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SIMPLICITY: Thomas Merton by Philip Harnden

From Journeys of Simplicity


French-born American Roman Catholic priest and Trappist monk

Father Louis, as Thomas Merton was known to his fellow monks, lived his last years as a hermit in the woods near his Cistercian abbey.  172 more words

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“In life there three important things. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” 6 more words


What Was it That They Saw?

Since but a toddler I most wond'ring be
At this mysterious phenomenon:
Those indistinct souls throughout history
Who found themselves a suff'ring road upon

With others like them suff'ring all around
Limited of resource -- a tragic age
In which do tend to flourish and abound
Little but petty selfishness and rage

We later hear of those who had a smile
Even their most corrupt companions for
And stories to the children with beguile
Putting another's hunger theirs before

Yet for these no renown will ever be
When others saw but dirt -- what did they see?


SIMPLICITY: On Traveling Light by Philip Harnden

From Journeys of Simplicity

Twelve hundred years ago in China a middle-aged man named P’ang Yün loaded everything he owned onto a boat and sank it all in the Tung’t’ing Lake.  789 more words

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Givin' it Up For Love

I was on an odyssey
In search a partner of
A bus to San Francisco
Was supposed to bring me love

Of course, when I arrived there
The gentleman I went to meet
Affable and am'iable
Intellectual and sweet

Turned out to be living in
The van which came to pick me up
And had such a bad attitude
I very swiftly got fed up

And calculated that a night
On station benches meant less pain
Than list'ning to his diatribe --
Told him to take me to the train

Only to discover
That station closed midnight to four
An overeager overseer
Kicked me out two hours before

When one is but a gypsy
In this world of slang and strife
These happenings do come along
To punctuate ones life

Lacking admission money
To any kind of a hotel
Prepared to keep a vigil
Keep it long and keep it well

I stood outside that station
Six full hours, and met the eye
Of every character the wee ones
Sent passing me by

That contact said a list of stuff
Like "I mean you no harm"
"You never know, I might get rough"
And "Neither one of us are warm"

Those crack and coke heads sure were kind
To anachronistic me
They hung out on that corner
And make sure I safe would be

One said as we were standing there
"I'm gonna have some powder soon"
Stood back and waited for me
To start dancing to his tune

I told him I don't look down on
A little soiling on a dove
But it just isn't me -- I only
Give it up for love

That craggy brother's eyes lit up
He slowly shook his head
"It's been ten years since I heard
Anything like that," he said

He hung out on that corner 
For another good long while
Every few minutes turned to me
With a radiant smile

"Givin' it up for love," he said
I felt his close horizons lift
Just knowing I existed
Was to him a precious gift

Of course there were another one
Or two things left for me to do
A phone call someone had to make
Which I could help him to

And someone else who paused to rest
Asked me for a song
So I broke out my old guitar
He tapped his foot along

But of all the warm experiences
That I had on that cold night
The best was his expression 
Of wondering delight

I could have gone back, done his coke
Held that sad dude in my arms
Warmed his body for one night
But what I did, his heart still warms



The Double Present

“Sometimes it’s a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.” … 45 more words



The Fairest Blossom

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”

– Henry David Thoreau –

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” … 75 more words