Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust

Post Humus

Scatter my ashes in my garden
so I can be near my loves.
Say a few honest words,
sing a gentle song,
join hands in a circle of flesh.
Please tell some stories
about me making you laugh.
I love to make you laugh.

When I've had time to settle
and green gathers into buds,
remember I love blossoms
bursting in spring.
As the season ripens
remember my persistent passion.

And if you come in my garden
on an August afternoon,
pluck a bright red globe,
let juice run down your chin
and the seeds stick to your cheek.

When I'm dead I want folks to smile
and say, "That Patti, she sure is
some tomato!"
                                                   -Patti Tana

The last line of this poem always makes me smile.  A little humor in the midst of grief combined with an affirmation of life in spite of death, it's much appreciated.  (If you click on the title of the poem it will take you to the poet's website, and you'll be able to listen to her reading of the poem.)

The architect Katrina Spade has an idea that goes several steps beyond scattering the ashes of the dead in a garden.  Click on the last word in this sentence and the link will take you to a podcast of The Current, during which Spade lays out her proposal regarding composting the dead.

My family has my permission to compost me.  I love the idea of turning into earth. Granted, I don't dwell on the bugs and worms part of the decomposition process.  Instead I imagine the final product, the rich, nutrient-filled top soil; so necessary for the flourishing of life. Contributing to that end, even after my end, feels true.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Meditate On These Things

"Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."  Phil 4:8,9 (The Message)
Heard Dr. Rick Hanson speak on a City Arts and Lectures broadcast.  His story of learning to linger on small, positive moments reminded me of Paul's admonition to meditate on virtues.  The apostle doesn't tell readers how to practice this meditation, so try Dr. Hanson's HEAL method and see if it helps you fill up on God's most excellent harmonies.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fair Debt Collection Practices

The Federal Trade Commission has information on its website about  fair debt collection practices--

Debt Collection
File a Complaint if you are being harassed by a debt collector

If your municipality has turned over your fine to a debt collection agency that then charges you exorbitant interest rates, court costs and legal fees, know that you are not alone.  Unfortunately, many citizens are caught in the same situation.  The injustice of this practice is galvanizing opposition against it, and calls for reform are growing louder.  This is a systemic evil that keeps people trapped in poverty, not an individual failing on your part, and it requires a systemic reform through political action.

Efforts to reform municipal court debt collection practices in Missouri are already underway.  For the sake of the least of these, I pray that these efforts will be successful and will set an example that the rest of the states follow.