Those of you who met me as a school teacher, those of you whom I "taught" during the Ribbon's organizing in 1982-1985, those of you in the workshops that then grew out of the idea for a Ribbon around the Earth, to ALL of you, Greetings.
In the classroom, in the workshops we sat in a circle. HOWEVER, if it was a really important lesson, a message I felt needed to be lifted up, I would stand to teach. I am pretty sure I raised the fore finger of my right hand to point to the chalk board, the easel with its butcher paper AND you, as I called you by name.
Think of me then this morning in the second week of the war with Iraq. I am standing, calling you by name for THIS is an important message.
Your letters, emails, phone calls to me reflect your sadness, frustration, anger after your months and years of prayers and good works to bring Peace on Earth. Read do read carefully the following "lesson" as I point at you or someone like you around the Earth.
I cannot place a needle nor a paint brush in your hands. So, beginning with the "As" I will point to you and say
Angela, it is time for you to create a piece of The Ribbon. Since you study the stars in our heavens, consider placing your favorite constellation on fabric. Yes, you could embroider it but you could also have a section of the sky at night placed on fabric. And yes, just pausing to consider your favorite constellation in the midst of your busy sophomore year at the university. in Arizona, that pause is a Grace.
Bob, you have painstakingly begun to make your stitches on a pillow case. You were once a skilled photographer. Now you ask Marion to thread the needle so you can trace a lifeline remembering all of your journeys. It is a slow process. You tell me you have found peace in those small stitches.
Jesse, in 1982 my friend Jean Cronin provided the art work for the very first Ribbon flyer. She sketched Matisse's DANCE. Now you have given a print of DANCE to me. Think of all the threads, the paint strokes you transfered to fabric. Take your sadness and fatigue and turn them into beauty.
Karen, how hard you have worked and prayed for Peace in Colorado this last year. Surely it is time to ask your sister to sketch the Meadow Lark. Or the grass and flowers on the golf course where you walked Sandy, that beloved dog.
Misao, we met in Tokyo through the Ribbon. The children of your church still create and walk with Ribbons to pray for peace. Isn't it time again for the Methodist congregation of which you have been a faithful member for many years to turn again to their needles, paint brushes. photograph albums and memories?
Peg, we met at a Quaker meeting during the Ribbon organizing in the '80s. This week you wore black to stand outside the locked doors of the Eugene Federal building in a quiet act of civil disobedience. In your beautiful statement before cameras and reporters, you said this was the only way now for you to voice your opposition to the war. Peg, begin a Ribbon, find some quiet in holding on to fabric. As a Quaker you know the value of silence. Give yourself a blessing of silence by creating a piece of Tangible Hope.
Noomi in Sweden - how many Ribbons you created for the Ribbon around the Earth! Take time to create one now as the missiles strike.
Rod, how angry you are in Australia about these new deaths, these new woundings, maimings as Australia cooperates with the USA. You have spent much of your life since we met in Africa teaching Theater, writing plays, producing plays. It would not take long to use a wide paint brush to simply paint the title of a play that your have valued. That title would hold what you cannot say to the authorities - this play could be lost forever.
Suzanne in Canada. We met in Rio. What would, could you place on fabric as your 17 year old son tells you dissent is futile?
Terrell in Massachusetts, you were too busy in 1985 to create a Ribbon of your own, but you saw its power. On a bookshelf in my apartment I have a photograph of your two children and that wonderous dog with the sad, sad face. Isn't there time now, after the early morning's news of fresh strikes to get it on muslin?
Ulla in Finland you have remembered the healing power of stitches. You have made a pillow using embroidery starches and to reproduce that photograph on muslin of one of your sons, his wife, his child. Surely you could find a piece of fabric 18"X36"and begin again.
These are not all the names in my address book, but represent so many of you in so many places around the Earth. So many of you who are speechless after the latest "live coverage" of the horror.
In the faith tradition I follow, it is Lent. The stories for Lent are under the Stories button on the menu page. Three poems for Lent are under POETRY.
I TRUST you have taken time to read this long letter.
take time to read the following
read the Pax Christi Prayer for a New Society. I believe it will speak to each of you, to ALL of you.
May it be a candle in our darkness