Yesterday Bracken and I went to visit our friend Mary Lou. I had been meaning to visit her for awhile. Our previous phone conversation had stayed with me. The last time she had called me she said that she’s healthy so she’ll probably live for a long time (I believe she is 84 years old now), which scares her because she can’t imagine being alive for so long without Ernie (her husband that passed away years ago.) She told me honestly how lonely she feels and my heart went out to her. That talk lingered with me ever since.
Our days and weeks get so busy and more time had passed than I would have liked before I called her to make plans to get together. Some days I get so exhausted and feel that I’m giving all I can give. I wanted to give to Mary Lou, to do something special for her, but when I felt depleted at the end of each day I wondered what I could give. When I asked if I could bring her anything from the store, she said that some half and half would be nice. So we brought her some half and half and a jar of our canned peaches. My other ideas didn’t happen as I was hurrying out the door, but she didn’t mind. Mary Lou was delighted with those simple things but really, she just loves our company. And we enjoy hers. Bracken has really taken a liking to her and I notice she has a calming effect on him (and me as well.) She gave us a tour of her garden and then we played on the swings and slides across the street from her house in the woods. We listened to birds sing, we chatted, we saw a snake, and found some red huckleberries to eat. Then we ate, with a candle lit, and Mary Lou’s daughter Anya came by. Our time together was renewing and energizing. I guess I didn’t need to worry about giving anything, because simply our presence seemed like a gift for one another. She gave me so much just by being her gentle, peaceful self. We made plans for another visit soon. But in the meantime, I had an idea.
You see, Mary Lou’s loving and generous spirit has really touched me. (I wrote more about her in my post: Getting to know Mary Lou.) She has given so much to so many people throughout her life. So much gentleness, and beauty, and peace. Through many ways, including her artwork. She has a beautiful heart and sees the good in others. She really seems to know what’s important in life. She values connections with others, her community, artistic expression, and simple living on the earth. She is an inspiration to me and I’m sure to many others as well. I want to shine some of that love back on her, right now when some extra love could mean so much to her. An inspiration came for me to write to all of you here. What if we sent her letters of love from around the world? Just a little something to brighten her day and bring her a smile? I asked her permission to give out her address and asked if she would like penpals. Her eyes lit up and she really seemed to like the idea. I took the picture above this evening (that’s why it’s so dark), of a little note I wrote her that I will be mailing out in the morning. There is really something special about snail mail, isn’t there? We all know how wonderful it feels to receive a real-life letter and hold it in your hands.
If you feel inspired to join me, if you’d like to send a letter, postcard, note, picture, drawing
or anything else you come up with, please send it to:
Mary Lou Goertzen
Deadwood, Oregon 97430
Let’s show her how much goodness there is in the world, shall we?
I’d be delighted if you joined me in sharing some love with Mary Lou.
P.S. If you haven’t watched the documentary yet with her and her husband, I highly recommend it!
Here is the write-up about it:
“There are holy places in the world; Machu Pichu is one. Mary Lou and Ernie are the human equivalent. They embody spirit.”
Kind True and Necessary captures the life story and daily life of two exceptional people. Mary Lou and Ernie Goertzen are artists and peace activists who live a life of elegance and simplicity deep in the Oregon woods. The film follows them from strict Mennonite childhoods in Kansas, through their courtship and 50 years of marriage. In Berkeley in the ’60s we see their activism ignited as they hide soldiers AWOL from Vietnam and meet the Reverend Martin Luther King. As we hear their moving life story we watch the beauty and simplicity of their daily life unfold.
Mary Lou and Ernie’s art, compassion and philosophy of loving kindness have touched many people in the course of their lives. Now its your turn.”