Stories & Journeys

Return to sender


One day as I am writing a draft of this column, I become aware that the U.S. mail has arrived at my house. I bring in the mail. An envelope jumps out at me with the words RETURN TO SENDER. Sad! Those words are encircled with red. For a brief moment the color red reminds of my Root Chakra, the source of earth energy. The words appear to be written in blue underlined with two lines.
The envelope is addressed to Everspring Health, the clinic in the Lowry Hill neighborhood of Uptown where I used to be a client. The sender is me. The RETURN TO SENDER printing I recognize as being that of a staff member I once trusted implicitly down to the core of my being. And then one day that trust was betrayed. Boundaries can sometimes betray us and be misunderstood. Failures to communicate.
I open the stamped envelope and pull out a check made out by me to Everspring Health for Giving Tuesday Donation. I had put in a note stating my donation intention along with the check. I tear up the check. I put it in the trash along with the note. For some reason I save the envelope with the words RETURN TO SENDER. I attach it to my computer desk drawer.
I get a new envelope, and write a new check. I make it out to TMC Publications as part of the Messenger voluntary pay program. The Connector will happen later. I put the check in the envelope. I put a stamp on the envelope. I set it aside to go out with the next mail pick up. I doubt that this envelope will get returned to me with the words RETURN TO SENDER. So, dear reader, if you can consider making a voluntary payment to the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger or the Southwest Connector for any amount you can afford, do it! If you can’t do it, that’s OK. You’ll still get the paper.

Stories and Journeys is one year old. I’m 78 now. I am celebrating with imaginary streamers and balloons. I will make some tea. I will light one candle.
If you have read this far, you are joining me in this celebration. And you are taking the plunge along with me into the river (flow) of life experiences which is Stories and Journeys. Will you continue to join me as I write about what I am thinking, learning and experiencing in my life as an elder? Tell me, tell others or tell me at

I have been thinking about dropping in at Minute Man Press in Uptown. Their ads say that they print everything. I want to find out if they can print my imaginary business card. While I am there I might ask them if they can print my imaginary t-shirt. On it would be the words, “I’m a writer. Anything you say or do might end up in a story.” The card would include the following three things that I am trying to be as an elder:
1) Stories and Journeys Columnist
2) Holistic Health (Spirituality and Healing) Practitioner
3) Proclaimer and Celebrator of Being Real
This last one comes from my copy of “The Velveteen Rabbit.” I inherited this book from my mother. It’s a bit tattered and torn having followed me around for decades. In case you have forgotten or never knew here are some of the words from page 17:
“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all. Because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Oh yes! To be real means to be understood and not refused like an envelope with the words RETURN TO SENDER.

I rarely write or talk about my previous life as a seminary student (1967 to 1971) and ordained pastor (1968 to 1971). I once did to that Everspring Health clinic staff person who I trusted implicitly down to the core of my being. More than once I likely preached on the topic of unconditional love from the divine source of all life. Reminds me of my Crown Chakra, the color purple. The divine source of love within each of us that will never refuse us like an envelope with the words RETURN TO SENDER. Love that makes us real and not ugly.
In gratitude. Stay tuned.


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