A Healing Prayer
1/17/04 Live Broadcast
The Collecting Consort
Anne & Gary Wakenhut
"It was as if the sea ripped up a strip of
earth like tape from an open wound." Words of Vince Isner,
director after his first awareness of Sri Lanka’s recent devastation.
We have created this live broadcast as a prayer to heal this wound.
Catoctin Daybreak (R. Aldridge)
(This selection is on the Earth Remembers CD)
Melancholy, Sylvia Fellows (on
The Midnight Clear
A Brief Introduction to the History and People of Indonesia G.
here for text and photos or scroll below
Eleanor Plunkett, T. Carolan (on
The Celtic Portrait recording)
The Big Wave, P. S. Buck
Music: improv. G. Wakenhut, hammered dulcimer)
So Much More,
www.faithfulamerica.org (read by G. Wakenhut
Music: The Shearing's No for You, Brittish Isles, A. Wakenhut, Celtic
harp, (no recording)
Click here for text and photos or scroll below
Sawah, written and read by G. Wakenhut
Music: improv. A. Wakenhut, Celtic Harp
here for text and photos or scroll below
Journey, read by G. Wakenhut
Lyrics: John Bell
Melody: The Last Journey (Scottish folk melody), vocal: A. Wakenhut
Click here for lyrics and photos
Lament (T. Patterson) (no recording)
Introduction to the History and People of Indonesia
(Written by G. Wakenhut)
Many of the people affected by the tsunami live a life
much different than you or I. For example, those living in Indonesia find
their lives being determined by the basic elements of the earth. They exist
on islands created by our planet’s innards which have been thrust forward.
In some cases, those island creating volcanoes are still active and present
in their day’s concerns.
The elements and the powers of the world’s great oceans
surround them. The equator encircles their land with the presence of the
extreme warmth and humidity and creates the tropical jungles that serve as
For centuries, the water has defined their existence.
Water was the means for traveling between the islands. In addition, the
dense jungle foliage prevented inland travel and the planting of crops. So
water and boats defined travel and required the harvesting of the ocean’s
resources for livelihood.
These islands were within the water path from Europe to
China. So their presence became important transition points as the silk
trade developed. Later, their environments provided a source for spices
desired in both the west and the east. Eventually, the Dutch took control
of the trade and the area became known as the Dutch East Indies. They
gained their independence in the mid 1940’s.
Even today, most of the residents find their existence
is determined by this environment. Many work as farmers, harvesting the
produce of this land made rich by the volcanoes and the decay caused by the
extreme weather. Others seek the abundance of the sea that surrounds them.
Some claim the richness of the minerals and oil that make up their country.
However, there are still others who have managed to grasp the wealth of
Indonesia, and live in a comfortable and safe style similar to that that we
have in the west.
They are an interesting mix of the native population
that has joined with migrants who have come from, China, India, and the
countries that exist between those two great nations. They make up a
country that is the fourth most populated in the world, and while they are
made up of Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians, 80% claim beliefs associated
with the Muslim faith. As a result, there are more Muslims in Indonesia
than all of the Middle East countries put together.
Their country is made up of 17, 506 islands containing
230 million people speaking more than three hundred different languages.
Such a diverse composite becomes difficult for us to comprehend.
The Big Wave
Pearl S. Buck
Published by Scolastic Book Services, Scolastic
Magazines, Inc. New York, NY
Pearl S. Buck’s story, “The Big Wave”, documents the
lives of two pre-adolescent boys, Kino and Jiya, who become close in their
sharing. Kino is the son of a farmer living high on the hill side, while
his friend, Jiya belongs to a fishing family with their cottage near their
boat on the beach.
The old wise person of the community senses disaster
and tells everyone to move to the hills. Jiya’s father sends Jiya to the
safety of Kino’s home high on the hill, but Jiya’s father and mother remain
to protect their home and their boat on the beach.
The big wave comes and destroys Jiya’s home and his
parents are not to be found after the wave recedes.
After hearing of his parents’ disappearance, Jiya
becomes unconscious with his grief. We join the story as Kino morns the
loss of his friend, Jiya’s parents.
Soon Kino’s mother came with hot rice soup and Kino
drank it. He felt warm now, and he could stop crying. But he was still
frightened and sad.
“What will we say to Jiya when he wakes?”, he asked
“We will not talk,” his father replied. “We will give
him warm food and let him rest. We will help him to feel he still has a
Here? Kino asked.
“Yes,” his father replied. “I have always wanted
another son, and Jiya will be that son. As soon as he knows that this is
his home, then we must help him to understand what has happened”.
So they waited for Jiya to wake.
“I don’t think Jiya can every be happy again,” Kino
“Yes, he will be happy someday,” his father said, “for
life is always stronger than death. Jiya will feel when he wakes that he
can never be happy again. He will cry and cry and we must let him cry. But
he cannot always cry. After a few days, he will stop crying all the time.
He will cry only part of the time. He will sit sad and quiet. We must
allow him to be sad and we must not make him speak. But we will do our work
and live as always we do. Then one day he will be hungry, and he will eat
something that our mother cooks, something special, and he will begin to
feel better. He will not cry any more in the daytime but only at night. We
must let him cry at night. But all the time his body will be renewing
itself. His blood flowing in his veins, his growing bones, his mind
beginning to think again, will make him live”
“He cannot and he should not forget his parents,”
Kino’s father said. “Just as he lived with them alive, he will live with
them dead. Someday, he will accept their death as part of his life. He
will weep no more. He will carry them in his memory and his thoughts. His
flesh and blood are part of them. So long as he is alive, they, too, will
live in him. The big wave came, but it went away. The sun shines again,
birds sing, and the earth flowers. Look out over the sea now”.
Kino looked out the open door, and saw the ocean
sparkling and smooth. The sky was blue again, a few clouds on the horizon
were the only sing of what had passed—except for the empty beach.
“How cruel it seems for the sky to be so clear and the
ocean so calm!” Kino said.
But his father shook his head. “No, it is wonderful
that after the storm the ocean grows calm, and the sky is blue once more.
It was not the ocean or the sky that made the evil storm.”
“Who made it? Kino asked. He let tears roll down his
cheeks, because there was so much he could not understand. But only his
father saw them and his father understood.
“Ah, no one knows who makes evil storms,” his father
replied. “We only know that they come. When they come we must live through
them as bravely as we can, and after they are gone, we must feel again how
wonderful is life. Every day of life is more valuable now than it was
before the storm.”
Kino asked still another question. “Father, are we not
very unfortunate people to live here?
Why do you think so?” his father asked in reply.
“Because the volcano is behind our house and the ocean
is in front, and when they work together for evil, to make the earthquake
and the big wave, then we are helpless. Always many of us are lost”.
To live in the midst of danger is to know how good life
is, “ his father replied.
“But if we are lost in the danger?” Kino asked
“To live in the presence of death makes us brave and
strong,” Kino’s father replied. “That is why our people never fear death.
We see it too often and we do not fear it. To die a little later or a
little sooner does not matter. But to live bravely, to love life, to see
how beautiful the trees are and the mountains, yes, and even the sea, to
enjoy work because it produces food for life --in these things we are a
fortunate people. We love life because we live in danger. We do not fear
death because we understand that life and earth are necessary to each
“What is death?” Kino asked.
“Death is the great gateway,” Kino’s father said. His
face was not at all sad. Instead, it was quiet and happy.
“The gateway—where?” Kino asked again.
Kino’s father smiled. “Can you remember when you were
Kino shook his head. “I was too small.”
Kino’s father laughed. “I remember very well. Oh how
hard you thought it was to be born? You cried and you screamed.”
Didn’t I want to be born?” Kino asked. This was very
interesting to him.
“You did not,” his father told him smiling. “You
wanted to stay just where you were in the warm, dark house of the unborn.
But the time came to be born, and the gate of life opened.”
“Did I know it was the gate of life?” Kino asked.
“You did not know anything about it and so you were
afraid of it,” his father replied. “But see how foolish you were! Here we
were waiting for you, your parents, already loving you and eager to welcome
you. And you have been very happy, haven’t you?”
“Until the big wave came,” Kino replied. “Now I am
afraid again because of the death that the big wave brought.”
“You are only afraid because you don’t know anything
about death,” his father replied. “But someday you will wonder why you were
afraid, even as today you wonder why you feared to be born”.
So Much More
Written by Vince Isner
A few months ago, we began receiving emails from an
organization calling itself www.faithfulamerica.org. One of those emails
contained a link to a blog created by their director, Vince Isner. It
documented his experience in Sri Lanka last week.
I was deeply moved by
Mr. Isner's words and the pictures he shared to document his experience.
Since we have not checked the legitimacy of this organization, we cannot
vouch for its creditability. However, it would appear that they are coming
from an appropriate healing motivation.
Here are Mr. Isner’s words. You might wish to scroll
down the page to find a few of the pictures associated with his words. This
and more entries to his blog along with other pictures are available at:
So Much More
January 11, 2005, Galle, Sri Lanka -- There is so much more
than meets the eye –- and I am interested in that so much more. I once
heard TV’s Mister Rogers say that, and those words keep rumbling in my brain
as I survey the scene that even the most seasoned journalists have not found
words to describe.
By now you have seen the pictures and reports of vast
destruction. It is as if the sea ripped up a strip of earth like tape from
an open wound. Even after two weeks, ocean breezes push away the smell of
death, but not completely. It is a presence that seems impossible to rid
from the nostrils.
Yet there is so much more than meets the eye, and today I found it in what
used to be a small neighborhood just outside the city of Galle, on Sri
Lanka’s southern coast. In this tiny collection of families some 100 yards
from the ocean, it is remarkable that anyone survived at all. Yet some did,
and are living on top of the rubble that used to be their homes. Tents are
pitched on what is left of foundations, ropes tied to chunks of concrete,
logs, the stump of a tree. All but the heartiest vegetation has been
poisoned by the saltwater. Where there are no strewn bricks, broken walls or
roof tiles, there is only dark sandy mud. Scattered in between are broken
memories –- a child’s doll, a smashed picture frame, a radio.
This is what met my eye today, but I was about to experience so much more. A
smiling woman approached us, inviting us to come in –- welcoming us to her
neighborhood. Soon more than a dozen people gathered around to greet us and
share their stories of the day the waves came. Shanta, my colleague and
travel partner from NCC, translated their stories for me.
“I had gone to the market,” the woman told us, “when we heard there was a
wall of water coming. I ran back to get my children, but I could not find
them. Then the water took me and twisted me and carried me off. I somehow
managed to grab onto a palm tree and held on as hard as I could. Somehow I
made it, but I feared my children were lost.”
I knew from the smiles of the children around her that this
story had a happy ending. All three were safe, having run ahead of the wave
to safety. They were reunited at a nearby Buddhist temple, now a shelter.
Her two-year-old son buried his head in his mother’s shoulder, not because
of shyness, but because he feared the ocean. Today was the first time he had
been brought within sight of the water. He pleaded with his mother to take
him back to the safety of their tent. I asked the other children if they
were afraid of the ocean. Everyone, young and old, said yes.
Together we walked down twisted railroad tracks to another part of the
neighborhood. An old woman stopped, looked at a pile of rubble, and welled
up with tears.
We listened as she told how her neighbors, a family of five,
were crushed when the wave demolished their house. It all happened in an
instant. Everyone around her fell silent.
We walked over to a fresh grave. More neighbors. Two mounds of earth -- one
a father, the other, his four-year-old son. Both bodies had been found a few
days ago and buried near the railroad tracks where their home had once
stood. Again, everyone fell silent.
Americans are often uncomfortable with silence. We make small talk. We clear
our throats. We let out a sigh. Yet these wounded and traumatized neighbors
knew what only the best of neighbors know about each other. Silence between
loved ones can be the holiest of times. I stood, looking into the eyes of
the old woman, the two-year-old still frightened by the sea, the mother
still scratched and bruised by her experience.
We stood in silence, and I saw the so-much-more. Neighbors
-– good neighbors -– love one another. They nourish each other in life, and
they comfort each other in death. They give and receive. They laugh and they
cry. They grieve and they rebuild. They help each other remember, and when
it is needed, they offer each other the holy ground of silence in which to
I looked at the mounds of earth in front of us. I didn’t know the father and
son, but I could sense something about them from their neighbors who honored
their lives and mourned their deaths.
These neighbors will get on with living and rebuild, but not
without remembering their friend the father and his son, now forever four. I
thought of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I was in one.
The words of Vince Isner,
The Little Sawah
Written by G. Wakenhut
One of the best ways to comprehend the spiritual
essence of a people is to study their folk legends. We found a helpfully
healing page of their past in a story that portrays a sharing and coming
together as one.
