Inspired and Sidelined

Front Porch 2015This morning the soft summer rain was coming down all around me as I sat, sheltered on the front porch on the comfy Muskoka chair with a hot coffee in one hand and Etty Millesum‘s,  An Interruped Life and Letters from Westerbork in the other.  I was inspired by the wonder of the moment and by the words I was reading.

The cedar trees hung heavy with the wetness and seemed strangely blurred by the rain falling between them and me.  The birds flitted and flapped from branch to fence and back again singing their delightful chorus with no particular melody but mixing into a wonderful composition of sound.  There was a chipmunk very displeased with my presence who kept chirping loudly to frighten me away but it didn’t work.  The wind chime hung silent because there was no breeze but the occasional drip from the steel roof would land on it and give it a sudden shudder of movement.  The large tropical plant beside me was also moved occasionally by the big drops and a splash would land on my foot or forehead and startle me to smile.

The porch is my favourite summer haunt but it has taken me a while to get it in shape this year.  The plants have been out there for a while getting their dose of summer fresh air.  I think I can hear them yelling at me to move them outside when the days get long and the air is stifling in the house.  Finally yesterday I painted the chairs and now I’m able to enjoy it even though the plank floor still needs painting.  For the moment the porch is the closest I will come to a “She Shed”.  My next big project there is to conquer the ever present issue of mosquitoes.  They seem to love the cedar trees as much as the cardinals and chipmunks do.  They interrupt my hope to read into the darkness of evening.

I don’t know when the last time was I was moved by a writer as I am by Etty Hillesum.  She is a young Jewish woman living in occupied Holland during WWII.  Her fate is as so many of her age and her dream of being a writer ended in Auschwitz.  The world was robbed because if her musings in the work I’m reading are an indication of her talent she might have turned the world upside down.  As it is she is turning mine upside down a bit.  She moves me to write and while I too dream of being a writer I am hopeful with her, of putting to thought to paper.

Etty says in the first paragraph of her journal, “This is painful and well- nigh inseparable step for me: yielding up so much that has been suppressed to a blank sheet of lined paper.  The thoughts in my head are sometimes so clear and so sharp and my feelings so deep, but writing about them comes hard.”

A few days later she says, “At times I can suddenly see a subject clearly and distinctly, think my way through it, great sweeping thoughts that I can scarcely grasp but which all at once give me an intense felling of importance.  Yet when I try to write them down they shrivel into nothing and that’s why I lack courage to commit them to paper – in case I become too disillusioned with the fatuous little essay that emerges.”

And so it was for me this morning.  I sat there in the rain with all sorts of grand ideas about what I might write today and all the great things I could accomplish to change my world and the whole world.  I came inside, set my cup down, headed toward the computer and got completely sidetracked from creativity with the need to clear the clutter from my desk and make room for my many projects.

Perhaps I too am afraid I will be disillusioned with the fatuous little essay that might emerge.

Perhaps I will find find inspiration every day until finally I am able to follow through and create some wonderful work which will turn hearts and move mountains but for now I will commit to this little effort every day as a beginning.


About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises (, I work as an "Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and as a spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 22 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. A firmly grounded faith and a passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director and I am soon adding to that a license to marry people. As I move toward retirement I am very aware that I have to keep working so I chose to do things which will meet my modest financial needs and also my love of supporting people in their life journey. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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