Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

“Original Blessing”, for dversepoets pub.

December 1, 2016
My beautiful picture

 The east in the morning. with promise.


I am dizzy with love,

Standing in the rain,

This cosmic blessing

Pouring on my head,

Mingling with tears of gratitude

Til one stream

can not be deciphered

From the other.


I am an Original Blessing,

As are you,

And we are not born in sin,

But brought into the light of life

In great joy and anticipation.


Our first bellows are not of pain

But surprise at the roominess of the Cosmos,

As we kick  feet, flail  arms

And finally open eyes at the glorious colors

Of Nature.


Original sin would have us

Born rotten,

A theological monkey on our back–

But I know no God of the Cosmos

Who would scar these tiny blessings

With such  a heavy burden.


Original Blessing is a deliverance,

A deliverance of hope, trust and pride

A heritage where we can discern and save


Walk in harmony with the Earth,

Stride with God across the span of life–

For this Earth is our cradle,

And all in it our kin.


For a truly wise person

Kneels at the feet of all creatures

And is not afraid to endure

The mockery of others.


And when the day sidles up to night

I will settle into the nest of the Earth,

Draw the dark blanket of the Cosmos

Across me,

Pillow my head upon stars

And know  the blessings I have been

Graced with today and always

Have come from the womb of God.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

Sorrow and Friendship

February 16, 2010

We got the news yesterday that a friend, a police officer, was killed in the line of duty.  This is adult stuff and  both my husband and I  have been up all night in shock.

His wife has been my friend for exactly 10 years.  We met during the Y2K craze and L. was the only local person who was as crazed as I was about the possibilities.  I was, at that time, the National Coordinater of Y2K Women, or some such title, and for a full year we promoted bottled water and food supplies for families.  We had a lot of fun, no balance or perspective, and when Y2K didn’t happen, we were left with a lot of bugs in rice and beans. Something we didn’t eat anyway.

L’s husband was killed yesterday as he approached two suspicious cars on an isolated road in South Fulton county here in Ga.  They shot through the windshield and blasted out the back window and got Mike in the process.  He was able to reverse his patrol car and radio for help, give a description of the the vehicles that sped off, but he died after airlifting to Grady Hospital here in Atlanta.

Mike was a detective for 20 years, originally from Wisconsin.  He and L had 5 children, and they were both of very strong stock. L. and I used to laugh that our husbands were the stubborn way they were because we had married German Catholics.

They had to be strong, and sometimes I couldn’t fathom where they got their strength.  They lost two children, one their oldest daughter who died in childbirth.  They were raising the girl as their child, and you wouldn’t believe how much she looked like L.  They were a strong and loving family.

About 5 years ago they made a Xmas visit here.  I got to talk to Mike and he was a funny man.  Strong, sensible, intelligent, but deeply committed to his family and to his profession.  He told some stories that made me realize  police officers are always on duty and in the line of fire.  Especially detectives.

Over the past three years my contact with L. was constrained.  I was moving into writing and she was very religious.  I felt ‘pushed’ by the strength of her faith into a corner.  I just didn’t believe in God in the way she did and wanted me to experience.  She is a devote Christian, and it’s not her Christianity that was the problem.  I have a Jewish friend who is the same way:  she wants me to go to shul with her and I just can’t.  I don’t believe.  The more I was pushed by both friends, the more I felt….frantic.

Just three weeks ago L. and I had a bad quarrel. It was over a chain letter.  I hate those things, for many reasons, but I probably overstated the case to L.  She threw up that I had only been a friend on my terms over the last few years.  She was right.  I didn’t know how to handle her religious fevour and threw out the friendship because it made me uneasy.

Now all this seems so stupid and shallow.  She was a friend, and regardless how much I disagreed with her on religious issues, it was a friendship with a lot of substance over 10 years.  I did apologize but it was a slight gesture.  And now, nothing of any of this crap matters.

She matters.  Her family matters.  I have great sympathy because she has lost her husband and her life is again going to change in the most extreme ways possible.  I am  comforted now that her faith is as strong as it is.  It is hers.  And now perhaps I finally understand why she was so ‘strong’ in her faith.  She lost so much, and she has lost Mike now.

What I believe doesn’t matter in the face of this.  What she does is important because this will help her survive.

I wish I had been a better friend.  I wish many things, but I wish most that Mike wasn’t gone and L. and her family had him back.

Lady Nyo

Interview with Bill Penrose, Author of “Anne the Healer”

January 29, 2010

(Bill Penrose is a friend of over three years standing I met on a  website, ERWA (Erotica Readers and Writers Assoc). I don’t participate much there anymore because I can’t seem to get the submissions of others  on a regular basis. (I am told it’s a server problem on my end.) It was a good classroom for those years,  and I would recommend it to any beginning writer for what you learn.  Most of us benefit from our time there and go on and perhaps broaden our writing from erotica. Or not.

Bill Penrose was one of the best people to come out of the ERWA experience. He took me, a very raw writer, in hand, and gently mentored  and encouraged  until I  started to stand on my own.  There were others who did the same, Nick Nicholson for one, and I remain very grateful to these two fine friends and great writers. Bill also has taken on the publishing of my first book, “A Seasoning of Lust” and is soon to do the second, “The Zar Tales”.

Thanks, Bill.  You know…you know.

