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Comfort for the Afflicted
Journal Notes by Mary Carol Lewis from her solo sojourn in the valley of sorrow
with quotations from other authors, Selected from Season of Lovers (2003)


I had hoped to have a lover near me
When I walked the path of pain,

But I discover that few are willing

To take that walk with me…


Sunny has gone behind a cloud

Of his own painful memories

About a lost wife who faced surgery

And debilitation and death.


The brown mouse has become frightened

And withdrawn behind his peephole,

And the otter seeks peace 
     upon another shore,

Where he is mourning another loss,

As I face a danger

I have thought of

Only in my wildest dreams.


I seem to be all alone as I face an enemy

That stalks mankind

Especially those too busy

To be vigilant

And protect from its invasion

Of their peace.


They have fears.

I always discover that the men

I know and love have fears.

But I discover to my surprise

That I have fears as well:

Lack of trust

Fear of weakness

Anxiety about flooded consciousness

Concern about the unknown

Distractions and pressures.

These are just a few

Of the most persistent ones.


But I discover again, as I always do,

That true love never fears

And I have company 
     on every path to progress

Or to pass through pain.

I do not walk alone on this journey:


The sun rises each morning –

Sometimes teasing with passing clouds

On the heavenly playground –

Often bright in ecstasy.

The green of the growing things,

And the color of the change,

The sound of the stream at melting snowfall,

The scurry of the unseen small ones.

All these are with me daily.

Someone always hears and comforts.

My soul is at peace.

— Mary Carol Lewis



“Deep calls unto deep

     at the noise of thy waterspouts:

All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me,

    and my prayer unto the God of my life.”

Psalm 42:7-8


“Then comes the father of the tempest forth,

Wrapped in black glooms. First, joyless rains obscure

Drive through the mingling skies with vapor foul,

Dash on the mountain’s brow, and shake the woods

That grumbling wave below. The unsightly plain

Lies a brown deluge; as the low-bent clouds

Pour flood on flood, yet unexhausted still

Combine, and deepening into night, shut up

The day’s fair face.”

            from “The Seasons” by James Thomson


“While Spring shall pour his showers, as of the wont,

And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve!

While Summer loves to sport

Beneath thy lingering light;

While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves;

Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,

Affrights thy shrinking train,

And rudely rends thy robes;

So long, … shall Fancy,

Friendship, Science, rose-lipped Health

Thy gentlest influence own,

And hymn thy favorite name!”

            from “Ode to Evening” by William Collins


“Yes, I remember when the changeful earth had stamped

The faces of the moving year, even then

I held unconscious intercourse with beauty

Old as creation, drinking in a pure

Organic pleasure from the silver wreaths

Of curling mist, or from the level plain

Of waters colored by impending clouds.”

            — William Wordsworth



“Nature gives to every time and season

some beauties of its own;

And from morning to night,

As from the cradle to the grave,

Is but a succession of changes

So gentle and easy

That we can scarcely mark their progress.”

            — Charles Dickens

“The man who can really, in living union of the mind and heart, converse with God through nature, finds in the material forms around him, a source of power and happiness inexhaustible, and like the life of angels…. And when this grandeur of sensibility to him, and this power of communion with him is carried, as the habit of the soul, into the forms of nature, then the walls of our world are as the gates of heaven.”

            — G. B. Cheever       


Not Alone

“Suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope.”

Paul’s letter to the church in Rome


Healing is such a slow, time-consuming, tiring process. 

On my first walk after surgery I noticed several long dewberry vines  
Covered with tiny reddening berries. 

As I continue to see them on my daily walks,

I see that very few have reached their sun-ripened black sweetness. 

I must wait patiently for them to ripen

As I must wait patiently for my body to heal. 

There is no other way. 

Even in optimum circumstances,

Nature will have its own way

And do its job perfectly

And at its pre-established pace. 

I cannot use any means of persuasion to hurry the process. 

I can only use well the time it takes.



On retreat today I walked up mountain

To the prayer garden. 

On the crest of the hilltop

Among the towering oaks and maples

Stood several gray-green majestic stones –

Some larger than an elephant. 

Embedded in a section of one massive stone

Was the trunk of an elm tree –

Three roots straddling a lower portion. 



Nearby was the gnarled root system

Of a fallen evergreen –

Beautiful in its intricate, intertwined woody core. 

Twisted in varied hues of brown, muddy orange and sienna.


