"No service is too small when given mindfully, with good intention and an open heart."

Lindsay Bowker
Stonington, ME

WHY I DO THIS: I can’t say that I have chosen to be with those challenged by terminal illness or catastrophic disability. . . Those blessings find me, present themselves insistently, even when I try to hide. In the beginning, most of us are reluctant and unsure—what will we say, how will we know what to do. We fear becoming too entangled, trapped. And always, through the grace and dignity of those amazing spirits trapped in failing disabled bodies, through some mysterious but ever present help from somewhere, when I give in and give up and just accept that I am invited to witness this other person, the questions and uncertainties dissipate. Each time I surrender to that invitation with faith and trust, my own spirit grows and I am nurtured. I am strengthened. My faith deepens. My hope increases. Through these bravehearts I gain courage. More is gained always, than is given.

DEAR NEIGHBORCARE FRIENDS: If, in the midst of all this glory that is summer, you observe a person or a creature who is lonely or in pain—cast blessings, then tell others what you did. If they’re not already doing the same, maybe they’ll start.
Recently on my way home to Stonington, I saw a horse alone in a muddy field on a day that was gray as she was, and cold. She did look well fed. A protective coat had been carefully draped around her. But there she stood, still as stone and staring.
Think of a time when you felt alone in all the world. Imagine. If you were lonely, how wonderful if folks you hardly knew were blessing you. These unseen graces do more than we know. In any case, disregarding loneliness and pain adds an invisible—and excruciating—dimension.

NEIGHBORCARE NEWS   Here’s the first draft of a letter to the editor that Deer Isle/Stonington NEIGHBORCARE contact, Anne Williams and I are writing together: “On Deer Isle or off, many of our neighbors suffer cancer, congestive heart failure, near blindness and more. To survive they must get to Bangor. MUST. Sometimes once in a while. Sometimes regularly. Sometimes daily. For nearly eleven years, NEIGHBORCARE and others have helped provide these rides. However, the need is growing. We are in a state of emergency (particularly deep on the island, where the ride to Bangor is even more of a trip).
I who like you have no time hereby add my name to the ONE-Ride-A-Month-To-Bangor list. Anne and other dear ones have been on this list long before it had a name. Thank you for gladly adding your name. Our island/peninsula neighbors deserve no less than our wholehearted support.
Having the list is crucial because then we will know we have WILLING, COMMITTED DRIVERS we can count on, even if every once in a while one of us is ill or out of town and truly can’t make it, even if some months we’re not called.
While you’re thinking of it, contact Anne for DI/Stonington 367-5823 —maggie, for the rest of the peninsula. 266-7673. SUMMER VISITORS/RESIDENTS ARE MORE THAN WELCOME TO JOIN IN. *We’re happy to help with gas money if this is what you need to be able to give rides.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other. —Mother Teresa

FOR PONDERING With all respect to those of you who serve so kindly and so often, please take a moment. I want to revisit THE ISSUE OF CONFIDENTIALITY, which if respect ruled unceasingly we would scarcely need a word for. Think of something about yourself you would not want to be mentioned to others in a offhand manner—or at all, to anyone. This might be something you told someone in confidence, sparked by a burst of feeling you could not contain. Thinking deeply, we realize it is another’s prerogative—not ours—to tell his or her secrets, to speak of his or her circumstances and frailties. We know this, but sometimes we forget. Despite our good intention toward those we serve, despite all we do to ease their lives, despite how well we think we know them, (and this includes the animals we care for), those we care for are not ours to chat about.
Observing a fast from words has greater transformative power than a fast from food, for to restrain our tongue, especially from gossip, tale-bearing, or frivolous speech, is to offer up a blessing, itself a form of “silent speaking. “ Such silence of the tongue . . . opens a way for empathy. In silence one can now hear the pain of others, the pain of the world. Silence is a hammer that breaks our heart of stone and then replaces it with a heart of flesh—a heart that understands what flesh is, a heart that may be pierced by the suffering of others, and that is open to Divinity. —Geoffrey Dennis/Parabola

FOR THE VOICELESS   Here are precautions recently submitted to a local newspaper:
Protect pets from the summer heat. Five or ten minutes in a hot car can kill them, even if the windows are down halfway. Don’t think they’re safe if you park in the shade. The sun keeps moving and could be beating down on your car in no time. Rainy days, the weather can turn hot and sunny. Even on cloudy days, your car can heat up. Leave your dogs home on warm/hot days, or take them to doggy daycare, which is available on Deer Isle (348-9303) to residents and visitors.
If your dog’s penned or on a run (no tying dogs up in the state of Maine) make sure shade is plentiful—don’t assume your pet will go looking for it. You can put latticework over your pens. That way, there will be dappled shade all day long, plus air flow. Make sure your animals have water. Like people, they get dehydrated. Placing a rock in water bowls and water buckets helps prevent them from being tipped over. If you see, animals (babies, children) left in cars in the heat of summer, don’t hesitate. Call for help right away.