Lady Nyo)

Bill, this book is rather different from “Ancestors of Star”. It delved into Catholicism, faith healing and other social issues, like homelessness.

I was still searching for the right genre. I began this novel as my Nanowrimo 2004 project, and finished it about a year later. Finally, I grew tired of letting it sit on my hard drive and decided to put it out there, first on, and finally on . I think it’s a good story, but I wasn’t really trying to get a message across, only to entertain.

While I was teaching at Illinois Institute of Technology, I was close to several contrasting neighborhoods in Chicago, including Bridgeport, Chinatown, and Bronzeville. Each neighborhood had its own peculiar characteristics, but Bridgeport was most interesting because of its cosmopolitan, transitional character. It had traditionally been Irish-Italian working class, as well as the home of the Daleys and the center of the famous Chicago Democratic Machine. But with the recent dramatic influx of Hispanics, it was becoming more diverse every day. It wasn’t just the broad ethnic spread, but the class distribution. There were the very poor, even some who lived in tents made of plastic garbage bags and duct tape, and others in narrow homes over a hundred years old. The shops on 31st Street reflected the fascinating variety of the area.

In other words, it’s an area where you almost expect unusual things to happen, much more so than in the homogenous suburban area where I lived. Although ‘Anne the Healer’ could have been set almost anywhere, it was a natural for the Bridgeport area.

Why did you write a novel about faith healing? Could you speak a bit on your own religious or spiritual convictions? How did you come to these?

I like to put a little magic in my stories. Life itself is magical in so many ways, so for me, it’s not much of a stretch to add just a little more magic, just enough to disorient and make the earth shift a little underfoot. I think it’s also important to merge it with the universal magic by making the special magic, e.g., Anne’s talent for healing, ambiguous. In other words, it should be possible to read ‘Anne the Healer’ without believing in faith healing or divine powers. Like the universal magic, it should be possible to interpret her healing power as self-delusion or coincidence.

‘Anne the Healer’ actually spun off from the character Mary the Healer in my first attempt at a novel, ‘The Sisters of Kali’. One of the Sisters, Mary Bell, discovers that she can sometimes cure sick or injured people by praying for them. At first, she is doubtful and then frightened by her mysterious power, with justice, because soon it takes over her soul and her life.

While ruminating on Mary’s character, I thought of other scenarios involving a reluctant healer, and wrote a short story, ‘Anne the Healer’, a tale of a brief liaison between a faith healer and Tim Hardy, a minimum-wage bookstore worker. I soon fell in love with Anne, but Tim was too passive to suit me. When I decided the story merited novel-length treatment, I made Tim a petty criminal with enough cynicism to doubt Anne’s talent, and later, when faced with evidence of her power to heal, plan to exploit her for his own purposes. But of course, they fall in love instead, Tim first.
I know that you are a scientist. Did you find that you were searching for different answers or was this not a conflict with your scientific views of life and death?

I never had a problem keeping science and spiritualism in my head at the same time. I’m not one of those scientists who claim to ‘leave God at the laboratory door’. Two people can look through a microscope at, say, a bacterial cell. One person will see an agent of disease, or perhaps a useful tool for the making of yogurt, or an intellectual puzzle to be solved. Another will see an actual miracle, the whole machinery of life packed into an impossibly tiny space, a spectacularly complex and beautifully constructed living device capable of reproducing itself, and involved in a vast web of interactions with the living and nonliving worlds. I find it difficult to do science without being caught up in the beauty of all things, from the mind-boggling structure of atoms, to the incomprehensible vastness of the Universe. The likelihood that these structures arose through a long process of variation and natural selection doesn’t dilute the miracles one bit. In fact, the more we understand, the more marvelous the Universe becomes.

Somewhere in ‘The Sisters of Kali’, my main character, Phyllis, says, “Miracles are everywhere. They happen every day, all around us. But we only question the new or different ones, the ones we haven’t become jaded with.”

No one has to believe in a god, or even a vague spiritual force, to appreciate Nature. Whether or not we attribute the Universe to a great spirit or to random chance isn’t due to the careful study of Nature, but something that comes out of our own character. No one really sets out to study the Universe in order to discover God or prove Her absence. They begin with the assumption that God exists, or doesn’t exist, and interpret all they see and hear from that perspective. Belief trumps facts every time.

I’ll go one step farther and say that the Universe is constructed in such a way that it’s impossible to prove or disprove the existence of a spiritual force. This ambiguity is built into the world, and it’s absolutely essential to the existence of Free Will. If we could solve an equation, or run a statistical analysis that conclusively proved the existence of God, Free Will would vanish instantly. Every decision after that would be conditioned on whether it would offend or please God. We’d have no choice but to try to discover what this new God wanted from us, and try to do things to satisfy Her demands.

You are not a writer who turns from the sexual issues in your books, but in “Anne the Healer” you handled this in a very different way. Why was that?

Mostly, I thought it would distract from the main story. I’d just spend a half year with two different critique groups who found the sexual interludes in ‘The Sisters of Kali’ too explicit, and intruded on the main story. In my current WIP, I’ve run into the same criticism, and I’ve decided to dumb down or dilute those scenes in the next rewrite.

Thank you, Bill.  What you write about Free Will expands my thinking on the issue.  I wish you had been my teacher in chemistry.  I think you would have made it all…’plain’.

And very much more illuminating.

Lady Nyo

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