Selah

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I was intrigued by the word “Selah” when I first saw it on our list of one-little-words a few weeks ago. This will be interesting, I thought. When I started working on Michelle‘s one little word this week my initial intuition was confirmed. Selah doesn’t have a sure meaning.

“Selah” by the dictionary is: “An expression occurring frequently in the Psalms thought to be a liturgical or musical direction, probably a direction by the leader to raise the voice or indication of pause.” In the Amplified Bible, it’s transliterated “Pause and think of that.”

Despite or maybe because of this uncertain etymology it turns out to be a lovely word to take liberties with. I interpreted it as I would if it were my word and what it would say to me.

My real-life poet friend Laurel and I met yesterday and when I mentioned the subject of “Selah” she recalled she’d written about it too. She has given me permission to share her Selah poem with you. I love how we approached this differently—one as a seeker of Selah, the other as a serendipitous discoverer of it.

Picnic tables in the park

Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly

Selah (I)

Period. Don’t move
from this place till you’ve chewed
and swallowed the thought.
Delay. Mute the music.
Take a breathing space
a rest, lull, time out
maybe not as long as a coffee break
but at very least
a poet’s line break
or comma’s worth
of time.
Some lacuna in your life
will give it wholeness.
Take a hiatus
from your hurry.
Stop and listen.
Halt.
Hush.
Pause and think of that…
and then carry on.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Selah (II)

Where is it,
this place of rest I seek?
I never find it, but sometimes it finds me.
There I can hear my breath
and I know I am alive, still.
There, I am me, still,
with needs of my own.

I wait for the quiet to catch me

Surprise me with stillness,
sustain me with solitude,
only moments long but endless
in memory, cooling
the singed edges of my soul.

© 2005 by Laurel Archer (Used by Permission. All rights reserved)

(You can read more of Laurel’s wonderful poetry at her blog Four Parts Hope and her annual advent project Toward Christmas.)

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday hosted each week by Holly at Reading, Teaching, Learning. We are currently writing about the one-little-word each of us has chosen as our “banner” for the year.

Advent in poetry

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Traditional print "Bringing home the tree" - Artist unknown

“Bringing Home the Tree” – Traditional print from a German storybook: Artist unknown

A few years ago, my friend Laurel realized that Christmas would never be the way she remembered it or the way she was acccustomed to celebrating it. Her two kids (with autism spectrum disorder) couldn’t handle the upheaval and stimuli. The family had to cut way back on decorating, gift-giving, traveling, eating… The story of how she made peace with that reality and still celebrates, only in a different way, is HERE.

One thing Laurel does is observe Advent. On December 1st each year her wonderful blog TOWARD CHRISTMAS gets activated. It becomes a tool to help not only her but all who read, to focus on the themes and deep meanings of Christmas.

This year she invited me to play along with her and her writers guild. We’re following the story of Jesus’ incarnation through Jesse Tree readings. Every day a new poem at TOWARD CHRISTMAS!

Why don’t you follow along?

Update on Thursday. We’ve seen some fine poems so far. I love the prose poem “Creation” by Denice Bezoplenko that appeared yesterday. It begins:

cre·a·tion /krē ā SH(e)n/ noun  1Affection, brooding; Divine Intent, hovering, subtly, over earth, air, fire, and water, sun, moon, stars, and dust.  2. Word, wooing elements into a slow dance.  3. Love, drawn to our dark matter (who knows why?), finding home in us, loving the place, lighting it up; becoming the soft animal, intimately curled, putting the coffee on… ” read entire…

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Though Laurel’s experience isn’t part of my spiritual journey, in a way it is. For we’ve all come across adversity which brings us to a fork in the road. We can wallow in self-pity and bitterness, or choose to make something good of our less-than-perfect situation.

spiritual-journey-framed

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning.