Ostomy Memories of Church on Sunday


SUNDAY I GO TO CHURCH, and church is outside in the dark early morning, under the stars, inhaling the fresh air, and watching the possum make it across the road because, on Sunday, traffic is substantially reduced.  Outside, with large oak trees reaching toward the sky instead of man-made spires, my step is inspired by the spiritual richness of nature.  I may not be able to see the owl in the trees, but I can hear it hooting a welcome as I pass by.  I’m going at a good pace, listening to the regular, even exhalation of my breath, and thinking about making my walk my post for the day.  I’ve turned left into a sharp dip where the darkness envelops me, so I flick on my miniature flashlight to make sure I don’t trip over any tree debris.  Then I hop over the lip of a curb and turn east where the sky is beginning to whiten.  It’s uphill now for about a hundred yards and I’m pushing to take the incline quickly.  I’m thinking that this better help my blood pressure!  Now I’m almost to the home stretch, and if there’s a sermon in this church it’s the healthy message of the natural world in the peace and quiet of the early morning, the condensation forming on my beard, and the assurance that, beginning my day in this way, I can handle whatever is in store for me, and then I’m into the brief woods and I can see a street light through the trees up ahead and when I come out of the woods there’s my house, just four mailboxes up on the dead end street.  Church is out.  It’s coffee time.  


One of your best, Henry!

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Hello HenryM.

What a refreshing image of a 'church' that is not human-made (except by perception).
In the 'normal' flow of things (from my perspective), I tend to be critical of 'churches', their systems, structures, hierarchies and their hypocrisies. Indeed, I have just this morning penned a new title a future book: 'GOG ; God Of Greed', in which I hope to pen some portraits of where the 'belief in greed' has taken the human race so far.

Your post has come at an opportune time to contemplate a rhyme for my ongoing work on 'Alternative Perspectives'. I'll post the rhyme on here when it's done. 
Meanwhile, I find it hard to resist resurrecting one of my old rhymes on 'beliefs'.

Best wishes




Beliefs are thoughts within your head
but when they’re shared then they are spread.
Some may think that they’re unchanging
others need them rearranging.

Those who let their dogma rule
think everyone but them’s a fool.
When someone else makes a good point
it puts their noses out of joint.

Their beliefs cannot withstand
the forces of a shifting sand.
Their beliefs can’t track the change
so find it hard to rearrange.

Then those beliefs the zealot owns
will force them from their comfort zones.
For them it is a principle
beliefs cannot be multiple.

They cannot cope if things conflict
be opposite and contradict.
They like to have consistency
without any discrepancy.

They get themselves a ritual
where their belief’s habitual.
Most of us will have concluded
they themselves must be deluded.

It is as if they think they’ve proved
that their beliefs cannot be moved.
Their beliefs become life’s meaning
and all else they find demeaning.

Of all the ways we can perceive
we have the right to disbelieve.
So if you have dogmatic needs
please keep your dogmas on their leads.

                                    B. Withers 2012

(In: A Thesis on Constructive Conversations Inversed 2012)


Hello HenryM. 

With great gratitude for the concept, I share with you my rendering of this great 'church'. i also hope that more people might try it out!

Best wishes




Here, I give thanks to HenryM,
from whom this ‘church-concept’ did stem.
For he described his ‘church’ to me
as an alternative to see.

The ‘church’ that HenryM described 
was so inspiring, I imbibed
the concept in a kindly way
because it brightened up my day. 

His ‘church’ is in the open air,
where, on his walks, he tends to share 
the whole of nature’s beauty and 
describes it so we understand. 

He walks in early morning, so 
there are less people there to know
how spiritual the ambience 
can be in that experience.

The choral singing in his ears 
is from the birds, so what he hears
makes an impression on his mind
as being genuine and kind.

Those tall oak trees have not been felled,
so now they are unparalleled 
in impact and magnificence 
in HenryM’s reminiscence.

The message in the sermon heard
is not by way of human word,
but through the natural way of things
and all the health and wealth it brings.

I think this ‘church’, I could attend
these creatures there I could befriend.
This caring concept sent to me 
is surely there to set me free. 
                                             Be Withers 2022


Wow! Very impressive fellas! Amen!

Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister

That is my kind of church and one excellent sermon, my friend! No collection plate either, other than nature replenishing your soul.


And you all think I duck hunt to shoot ducks.


I never felt connected to anything larger than myself until I hiked, until I meditated, and until I volunteered. I've done all of those activities alone and with other people. Felt the greater connection both ways.

Reply to Bill

This is a great poem, Bill. I especially like the last two lines!


Reply to AlexT

Good one, Alex!


Lovely post, Henry! I attend two churches myself. One is a pathway through a forest of old-growth cedars, firs, and pines, inhaling the scent of the trees, surrounded by silence, with the exception of the melodious birdsong, and punctuated by the occasional raucous call of the raven. The other is a stretch of long sandy beach, surveying the beauty of the magnificent ocean with the snow-capped mountains in the distance, the wind blowing me along my way, the salt air in my lungs, the waves crashing against the sand, and the call of the seagulls in my ear. These places provide me with comfort and solace and make me give thanks for what the world around me has to offer.



Rain is always beautiful to me. Love to watch it through my windows.....It's nature. By far, and admittedly, I am not an outdoors person but I used to walk the FL beach with my dad, he should rest in peace.
Life is good. Have a great day.......Susan

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