Showing posts from October, 2013

Vere (faith)

[State Theatre Company, October 2013]

I am holding my breath. Tears roll down my cheeks and I barely keep control. I join in the applause, though I am not ready to break the stillness. I am at the Dunston Playhouse, Adelaide, and we are at the end of a performance of Vere, by John Doyle.

He's brilliant, you know, Doyle, as a writer. The crafting of dialogue, the staging of scenes – it was as if we were eavesdropping on the moments of real people's lives. (not to mention all the technical details of Higgs Bosun, history, archaeology, and more) The actors were pretty skilful, too, in bringing the play, the characters, to life before us.

We see two evenings at the beginning of one man's Dementia; a fast-onset form of this undignified, frightening loss of self.
The playwright and actors portrayed not only this – the shaking hand, grief and interchanging confusion and clarity – but also autism, academic repartee, grieving son, over-zealous Christians (who made me cringe and wan…

the book takes flight on wings of love

On Wisdom's Wings has been launched, has taken flight into the hands of many - though there are plenty to go around, if you haven't caught a copy yet.

Yesterday at Nunyara Conference Centre, a venue that has been part of my story, and is part of my church and local communities, 40 or so people gathered (and many more in spirit whose bodies had to be elsewhere) to celebrate my debut poetry collection.

I put together an installation that celebrated the poetry with quills (my chosen symbol as a storyteller & poet), words, and some of my poems alongside the poems (and a print) that inspired them.

There were hugs, and that joyful sound of buzzing conversation. There was food and drink. The sun even shone through the clouds once in a while.

Then we launched the book.

Susan told our story, and I have to say, it was a delight to hear part of my story told from another's perspective. I never realised Susan, editor of a worship resource, had waited and wondered for my audition t…

the only way I know

for the land that burns in New South Wales,
those who live there, and those who are responding

as the rain falls
and birds discuss the weather
or whatever their tweets
are saying
I paint the rainbow,
greet the moon, and wonder
how to pray today?

how to pray as blue
mountains turn orange-
red, covered with a fiery curtain:

lighting a candle seems crass
somehow, and rudely out of place;
how can I walk when others run, in flight
or toward the fight of their lives?
is there a song i could sing, or music
play to pray the flames away?
would a dance send these clouds
to empty over there, though their gift
is not redundant here?
                                             in the face
of tragedy I cannot fathom
only encourages fear - but love
is the better food for prayer.

So I roll the ocean and spread
the wings of the dove and breathe.

When I look up my prayers have been
spoken, and I know they have been received -
though I don't know

in which I repeat myself with the year's themes of richness, reward and realisation of a dream

I am currently on leave from my congregational placement, a few weeks to concentrate on finishing my honours thesis.
Congregational life sure is complex, with all the reading, writing, organising, participating, gathering, teaching, facilitating, encouraging ... the being there for people to hear stories and help them know and live into the story of God's love for the world is a privilege, and it is demanding. Doing it part time means that there never is enough time to do what you would like to do, let alone do it well.  I've written here many times of my love for this role in congregational life, and for my particular bunch of Jesus followers at Belair Uniting. They're creative and active and support me with generosity and care.  This year, which I've also written about, my 'other half' of life beyond the congregation has been full and rewarding - rewarding years of hard work and sacrifice as I entered the dream that has ben slowly clarifying of being a storyt…

my children in the world

People are starting to read On Wisdom's Wings, and are letting me know how much they're enjoying it. Friends are holding the book and pointing to my name - that's you! It's delightful, and extends the moment of joy at my first publication.
And I received this text message this morning:

'Hi Sarah. Love your poems. Started them at 11pm, had a sleep and woke at 4 and finished the book! How can I buy copies? ... poems capture the essence of experience ... Thanks for your honesty.' Jill Atkinson.

Do let me know how you respond to the book, which poems move you and how. It's great to hear how they are engaging with people, and you with them.

of doing what we can

It feels terrible to have to listen to someone tell the story of women in Papua New Guinea who need protecting from violence, knowing that when they ask you for money at the end of the story, you'll have to say, I'm sorry, but I can't help.

Amnesty International have advocated for these women and helped to change legislation that offers better protection for them. But so many of the women do not know of the changes to the law; do not know they have avenues for help.

One of the laws that was changed was one that meant you could charge someone with sorcery and legally have them beaten, tortured, and beheaded in front of your community, as one teacher was earlier this year. Thank goodness - and Amnesty International - that archaic law is no longer.

I wish my purse strings were not drawn so tight. I wish I could spare some money to help. Perhaps I can have another look, find another hole to plug.

In the mean time, what I can do is help to tell the story, and encourage any who …

Introducing 'On Wisdom's Wings' - my debut poetry collection.

Look what just arrived!!!

This is my debut poetry collection, now available for purchase

Launch: 27 October, 3:30 pm, Nunyara Conference Centre Rev Jana Norman, introduced by Susan Burt
For the poems that were inspired by others' work, you'll be able to see them side by side; there will be food and drink, a chance to play with words and make a poem yourself, and I'll read a few out loud for the full experience of some of my favourite poems (though, really, how can you play favourites with your children ... ??) 


another poem created with the Instant Poetry App.

of the impact we have on others

Driving this morning - just now, in fact - I pulled up to a roundabout and paused to check out the traffic. I chose not to sneak in front of the car on my left, though if I had wanted to I probably had time. I was promptly beeped at by the driver behind me. Startled, and throwing an obvious glance through the rear vision mirror at him, I was taken aback by this man's impatience. At the next opportunity, I sped off, angry, and wanting to demonstrate my unhappiness.
As I calmed down, I wondered, Did he realise the negative impact his actions had on me? And then I wondered, How often have I behaved with impatience towards fellow drivers? There has been an impatience, an urgency, to my driving - to my living - of late, rushing from one thing to the next and to the next. And I dislike living like that.

I prefer for my being to have a spaciousness to it, contemplation and reflection cultivating attentiveness. Cultivating space for stories, for others, for God. What impact is the impatie…