorry.” Siggie spun him around. He paused and watched her disappear down the alley.

All she could think of was the sun. She could feel starting to cross the back of her head. And it was getting higher.

Just as Siggie’s feet came to edge of the darkness, the sun positioned itself just right to extinguish the last bit of shadow. Everything that was once in blackness shined as if it was taking a curtain call. Laying at her feet were three spent matches. The number three was a lucky number, a sign.

Siggie picked up the burnt sticks and walked back to her apartment.

.
.
.

Author’s Note:

Today I was lucky to offer a Creative Arts Gathering at my church. At A Church of the Holy Family, ECC, I am honored to be their Artist-In-Residence this year. I am grateful to have not only the space to create and write, but the people who love doing it alongside me.

The format is open to all, not just for writers. All forms of creators are welcome. I offer a prompt from which we can write, draw, or meditate. Or not. Artists may work on any project of their choice. We do this for a half hour without talking. Then we share, also optional.

I chose our prompt from a site that continually offers me inspiration – Tweetspeak. Take a look at what they do. It is tremendous. Today we used Tweespeak’s current Poetry Prompt – Daydreaming.

For my story, Siggie, I used words from the quote by Sigmund Freud.

Sealed From The Light

I sealed my eyes, clasped your hand with sinew so resolute
I would not keel.

I couldn’t see, didn’t believe I could find my own way
in the blinding light.

My grip tired. My eyes craved dawn. I let loose the ligature,
unlatched my eyes.

My urgency was not to see, not trail beyond where I stood,
but unravel in my own Being.

I stand as myself next to you, equal, warmed and gentled
from Within, well equipped for the free fall.

.

.

.

Author’s Note:

I marvel at my ridiculous dependence, over a half-century, upon a carefully constructed lectionary to tell me the Story. A Story offered that is only a piece of a very large and luscious meal.

Yes, it is my own undoing, or laziness, or fear. I didn’t push myself early enough to overcome it, to be brave in, or to free myself to look back and forward, to question. Somehow I needed to learn to trust the Voice Inside.

I learned the hard way, or maybe it was just a longer route. I was growing my wings stronger. I didn’t understand that they could be built during the free fall.

Even so, I need to release the guilt, the shame, the self-condemnation. There is no time for that.

Moving on.

On Friday I started my day with Street Psalms‘ reflection of Sunday’s gospel reading in their Word From Below weekly reflection, Brigand’s of the Lord. It is always good stuff. Oh, the thieves on both sides of the cross – “gang members.” I encourage you to read it. But I wasn’t seeing clearly enough yet.

Nadia Bolz-Weber‘s quote from a review of her new book about the meaning of the Cross and sinners, fell right into my lap. It was another way to understand Fr. Scott’s Celtic Conversation asking us what it means to be blessed and how that works with the crucified Christ. And still, I wasn’t satisfied.

So, I began again. I reread the 1st and 2nd readings and the Psalm responses. Then I read all of Psalm 33 in the ESV and then in the Message. I usually don’t use the Message for the Psalms, but yesterday wouldn’t let me rest until I did.

In a last attempt I went back to the Gospel of Mark in the Message, but this time I didn’t stop at the end of the chosen lectionary verse 45 where I was told to STOP. I read to the end of the chapter. Then I went back and read what came before.

I am learning to let go of finding the “right” or “only” way. I realize that I can use experience, wisdom, and knowledge of others to help me see. But in the end, I must stand alone on my own feet, open my eyes and ears, and let the free fall continue to build my wings even greater.

How does this relate to the readings?

Simply, it is not my place to put myself in or request a seat of judgment. I must see that Jesus is not about judgment.

I must see our Holy One from within, seeing the Light in what I can do, am called to do, been given the gifts to do. Do you see?

And remember the root command – love one another.

There is no room for judges here, only lovers.

Lady Wisdom

Bridge-Bond-Monuments-Places-Fog-Golden-Gate-Pacif-7748The fog is anxious

but the clearing,

slow may it be,

much patience required,

the opening ravishes.

.

.

.

Author’s Note:

The first time I visited San Francisco, we walked the city. We didn’t rent a car but used public transportation. Our first morning out, we took the bus to the bridge.

It was foggy. Just fog and the roar of traffic.

At the visitor center, we asked where the bridge was. From behind the counter came a point to the picture window, “It’s right there.”

My husband and I looked at one another and shrugged.

“Just take the steps up.” The finger returned to the newspaper on the counter turning to the next page.

And an afterthought, “Watch out for traffic. And just keep walking.”

So we walked up the steps and the traffic noise grew, surged through the fog without showing itself.

As we continued, we began to see ghost cars melting into grey. There was one lone figure ahead of us on the wide sidewalk with just enough clarity to make out his form. As we approached, he stopped. The three of us saw only the faintest outline of the bridge, a picture frame flat and almost nondescript.