It is called “The Little Sawah”. We adapted our
version from the book “Indonesian Legends and Folk Tales” by Adele de Leeuw
and published by Thomas Nelson and Sons. This book is apparently out print
at present. For those of you unfamiliar with the term “sawah”, it is a wet
He had been a very wise man, and through the years, had
accumulated some of the richest land around the village, but after he died,
his widow did not realize that in order to continue receiving wealth from
the land, she would also have to reinvest in the land. Instead, her fear of
loss (which had grown stronger after her husband’s death), caused her to
clutch important things even tighter.
Where her husband had been quite generous with the
sawah spirits and the village spirits, she gave only a token gesture. The
fact that she had never been given children probably added to this inner
orientation. Missing this important maternal experience, the widow had
never been required to place anyone before herself in significance.
Since her husband’s death, she had relied on a small
boy by the name of Dongso to care for her sawah. To her, he was no more
than the boy who planted, cultivated and harvested her rice.
This year’s harvest looked very good. But she was
still deeply frightened by the unknown of her crop. The stalks were tall
and appeared fruitful. Their golden ears promised a good return. But when
it came time to harvest the rice, these healthy plants became limp with the
sun, and when opened by Dongso, their seed ear contained few if any
Of course, this caused the widow to become even more
frightened and stingy, and she provided even less for the spirits. So, the
second year produced an even poorer harvest. Then she overheard her
neighbors talking about her misfortune and how young Dongso might have been
a bad spirit sent by Allah to punish her for her unwillingness to give.
Comprehending only the “bad spirit” portion of her
neighbor’s message, she sent Dongso on his way. Of course, with a
reputation as bad spirit, no one within the village would employ or care for
the young boy, and word of his bad influence soon spread to other villages.
Dongso wandered for many miles from one house to
another asking for assistance. He finally reached the home of an old
woman. Weak from hunger, he managed a very feeble and desperate knock on
her door. “Please old woman, I am afraid for my life. I am starving. Can
you share with me, a handful of rice?”
The old woman invited him in, and generously shared her
meager rations with him.
After she had filled his hunger needs with her gift of
food, she turned to Dongso with a question. “Young boy, you are such a
strong child. Why do you choose to beg rather than work to fulfill your
With a deeply emotional response, Dongso told her of
the misfortune that had befallen him with the widow.
“I did my best for the widow. I worked hard. I tended
her sawah well. It was not my fault that she was unwilling to give to the
spirits. The old woman agreed.
“Dongso, my name is Randa Derma. I only have a
small sawah, and I have no buffalo with which to plow, but you may stay with
me, and I will share one fifth of our next harvest with you … if you, Dongso,
will tend for my rice.”
Dongso replied, “The size of your field does not
matter.”, and with a voice showing gratitude, he concluded, “I will
certainly do my best for you.”
And early the next morning, taking only a spade, he
quickly opened the earth with the effectiveness one would expect from a team
of buffalo. Then when sowing time occurred, he shared his skills, knowledge
and willingness as he invested in the future of the Randa Derma’s sawah.
After nurturing the plants during the growing season,
he felt his desires were coming true. The stalks of the rice plants were
pleasingly tall and true, and the seed ears created a beautiful shade of
golden yellow to indicate their ripeness.
But when he opened an ear to receive pleasure from its
contents, deep fears from his past returned. The ears were again empty.
His mind quickly flashed to the possibility that Randa Derma had also not
paid homage to the spirits, or “Am I, Dongso, the one who brings bad luck to
He was totally unable to show his failure to Randa
Derma. Sleep would not occur as he fretfully turned from side to side.
Thinking about how unhappy she would be, he planned his leaving. Very early
before the sun would rise, he would sneak away from the village. He would
return to begging until he was able to find work.
And so, like a small frightened animal, Dongso escaped
from the cottage before the sun could light his way. But as he started down
the path away from the village, he found himself drawn to return to the
little sawah where he had labored so long and hard for Randa Derma. With
tears of great sadness, he walked between the beautifully tall stalks with
their empty ears.
Without thinking, Dongso idly plucked an and opened its
husk. As he knew, there were no rice grains within its chamber.
Suddenly, with utter amazement, his mouth dropped in
disbelief. There were no grains of rice, but in their place were two grains
of glittering gold, radiating like the rising sun.
Dongso was sure this couldn’t be. Maybe in one ear,
but surely not more than one.
