Sometimes fear, stress, or grief can leave me feeling so uncomfortable I want to crawl back into my bed and forget the world. It’s always much easier to ignore my feelings and push them aside just to get through the day than to actually confront them. Especially on a cold winter day when I’ve forgotten what the warmth of the sun feels like until I’m awakened and inspired by a stunning sunrise like this one.
Last September, I lost a dear friend, mentor, teacher, published poet and songwriter, Merrill Farnsworth. I first met her 2 years ago when she co-hosted the Mercyland Songwriter Workshop with her partner, Nashville based singer, songwriter, musician and producer Phil Madeira. Merrill had a gentle way of pulling for emotion, the way gravity nudges tiny bubbles to the surface with ease—the hidden force that transforms good to great. I will forever be grateful for the short time she and I spent together.
As Mercyland rolled around this year, I knew it would be hard to be in the same physical and spiritual space that she co-created; she was the guiding light at so many other events. With mixed feelings, willingly on one hand to dive into my writing, and on the other hand kicking and screaming to avoid the pain, I chose to rise above my thoughts and feelings. I’m so glad I did.
As I surrounded myself with Mercyland family, I felt the lingering sadness, anger and even bitterness in our sacred space. It was an unspoken time to remember our beloved and grieve in our own imperfect ways. Sometimes when we allow our feelings and emotions to pass through without the resistance of fear and judgment, we discover possibilities for growth and healing. She was with us in spirit I know, stirring emotion and co-creating through us still, and I dove deeper than ever before as a writer.
I stumbled across this poem in my journal and as I began to read it, I could hear her voice just as if she was right next to me…
by Merrill Farnsworth
One day you find yourself at the end of the world.
Loss sucks the light as you sit alone keening
incarnations of grief.
This canyon of darkness births an impossible spark
and you say to yourself, I can take one step
into this crazy thing called faith.
You wonder about mountains or maybe alligators ahead
but your heart says, you should know by now-
we’ve got this.
Baptized by fire and kissed by the gypsy wind
you claim what will heal you: every echo of Creation
is calling you to rise.
So wake early to be baptized by the fire of a beautiful sunrise, walk through discomfort and pain in your path and as I walk through mine, watch my future blogs for poems and songs as they emerge from this past weekend at Mercyland.