When we reached him, he turned and handed us his camera. We obliged. He reclaimed it, bowed slightly, and began to walk back to the steps. We shared what we were told: just keep walking. He hesitated and without a reply disappeared down the steps into the soup.

We looked at one another and just continued walking.

It wasn’t long. Rather quickly, as a matter of fact, that as we passed under the first arch we could see the fog clearing. We kept walking. Cars became sharper to match the bluster. I could now see across the traffic to the opposite side of the bridge opening to the ocean and began to distinguish waves roaring in harmony with the rush hour madness.

My husband tapped me on the shoulder in our pause. He whispered, “Turn around.”

There it was, the city of San Francisco, the bay, and the bridge with the fog falling away, candy-colored in the bright morning sun.

Wisdom is there, always.

She waits for me to simply listen, press on in the present moment. There I will meet her.

If I release my worry, my need for control, my fear. If I sit with my choices and understand they are past done, I see her opening the door for me to make new choices to live the life I’ve been given.

I can choose to continue on, or turn back.

I choose Lady Wisdom.
.

.

.

And More:

Thank you, Scott Jenkins, for Celtic Conversations this past year at a Church of the Holy Family, ECC. I have grown and changed and learned to release. You’ve given us time to rest and question in a place of safety filled with compassion. Thank you, Padre.

A bit of synchronicity for this week. Our Celtic Conversations and the Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 11, 2015, from the USCCB.org:

Reading 1 WIS 7:7-11

Reading 2 HEB 4:12-13

San Francisco Bay Bridge Photo courtesy of: Bridge-Bond-Monuments-Places-Fog-Golden-Gate-Pacif-7748

Random Acts of Poetry Day, Showing the Love

 

Sharing the love from yesterday’s Random Acts of Poetry Day. Random-Acts-of-Poetry-Day-Hairpin

Thank you, Tweetspeak Poetry for inspiring us to share the love of poetry randomly around the world. Let’s do it again next year!

My first grade class at Independence Elementary in Colorado spent the day randomly visiting classrooms to share their favorite poems. We wrote our morning and evening chants on colorful sentence strips and placed them on the walls all over the building. Our principal asked us to keep them up because on Friday principals 12115975_10206529840036695_4543547717059554816_nfrom all over the Cherry Creek School District will be visiting us and she wants them to see our love of poetry. So our random acts will continue to spread through the week and, hopefully, other schools.

I also gave a copy of Tania Runyan’s How to Write a Poem to one of our teachers. Ms. Hearne in third grade won the drawing and says she will use it with her class. Yay!12112477_10206528920493707_1837883931268855796_n

And…yesterday, I was presented a copy of the Psalms, the poetry of the bible, by my new “family.” I was named the first Artist-In-Residence at A Church of the Holy Family, ECC in Aurora, CO. I am so grateful to know how Fr. Scott Jenkins, Kelsey, and Jennifer and all in my church community in their passion for Celtic Christianity honor the role of the bard.

My heart is full.

I love poetry. I hope you do, too!

Artist-In-Residence

It is with great gratitude and humility that I am so very happy to announce that I have been named the first Artist-In-Residence by our Parish Leadership Team at A Church of the Holy Family, ECC in Aurora, Colorado. We are a church in the Ecumenical Catholic Communion who truly welcomes all.

I will be be developing ways for our community to share our stories through the arts. I myself am a writer and actor, but we have artisans of all types, ages, and passions within our family. We will be discovering, acknowledging, and sharing them with one another and the world.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Lexanne

11987213_512093022277176_8227185338563207095_n

A recent post from our pastor, Fr. Scott Jenkins:

The passion in your heart will guide you…

That is the answer to several questions I am usually asked over the course of a twelve month period. Somewhere around February or March, juniors and even seniors in high school will begin to verbalize a stirring of the waters in their hearts. “How do I know what I am supposed to do with the rest of my life?” “How do I know what I want to do when I grow up?” These questions carry a lot of energy, they are very important, and the answers seem to be the most elusive thing in the whole world!

Over the years, I have come to believe that God is the best communicator of all time. I believe that when we say, “God has created us in God’s image,” or “God loves us”, we are saying a whole bunch of things that are great to hear and trust. It means God wants us to reflect the awesome, life-changing love we have received and pass it on fully to others.

I have come to believe it means we all have been created with unique gifts to make the world a better place. And…I believe that God has given each of us a holy desire, a flaming passion that matches our giftedness and we are to unite the two in discovering what to do with the life we have been given. Our gifts + our passion = the path to our vocation, what our major will be in college or where do I volunteer now that I am retired? God wants us to know about our life path. There is no game of hide and seek going on here.

The same is true in Community life. People ask, “What are we going to focus on next year?” “Where shall I put my energy?” I love to hear these questions! It leads to a path of listening and eventually to discovery! Tell me…what are you passionate about? When you know this, you will be involved in something that ignites your life. If you have not discovered your passion, I look forward to walking with you so we may prayerfully discover it together.

