Hindsight and Now

Looking back, I 


the racial hatred that

simmered in my own



and the church 

I attended 

when visiting 

my grandparents. 
I helped my grandpa

hand out bulletins

as people 

walked into 

the sanctuary. 

In the early seventies 

I remember him,

tall, weathered,


matching his light blue

summer Sunday suit,

standing at the church

discussing with another

church deacon

the problem of 

those “n—-s!

taking over.”

He repeated a similar 

diatribe against

Negroes (the appropriate word 

used then) at the family

dinner table one 

evening, along with

the hateful words

“greasy, lazy”.

I was shocked then,

because I loved my grandpa

and I knew his behavior was

Years later, I met

my beautiful friend,


She was an ordained 

Episcopal priest, 

who had also been

a model. Her elegance

and style made her 

seem younger than her years. 

She told me the story 

of moving as a child, with her large,

sharecropping family 

to a new town. 

Together, they walked

a couple of miles

to a new church. 

They were barred from 

entering the sanctuary 

because of their 

dark-colored skin. 

I gasped as Mary told me this. 

She gave me a steady look, saying:

“You know this happened.”

She said it as a firm 

And the years rolled away 

as my hindsight confirmed the

truth of her experience 

and our nation’s 


I had only been 

too comfortable 

in my own life

to forget for a time,

the scars that

others bear for 

the blame, 



the other. 
Having privilege 

means, in part,


to your own 


Just now, none of us

can afford to

not see

where the blame and hatred

that boils up generation,

after generation,

is driving 

©Laurie Lynn Newman 

How to Live When Things Are Not “Normal”

1.  Wake up. 

2.  Remember that this day is gift. 

3.  Get out of bed. 

4.  Notice beauty. ( Are the birds chirping?

Is there a cool breeze?  A sunrise? A smile?)

5.  Give thanks. 

6.  Take care of yourself. (Stretch. Walk, if you can, or run, skip, swim  or do Tai Chi). 

7.  Keep abreast of the news, but only once. Do not replay it one thousand times. 

8.  Find someone to share food with. Have a picnic. 

9.  Put the phone away for some minutes and take deep breaths. 

10.  Listen to music. ( If you can find someone playing in person, and make music together, even better!)

11.  Create something. 
12.  Live as though today is the most precious moment. 

©Laurie Lynn Newman

Where the Heart Is

Now, left with some

days and weeks mostly free of obligation 

with a calendar that is blessedly blank,

the wanderlust that lives in me

is quietly musing

while I sit on the front stoop

and watch the hummingbird 

sample the red and purple blossoms. 

The jogging mom pushing 

the baby-buggy greets me

and I hear the persistent drone

of honeybees. 

I have so many questions:

How did we, as a country,

allow ourselves

to slide into such unbridled 


Where is the balance between 

engaged activism and wise acceptance?

What do my sons need most from me

as they make their first grown-up

choices? When to stay silent

and when to speak?

How do I see what is not illusion 

but truth , in all its fearful 


and quiet


©Laurie Lynn Newman


This day may be full

of all that needs to be done

and then some. 

And your shoulders might ache a little

with the weight of responsibility. 

It may seem like rest

and peace is a concept 

flitting even beyond your dreams. 
But somewhere,

pillow-clouds are floating above

a serene lake

while the sun warms the earth. 

Dragonflies are sailing over thistle

and sage is swaying a waltz 

in the purple field. 
If you are too tired to dream,

then simply hold

open your heart 

and your mind to 


It will find the quiet nook

in you and 


©Laurie Lynn Newman 


In the dust-blown desert,

parched as a runner

at marathon’s end
rain comes suddenly 

lightning forking the darkened sky,

the popping of thunder
gun-like and stark:

a reminder of nature’s strength,

frightening and exquisitely powerful. 
Within seconds, water is sliding

over rocks and dirt

and pooling in puddles. 
From the earth arises

a fragrance that pricks the nose

with freshness. 
The air is charged with energy and 

the sweet earthy  petrichor. 

We breathe it in, we breathe it out. 


Twenty-thousand meals. 

That’s about how many meals

I have planned, prepared

and served

to feed my offspring,

beginning with feeding

myself and children in

Is it healthy?

Is it nourishing?

Will they eat it?

Are they fed?
They survived

infancy and dangerous 


Some time ago

they became capable 

of feeding themselves 

and they often 

do so. 
They are annoyed 

that I worry

about the food they

eat or 

don’t eat. 
But, that doesn’t stop

my planning, 

that calculus of concern,

wanting them to 

and imagining 

their twilight years

in good health

based on their 

early life. 

They are fledging now

and sometimes truly

out of the nest. 

And now, I am being 

not as much 

swooping-in, like

a mother bird

focused on


and choosing every day

ways I can thrive 

and live,

and with hope in many

more evenings

with family, and old and 

new friends 

around the 

dinner table. 
©Laurie Lynn Newman 


The single 

musical phrase

haunts my

imagination, happily

resounding in my core

and I discover the clue

in that passage 

of J.S. Bach:
What makes my

heart leap and

eyes weep

is the musical 

“counterpoint ”
where the relationship 

between voices 

are harmonically 


and yet

independent in rhythm

in contour
Which is precisely what

I seek in relationship:

one with whom there

is interdependence 


 enjoyment moving

to each day’s music
but with each of us 

independent in the shape 

of our own lives. 

Like all good 


it springs 

from attentive presence,

deep listening and 

I want to sing


with focus and joy,

making music that

sweetens another life

and brings more beauty 

into being. 

©Laurie Lynn Newman