A “There and Back Again Reflection:” I Am From…

Somewhere in the bloghopping I do, I came across a written reflection called, “I Am From…” Turns out the original is from a writer named George Ella Lyons and is based on a template suggested in a book called, “Where I’m From: a poetry workshop-book for teachers and students.” The template for this reflection can be found at http://www.swva.net/fred1st/wif.htm  This was tremendously interesting, fun and wistful to do and I urge anyone with a spare 3o minutes or so to check it out and give it a try.

I am linking with Charity Singleton’s project to promote community over at The High Calling called There and Back Again:

I’m also linking tonight with Bonnie Gray over at The Faith Barista for her weekly meme, which this week was about ‘whitespace.’  I took a little whitespace today, over a solitary lunch at Nordstrom’s Cafe, sitting on their patio and reading through the template for this reflection.  It was a rich time of remembering, of being grateful for my story and for God’s grace woven through it all.


I am from sidewalks, from Malt-O-Meal and Ovaltine;
I am from the dust of a brand-new backyard, ripe with
       horned toads and yellowing banana trees;
I am from calla lilies on the shady side of the house,
       from camellias and roses and fuschias, hanging low. 

I am from plum pudding and chickens in the yard,
       from Elsie and Pearl, short and tall, women of strength
       who found their way;
from Harry and Benjamin, broken men, who sometimes broke
       their children;
from Ruth and Ben, who took the best of all these and built a
       a home of love and learning and laughter. 

I am from too much worry about appearances, coupled with
       a deep desire for more of what is not seen;
From, “Beware the unguarded moment!” and “Oh, the beauty!
       The beauty!”
I am from old-time Methodism and communion at the rail
       and music that swirls and covers every ugly thing.
From memory work and sword drills and singing in the choir.
From strong preaching and too many rules and too much fear.
Yet I am also from honest questions, room for doubt and 
       good, deep thinking.
From C.S. Lewis and George Ladd and Paul Jewett and
       Henrietta Mears.
From ‘faggots on the fire,’ (1950’s speak for throwing twigs
       and giving testimony); and abstinence pledges made
       way too young.

I am from California by way of Arkansas and Canada;
from sour cream chocolate cake and chipped beef on toast.
From my father’s piano and my mother’s beauty,
       from tuberculosis and deep family feuds,
       from always learning, 
       from trying again, 
       from pushing deeper. 

In the cupboard, a brown bag filled with photos, old and 
       fading, and flowers pressed from long ago.
In the drawer, cherished jewelry, worth nothing more than
       the memories they carry.
I am from valiant stock, strong women and ever more 
       gentle men;
from love and hope, 
       faith and doubt, 
             curiosity and wonder:
all of it mixed together in some divine blender to give me this
       life, this gift, this heritage.

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  1. Absolutely beautiful!!!!!

  2. I am from … some of those same places! My old Methodist church feels like yours.

    This gives me such a rich portrait of who you are. Gorgeous …

  3. Diana! This was fun to read. I got to know you a lot better. What a wonderful exercise that put you in 3D for me. 😉 “divine blender” now that is an interesting metaphor — I like it!

  4. So evocative and full of wonderful images. Thank you also for sharing the template, I didn’t know such things existed and after 30 yrs of shopping lists I have been tempted to try something more creative. Although it has been a tearful exercise…

  5. Love it! I could read these all day.