Where I Am From

One of my initiatives this fall was to begin a women’s group at the parish. I decided to call it “Sanctuary: Women’s Prayer and Spirituality.” We are loosely basing it on, are at least delving into some materials from Jan Richardson, http://paintedprayerbook.com/, and her book “In the Sanctuary of Women.” Yesterday we met for the first time, a group of older women in the parish met in the morning and a second group of mixed ages met at night. Each session begins with time for prayer – healing prayers and anointing with Holy Communion in the morning (our regular weekday service) and Centering Prayer in the evening. The prayer session is followed by the spirituality section and small group discussion. We began the spirituality section with the George Ella Lyons poem, “Where I’m From” (page 54 in Richardson’s book, and here: http://www.georgeellalyon.com/where.html). We then wrote our own, Where I’m From poem. It was a delightful exercise in writing and sharing and learning so much about the other’s in the group. There were more than a few tears shed and some laughter too! I think these groups are going to be good for the women in the parish, and me too!

Here is my, “Where I Am From” poem:

I’m from strong women
Who traveled far to live
Their faith. Women and
Men who walked across
Field, plain, and mountains.

I’m from broken women
Whose lives did not turn out
As they hoped and imagined –
Children lost, husbands gone astray,
Women who lived off of hard scrabble.

I’m from women of hope
Who taught their daughters to
Carry one, to keep the faith
To love and never give up
That life might be better.

I’m from Salt Lake City
And Manchester, England,
And Missouri, and places
In between. I’m from Idaho and
Wisconsin, Texas, Illinois, and now, Michigan.

I’m from an uneducated family
Who instilled in me a love of learning.
I’m from struggle and perseverance.
I’m from blistered feet and
Tumbleweeds and salty lakes.

I’m from railroads
And country farms and
Big cities. I’m from a
Church, and, not a church.
I’m from an Apache family.

Or, maybe not. But, my
Heart beats with drums
Of a distant past and a path
That diverged, but with a
People who claim by soul.

I’m from trees and
Sun, moon and stars.
I’m from the earth
My true mother who
Gives me life again and again.

No doubt I could write this poem over and over again, with different aspects of who I am rising to the surface each time. This is just how I saw myself yesterday, and a fragment of who I am, all in all.


About Terri C Pilarski

I am an Episcopal priest serving a delightfully progressive, interesting, creative congregation. I have been married more than half my life to the same man. We have two grown children, plus two dogs and two cats, although the number of four legged household members changes from time to time. I love to garden, knit, read, and play on Facebook or with my blog. I have been a practitioner of daily meditation since I was nineteen. I practice yoga five days a week and walk every where I am able too.
This entry was posted in Jan Rchardson, spirituality and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Where I Am From

  1. mlraminiak says:

    I love this exercise. My version of it lives on the sidebar of my blog. Yours is wonderful!

  2. sounds like an enriching group! gives me ideas, ideas, ideas… i have jan richardson’s book in my pile of books not yet read. grr…. time, sweet time.

  3. Nancy says:

    My women’s group is just starting with “In the Sanctuary of Women.” It was discovered in a serendipitous manner – my favorite. Love your poem, thank you. I spent a few years as a child in Salt Lake City and remember fondly the salty lake.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s