What will Holy Family do next year? I believe we will bring about a real life engagement of our vision statement which boldly proclaims that we will…”foster a progressive environment that empowers spiritual growth and community service!” I am excited to see how this will show itself through all of us.

In Christ, Father Scott

holyfamily_logo2
A Church of the Holy Family, ECC
16738 E. Iliff Ave
Aurora, CO 80013-1135

 

 

Filters, Poems by Lexanne Leonard

It is with great joy and gratitude that I announce the publication of my first book of poetry at Amazon. com.

51AXbhseg6L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

I discovered my love of writing in 2009 at the Colorado Writing Project. For two weeks teachers of elementary school students gathered to expand our skills in the teaching of writing. What we didn’t know was that we were going to be asked to become writers ourselves. The mornings were filled with research and lesson plans and the sharing of ideas. In the afternoons, we wrote. There I discovered I am a writer.

Fast forward a few years and another milestone in my life came as I stepped away from the Roman Catholic Church and found Fr. Scott Jenkins at A Church of the Holy Family. It is a Catholic, but not Roman, church of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. The ECC truly welcomes all.

Here I found a love for the arts – poetry, theatre, music, visual. I also found a place that creates space for Passage Meditation and numerous ways to pray and learn to live a Christ-centered life through a Celtic lens.

Soon I was writing and acting in plays, designing liturgy and liturgical space, composing prayers, and most important to my journey, writing lots of poetry. Filters is an encapsulated account of my faith journey.

During this time my monologues were published in two editions of Audition Monologues for Young Women compiled by Gerald Lee Ratliff. My poetry is included in How To Write A Poem by Tania Runyan, published by T.S. Poetry Press. Two of my poems will be seen in Casual next April 2016 in Tweetspeak Poetry‘s e-book for National Poetry Month.

Finally, my Advent devotional commissioned by A Church of the Holy Family will be available on Amazon.com this coming Advent season.

I thank all of my family at Holy Family, as well as my husband, Leroy Leonard, Fr. Scott Jenkins, and Kathleen Gorman for their unwavering faith me. They gave me the encouragement, the hard-ass-stick-to-it-lady-you-can-d0-its, and led me to discover in myself where the Divine resides. I now realize that I actually do have a ministry – sharing the Word though poetry and theatre.

I am deeply grateful for the harvest of this season.

 

 

It Is Native

The fall began when noise roiled hot
leaving no space to catch its notice

Drop by drop the fallen exploded
meshing itself within turbulence

I didn’t feel, just empty pocks
within, abandoned tiny voids

To hear Your call I had to learn
it is native, there my ear must rest

Still myself, sink into your hush,
overpass the cry of caterwaul

And like a snowflake first in storm,
no two alike, just me, listen

You called my name and filled the
blanks, Samuel touched the same

Not one of his words fell to the ground
so cherished are You, so devoted

I hear and see your gifts native to
my soul, entrusted only to me

I hold words, safe from slight
I relinquish who I am from Within

My foodstuff is word, my provender
a voice to carry vision of those

long gone, I stand with the fool
and the actor, the poet who

nourish native ground, deep
within where only You and I

are One. I beat a pondering
to pull all in to see. This is my

appointment, my named called,
as Samuel, I too, am the Divine’s servant.

.

.

Author’s Note:

Today at Mass I came once more, face-to-face with my life-long struggle. Our first reading was from 1 Samuel 3, God calling Samuel. The final line read was, “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.”

None of Samuel’s words fell to the ground.

Of course, they were not Samuel’s words. He was only the vehicle. Samuel’s job was to carry His words. I heard my call again.

As always, Fr. Scott challenges us in his homilies. His own work with the homeless in downtown Denver, our new space that will serve our families in Aurora, and all those amazing people who are in the trenches, cut deep into me.

Here I sit with “drama” and word.

I’ve struggled all my life, growing up with Roman Catholic guilt, wanting to help people.

I heard my call, His call, all of my life. I’ve acted since I could walk. In high school, college, and years of running a traveling theatre for children, that was where I thrived. And just a few years ago, I learned that I have a passion for writing.

But I wasn’t helping people.

And I needed health insurance and some kind of retirement. So I became a teacher leaving my other life behind, covering up the call, trying to ignore it. Fast-forward about thirteen years.

I found a new church, an amazing place, where a dear soul who somehow heard my call brought it back to my attention after years of neglect. He offered a safe place to try it out once more, this time with purpose. Not only have I been given the opportunity to act, but also to write.

I am learning to understand what I do does feed people. Not food for their bellies, but deeper. Most people don’t get this. “Drama” is not really seen as much more than entertainment.

I will continue on my path – writing, of course – but more important, bringing women from the bible to life through my vision and learning.

I will continue writing new liturgy with dramatic elements that challenge because it is an alternate way, not securely tucked into the box of traditional ritual.

Most importantly, I will continue to listen to the Voice from my native ground who grows my soul.

And as I grow up, listen to and believe what I hear, my words will not fall.