ALERT  Many senators and representatives have disabled their (e)mailboxes. Go directly to their websites to contact them regarding your concerns.

A REMINDER   to avoid the following heartcrunchers: 1) looking away when someone is talking to you, to scan the room for someone more inviting. 2) not facing folks directly when they speak to you, as if your running shoes were on and you were off to something more important.

FROM THE NOT-A-DOCTOR  For a soothing essential oil blend, mix high quality (not cosmetic quality) oils of lavender, jasmine, geranium, ylang-ylang and bergamot. The blend can be used by any of the following methods: diffuser/aroma lamp, hot bath (six drops or so)—to disperse, stir gently, massage oil—add ten drops of the blend to one ounce of carrier oil such as almond or olive oil. OR add some drops to a handkerchief and sniff! external use only

STORY WITH A MORE-THAN-HAPPY ENDING   Earlier this month a friend told me a whale story she’d read in Reader’s Digest. I’ve been moved to share the story often. When I told it at a workshop I was presenting, you could have heard a pin drop. Here’s my best understanding of what happened. I have shortened the account for the newsletter:
A fisherman came upon a humpback whale off the NW coast of the United States. The whale was pinned by heavy metal and mesh crab traps, her blow hole just above water, her tail weighed down, her baleen crisscrossed and gouged with ropes. Experienced divers who were called had little hope of saving her. They tried, however, at one and the same time fearing for the whale whom they would have to cut to release the ropes that were binding her and for themselves who could be in danger if the whale thrashed her fins or head or tail. But she seemed to understand they were trying to help her. And while they continued she remained still, observing them with her fist-sized, infinitely wise eye. When she was free, at last, instead of bolting for the open sea, she swam around the rescuers for minutes on end, then approached them, nudging each one in turn gently over the heart. This experience, according to each of the rescuers, was “one of the most fantastic moments” of their lives. Certainly, speaking of it proclaims what is possible in this beleaguered world.
Please tell this story. It can offset, dramatically, the effect of much we read and are exposed to that shrivels us.
The whole thing, the most difficult thing, is to wake the heart. Somehow one has to learn to be able to live in the heart, to judge from the heart, as ordinarily as we live in mechanical mind and judge from that. It is shifting the center of attention in oneself. For the movements of the heart are so quick that only if one can learn to live there for some time, is it possible to catch them as they pass and obey them. This also means that we have to learn to feed the heart, taking emotional impressions directly there, just as we now take knowledge directly into the mind. —Rodney Collin

FROM THE KITCHEN   Serve deviled eggs for breakfast, dinner, supper or snack. I’m glad to report the following recipe has been well received: Mash the yolks of hardboiled eggs with Nasoya (or Miracle Whip, not mayo), black pepper, garlic granules, Braggs (or a wee bit of salt), horseradish mustard, sweet relish, the tiniest bit of cayenne added in and/or sprinkled on top. Add a touch of curry power during the mashing if you’d like, and/or crabmeat or mashed canned salmon.

LIVING QUESTIONS   It is important to remember that for each person struck by disease or loss, the experience is new. AND WHO KNOWS? Your complete presence might help convert pain to good.
Maybe the generous soul sitting with a mother whose son was killed at the Trade Center was the presence that inspired her to fly to Afghanistan to meet with mothers in that country who also had lost children to bombing—this, so she could come home and change the hearts of the American people, regarding war.


A NEIGHBORCARE “MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK” POTLUCK took place in Jeanne Gaudette and Peter Diemond’s home on Tuesday, June 27th.
Several of us shared fine food and talk and addressed NEIGHBORCARE newsletters.
We’ll continue to move the potluck to various peninsula locations.

Not necessarily the same people will be gathering each time.

Oh, Lord, Your Sea is So Great, and My Boat is So Small.
—Breton Fisherman Prayer

Blessings all around you—this summer and in every season,
maggie davis, for NEIGHBORCARE

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maggie davis
PO Box 370, Blue Hill, ME 04614-0370

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