With great trepidation, he picked another, and then
another, and even another, but each ear contained those wonderful gifts of
He quickly ran back to the cottage, and woke the
woman. “Randa Derma, today we are going to have a wonderful harvest
feast”. But she responded with a saddened look coming from her wrinkled
No, Dongso, I am sad to say we are unable to have a
great feast. All we will share is a simple meal. I gave the last of my
savings to the spirits of the village and the sawah in order that they might
bless our harvest.
“But they have!, cried Dongso in his excitement. “Wait
until you see how they have given to us”, and in his excitement, he began
dragging the old woman toward the sawah and the secret of his wonderful
He broke off an ear and instructed her to open it to
reveal its contents, which she did. Her mouth dropped, and with the joy of
her happiness, beautiful tears flowed from within her compassionate eyes,
and down the warmth of her beautifully giving cheeks.
But Randa Derma, with the wisdom of her years, quickly
composed herself. “Now Allah be praised.” as she dropped to her knees and
lowered her head. “He has given more than a hundred great sawahs could
produce. Allah be praised!”
As she had promised, she gladly gave Dongso one fifth
of her new fortune. Being a rich person, Dongso could now purchase as many
sawahs as he desired and the buffalo to work them.
But the young boy bought neither land nor buffalo.
Instead, he remained with the old Randa Derma to care for the spreading
sawahs that she purchased with her new wealth. And there were others that
came to help with the tilling, planting and harvesting, and Dongso did with
each of these new workers what Randa Derma had done for him. He, in turn,
gave them one fifth of the produce from the sawahs in which they worked.
And so it has been ever since. One fifth of the
harvest is divided amongst the workers, and it has been said that there has
never been want or poverty within that community. The people of Derma have
existed peacefully and comfortably for all these years.
Yes, the village became known as Derma, after the poor
old woman who had given a future to the little boy, Dongso.
Today, the Javanese do not believe that the
fruitfulness of the land around Derma comes from its soil. Instead, they
believe that its good fortune grows from the lovely little temple that
Dongso built in memory of Randa Derma the old woman who took him in. After
she died, he chose the very spot of that first little sawah to create his
memorial temple to her memory.
The Last Journey
Our recent spiritual pilgrimage to Scotland terminated
at the Isle of Iona, one of the Hebrides Islands off Scotland’s west coast.
The ancient Celts who first inhabited this land, found value in what they
described as “Thin Places”.
Photo: Sr. Julia Mohr
These were environmental areas where it was easy
to become one with the spiritual world. Iona was considered to be such a
thin place, and it has served as a spiritual haven down through Scotland’s
history. For centuries, the Scots, after the death of their royalty, placed
the bodies of their kings and queens in boats and made the long sea journey
to the Isle of Iona for the burial.
The music describes that long journey is entitled, “The
Iona Boat song”. John Bell (a contemporary composer, arranger and lyricist
who has done much to document the spiritual importance of Iona) has added
his lyrics to this melody to create...
The Last Journey
Common Ground, A Song Book for all the Churches
Published St. Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland
From the falter of breath,
through the silence of death,
to the wonder that's breaking beyond;
God has woven a day,
for all those whom heaven is fond.
From frustration and pain,
through hope hard to sustain,
to the wholeness here promised, there known;
Christ has gone where we fear"
and has vowed to be near
on the journey we make on our own
From the dimming of light
through the darkness of night,
to the glory of goodness above:
God the Spirit is sent
to ensure heaven's intent
is embraced and completed in love.
From today till we die,
through all questioning why,
to the place from which time and tide flow;
angels tread on our dreams
and magnificent themes
of heaven's promise are echoed below
Many of the images shown
were reduced in size to help this page load faster.
V. Isner's (director of
photos (plus others) can be found at
Craig Hayslip's original photos (plus others) can be found at
Original material on this page and the associated audio broadcast are
copy written. Permission is granted to use any of our original
material provided it is for non-profit use, you inform us of your
application, and credit is given to the Collecting Consort with the
following statement and link..
This material has been created by Anne
and Gary Wakenhut, the Collecting Consort, 888-227-8679, 7363 W. Edgar
Rd., Lakeview, MI 48850. Information about other creative work
including their gently healing music CDs can be found at
suggested that the creators of materials not originated by the
Collecting Consort be contacted for permission before use.