Living not in Vain

Our second Springtime since the pandemic began is in full bloom…

I once knew someone who kept a stack of poetry books in the bathroom – a busy man, when nature called, he would use the time to nourish his soul with the Magical Gift of Poetry, succinct, easily digestible, and sometimes in a moment, Life-altering. It always impressed me how poets – all writers really — could rearrange those same 26 letters of the alphabet over and over and over again to make us feel such a range of emotions.

A little over a year ago, we were all buzzing about.

We’d probably begun to hear about some virus, and at least in New York, we had survived SARS and MERS, and perhaps we’d seen some Folks from Asian countries on airplanes wearing surgical masks and thought something might be going on that affected people far, far away…

Most of us had no idea what was about to happen, or the scope of the journey upon which we had already embarked.

The Great World Shift had begun – we just hadn’t reacted to it yet or taken it seriously.

And here we are now over a year in, still wondering what we can do.

There is a Zen saying, “Be where you are. Otherwise, you will miss most of your Life!”

And so, let’s look at where we are.

Right Now, in this present moment.

Is there a Road “Back?”

Or do the Roads of this Life Journey lead only Forward?

If there is a choice, which do we choose?

Sure, there are things we miss.

But are there not things we’ve found?

Perhaps we’ve baked some Cookies. Lord Knows, I have!

Can we not name three Gifts that have come out of this Pandemic and various stages of Quarantine that we might not have discovered otherwise?

For me, there are support meetings, mediation classes and spiritual practices of various kinds that my busy schedule did not allow me to attend regularly – and I have been more faithful in showing up for such things than ever before.

Perhaps that is the convenience of Zoom, but more likely, it is about being humbled into the need for support and recognizing more deeply what the poet JOHN DONNE penned so Beautifully (Feel free to substitute more inclusive language as you read below):

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe

is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as

well as any manner of thy friends or of thine

own were; any man’s death diminishes me,

because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

For another, I have upgraded my computer acumen significantly,

Being forced to accomplish tasks once more easily done in person.

So with the Gift of this Time, I have Learned new things!

And Learning is Always Good.

And for yet another, I have spent time creating GRATEFUL READY OPEN WILLING.

This Dream of mine for eight years or so, now Exists.

As a song in the musical WORKING puts it, “Something to Point To.”

“Something to Point To”

It has been a Creative Act of Love, and you may find us on a variety of Platforms(Just click the highlighted link below to join, follow, or subscribe on the platform of your choice…):

FaceBook, as both a Group and a Page

A Youtube Channel, offering a variety of Videos

Instagram, with Inspiration and Stories

Twitter, with Inspirational thoughts way shorter than this Blog

And a website under construction.

Here’s a recent talk about BLACK HISTORY MONTH…


People are overwhelmed with content these days.

Perhaps we’ve built a snowman…

Doesn’t Matter!
Let’s all have the courage to offer what we have!

Perhaps eventually, collectively, we will offer enough that is good to Heal this World!

And to those of you who read what I write or Listen or accept any of my Offerings,

I am Grateful to You!

Perhaps what we offer will reach, not everyone in the world as the mythology of Social Media leads us to falsely believe, but rather the one who needs, just in that exact moment, to hear just what we have to say.

That happens sometimes. The Universe is Miraculous that way.

In the words of Emily Dickinson:

“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”

And so, perhaps as we ride further into the horizon of our ongoing Communal Experience of this world pandemic, it would be worth thinking upon this Life that we are Living,


Moving Forward,

The way we drive it, whether that is by Active Participation or by Abdication,

Where it might be Leading us,

And where else we would like to go,

What else we might like to see,

What else we might like to do

With this precious gift of the Time that we have!

Perhaps we have been largely unaffected by what the Most Fabulous BRENDA BRAXTON calls this “Pan-Damn-Demic”

Or perhaps we have been engaged in the care of a Loved One who suffered a bout with COVID-19,

Or perhaps there is a Hole left in our Heart from the Loss of someone who succumbed to this dread illness, and we are engaged in a slow and confusing process of Healing…

With each breath of Life we take,

and each step forward,

and even in the stillness of our inertia,

we are participating in this Communal Experience.

And the Light we shine – sometimes dimly while we are recharging, and other times Dazzling as we connect, tuned in, tapped in, and turned on – Lights the World in its ever-changing hue!

We are Worthy!

We are Welcome.

Our Offering may be just the Much-Needed thing that the World has access to nowhere else except through you and your Life-Living!

Perhaps we’ve planted some flowers…

And point to that Building, or that thing you do or offer or made, or even to your own stillness.

Offer it to the World…

Speak out Loud, like the Whos of Whoville, “I am Here!”

Just Be Present!

As this Great Shift continues to reset our footing

And we Open

And Bless

And Thrive

And Together, each of us doing the Very Best that we can…

For we are part of this collective of Humanity!
Let us take our Place with satisfaction

For all we Do

For all we Are

For all that God has made of us

And all that we are Making of Ourselves!
Let us Give Thanks

And Move Forward


And Unapologetic

For all that we Are

And all we are Yet to Be!

Both distinguished as individuals

And Collectively as a part of the Whole

And all that is Holy…

…Our World

…Our Selves

As AMANDA GORMAN put it in “The Hill We Climb,”

“…our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,

battered and beautiful.

When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid,

the new dawn blooms as we free it.

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it.

If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

# # #

Leave a comment


  1. Mamie Duncan-Gibbs

     /  April 11, 2021

    Beautifully written. Thanks so much Arnold! My prayer has been to make a difference every moment I breathe. It’s nice not having the focus on myself. 💕


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