In it for the long haul
As I’m wont to do when my partner is away, I was up late last night, working on the computer until my eyes crossed. I remembered too late there was a program I’d wanted to watch but picked up the remote anyway.
I lucked onto a short documentary on William Stafford. He’s long been one of my favorite poets. I remember the sense of loss I felt when he died. I still have a bright memory of a reading he did at Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Company, as well as the books I bought that night.
The quote below slipped by too quickly in the documentary. I caught most of the first sentence, none of the second.
Fortunately, a retired pastor, Muriel T. Stackley, knew the whole quote and posted it in an essay on the Mennonite Weekly Review. She wrote: “This comes from a 1990 lecture at Bluffton University in Ohio, drawing on notes from Stafford’s four years in camps for conscientious objectors to war.”
I’m posting the quote for three reasons:
- I’ll need to re-read it now and then. Maybe I’ll even memorize it and pull it out of my mental hat next time someone asks questions that show they’re mystified by my spending so much time on blogs that don’t add coins to my coffers.
- I have decades of journals and letters that I haul with me whenever I move. Not every entry or letter is worth saving, but many are, at least while I’m alive to enjoy them.
- In mining those journals and letters for stories to share on the blogs, I’m re-visiting my life. There are passages painful to read, but mostly I look back with gratitude at all I’ve experienced.
Keep a journal, and don’t assume that your work has to accomplish anything worthy. Artists and peace workers are in it for the long haul and not to be judged by immediate results. Redemption comes with care. In our culture we can oppose but not subvert. Openness is part of our technique. ~ William Stafford