Psalm 100:1 “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.”
At the far end of the Commissioners’ reception room in the Douglas County Courthouse is a delicate display table adorned with a Bible. Today it was opened to Psalm 100. I am here to meet with Commissioner Ann Jones Guider, and to write a poem. I have found that there is much to celebrate about the comings and going of this office and the intricacies of public service that we generally do not see.
For instance, on my first visit a week earlier, I inadvertently overheard an irate citizen’s phone complaint to a very polite and compassionate Sherri who maintains the front desk. I marveled at her composure and she later confided that a whole range of adventures were part and parcel of this office’s daily fare.
I was not to be disappointed when on this second visit to meet with Commissioner Guider, the Douglas County Fire Chief came by and mentioned he had delivered a baby that very morning at the mother’s home! He looked calm, and perhaps had delivered more than one baby in his career, but I was amazed at the fantastic image it conjured up in my mind. Later, while meeting with Commissioner Guider I learned that she is now the “go-to” person for citizens of District 4 of Douglas County and covers everything from pot-hole sightings to dog-catcher mishaps, budget issues and everything in between.
Commissioner Guider and I had a lovely conversation on many topics. When our talk turned to poetry, she showed me the poem someone had written for her, now proudly framed on her desk. That morning before the meeting I ran across a quote by poet Robert Frost, and after reciting it to Commissioner Guider, we had a lively discussion about our views on its meaning. Frost said, “Poetry is about the grief. Politics is about the grievance.”
I chimed in exclaiming that poetry placed an emphasis on emotion while politics was more of an action. Commissioner Guider added that if we are ruled solely by our emotions (especially when dealing with the public good) we can get into much trouble. She went on to say that when our actions are ruled by faith, we know we can relax and allow God to work. The results are ultimately far superior. I agreed, and in my mind compared that to the creation of a poem: by not getting stuck in the emotion of the images and feelings that arise when crafting a poem, I can bypass the sentimental or painful memories/imaginings. This translates into a poem with a more universal truth behind it rather than a mere emotional reaction to a particular personal experience. Politics and poetry then have a common ground.
Commissioner Guider is an active community member. She volunteers her time with Celebrate Recovery, contributes to many charitable causes, and works hard for the citizens in her district. Recently she was honored with an invitation from Harvard University to share her knowledge and expertise in a roundtable discussion on foreclosed properties and its impact on state, county, and municipal governments.
Commissioner Guider’s joyful service to our community is a blessing. Listen to her words of encouragement for poets entering the American Poet–GA Sports poetry competition hosted by Foxhall Resort & Sporting Club, which is located in her district at http://www.poetrytv.org/sponsors.html We thank Commissioner Guider for her kind and generous support.
Two world collide if we choose sides.
Lift a thought above the fray
peer gently on a discourse.
See one, the other, the space
the breath that lets God in.
Let go, believe in grace, beauty, resolution.
Complete your work
plant and water
act from joy and wonder.
Instead of tears it is best
to give a rain-drenched cloud
flowers dry from drought.