Thursday, November 1, 2018

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Gather

Welcome to Spiritual Journey First Thursday,
a group of friends who blog monthly about our spiritual journeys. 
I'm hosting for November and chose the word gather as our focus.
Please include the link to your post with your comment.

I've enjoyed asking family and friends what they think of when I mention the word gather. Both my daughter's response (that it made her think of warmth and coziness) and my friend Karen's response (that it made her think of holidays, traditions and sharing) echo some of the thoughts I have. My husband's response, "Eggs," made me chuckle. You can take the Kansas boy off the farm, but he's never far away from his roots. Anyone who's ever scooted the hen over to gather eggs can affirm that those eggs are frequently warm. 

My favorite gatherings involve people I love and know:  a faith community, a book club, a grandparents' club, a recent trip to visit family in Oklahoma, the upcoming NCTE conference in Houston, and of course, the holiday gatherings that occur with Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

I thought of hymns that include the word gather and immediately remembered the classic hymn "Shall We Gather at the River?" If you like John Ford films, check out this link - "Shall We Gather at the River?" in seven films by John Ford.

Isn't it interesting how once we focus on a word that we begin to see that word everywhere? Gather popped up in a children's book that I've read many times with grandson Jack this past week.  
"Gather now, let's all take part. 
We'll play music, we'll make art. 
We'll share stories from the heart.
All are welcome here." 
Perhaps you've read All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold. Its message is both timely and necessary in today's world.

And just yesterday I opened my podcast app to see this announcement from Story Corps: "The Story Corps podcast is back. We return this fall with new conversations that remind us of what's really important in life. In this season we'll focus on reunions of all kinds. Over 12 episodes, we'll consider what it means to come together at this moment in our nation's history." The new episodes begin next week. As someone who loves stories and reunions, I'm so excited!

And today I flipped the calendar on the wall beside my desk for an advance preview of November and this is what I saw:

Beginning in the upper right hand corner, here are the words on the calendar - "connected, love endures, belong, a bountiful harvest begins with seeds planted in gratefulness, love, grateful, gather together, and on the green door - love lives here." Thank you, Eliza Todd, for this calendar page that captures the spirit of gathering and togetherness.

Gently gliding leaves float by,
a season for reflection, a time for remembering
that not everyone feels warmth and love and
hope.  May we be the links to connect as we
extend our arms and hearts to
reach across and reach out in love. 
 -Ramona Behnke


  1. Dear Ramona, thank you for this lovely post, esp. your poem, which resonates today and all days! (Love that your husband thought of "eggs!") I've got gathering thoughts at Live Your Poem:

  2. Thanks for hosting, Ramona! I love your calendar page, and that you'll think of gathering all month long! Here's my post:

  3. Ramona, this is a warm and fitting post/poem filled with the inspiration of a gathering. May I capture your Gather poem and add it to one of your resplendent trees to create a digital inspiration for my Abundant Autumn Gallery? Thank you for hosting today. I am working on my post.

    1. Here is my link:

  4. Thanks for that lovely acrostic, urging us to think of others. I wrote about gratitude as a kind of yucky day was turned to good by a kind gesture.

  5. Just as I read this with the TV on in the background... a Target commercial came on. The tag line? Gather round!
    But seriously, love the acrostic.

  6. How kind this is Ramona. I love the heart pouring out to everyone in this poem acrostic, which reminds me that I haven't written that form in loooong days. And, appreciations also for the tipoff to StoryCorps! I didn't know.

    Banty hens lived under our house when I was a wee one so your hubby's "gather" would have brought a smile to my dear Mom & Dad, who will be with us in Spirit during the Holidays . . . :)

    My thoughts are with you as you gather at Thanksgiving.