It had taken a lifetime to form that root system:

That vibrant tree sending tiny rootlets here and there

Seeking a hold for the storms of life

And an increased water supply from the ground

Surrounding these hardened masses. 

And then years passed as the tree aged, fell,

And began the long decaying process

Until only these lovely brown root bones

Were left to demonstrate the hard work done by the sapling.


And these majestic gray-green stones

Were not dropped from heaven. 

Eons ago they were deposited

In the bowels of the earth

Under the ground that became this magnificent mountain. 

And little-by-little, as the centuries passed

The upheavals came to stand them upright,

And the top soil washed away. 

And the wind and rain rubbed them smooth

And deposited the sand at their base

And turned them from white to gray

And the green puffs of moss

And brown tatters of lichens attached to their thin stone skin.

Some of the stones appear to be small,

Quite easy to pick up,

But they are the noses of more massive stone

Hiding beneath mounds of earth

And waiting for future generations

To discover them and marvel at their size. 

 The trees grew up

Around these stones and among them,

And at last people discovered them

And created a prayer garden in their midst.



And so what is this TIME I am concerned about? 

Creating and healing and change take time:

Sometimes eons, sometimes decades and sometimes weeks.

Now I am healing and creating and changing,

And I am not alone.

More Excerpts from Comfort for the Afflicted

November Notes

Thank you for

the woodland morning glories

the gentle murmur of waking birds

the sun’s radiance sweeping away the clouds

in the morning sky

the tree that stands alone in the distant mist

the call of the migrating geese

the vast grassy field with dew
      on every blade

the vibrant red field flowers

      against the golden harvest grain

the last summer song of the evening cricket


Thank you for

the vast, powerful, gray-green ocean

the ever-pounding surf

the raucous call of sea birds

the strong, salty wind

the mounds of shifting sand

the radiant clouds

the golden sun rising

      in the eternal depth of sky


Thank you for

shocking reality

the comfort of structure

invigorating freedom

the awareness of pain

the confrontation of anger

the path-altering terror of fear

challenging ideas

soul-searching questions

solid, vibrant answers



Thank you for

the streamside evenings

the quiet green of moss-covered stumps

the tiny purple blossoms

      hidden under emerald leaves

the promising beauty

      of shiny chocolate colored acorns

      crashing through the branches above

the spotted cranberry mushrooms

      flinging up white petticoats

      in their dance on the forest floor

the clarity, purity and power

      of the ever-gurgling brook

the occasional note of a bird

      or crack of a tree limb

the continuous hum

      of the late summer insects


Thank you for

the cold, massive, rugged beauty

      of gray-green boulders

the curious spider walk

      of a granddaddy-long-legs

the tiny soft, brown rustle

      of a chipmunk in the fallen leaves

the soft round darkness of an animal’s den

the warm, rough embrace with a water elm

the colorful glory of changing leaves

the last filtered shaft of daylight
      through the trees


Good night

Please Note:  All materials that appear on this web site are donated material. They are all under copyright. Please respect all copyright laws. Please email Bonnie Meadows with any questions at bonnietexas at Thank you.

Our Network for Pilgrim's director, Bonnie Meadows is writing a novel about a small mountain village as seen (and loved) by their new, young pastor. She is entering a contest with a subplot and hopes to share excerpts from her first novel, Autumn Secrets, with the readers who visit the Network for Pilgrims web site soon.  Let us know what you think. 

We would like to hear from you. Bonnie's writing is a work in progress, so we would like to know what you think and what you are curious about. We are also looking for interesting, real stories about incidents you have personally witnessed. All of the characters and all of the events that drive the plot are imaginary; however, other incidents (like the mountain lion visit) have really happened in the area over the past few years. If you know about an interesting incident that might be included in one of the books, please share them. Email your ideas in the body of the message to bonnietexas at 

Further books are coming as well. There are five books in this series. All of these books relate the experiences of five current women who share their lives as they attend seminary together and become new pastors.  Although all the characters are fictional, some of the events they experience are real. Their stories haven't been written yet because they haven't yet happened. Visit this web site often for more information.

Pastor's Book of Secrets

Autumn SecretsSecrets of First CorinthiansKatelyn's Story
Winter SecretsSecrets of JamesLydia's Story
Spring SecretsSecrets of ActsJoanna's Story
Summer SecretsEpistolary SecretsElanor's Story
Seminary SecretsMelody's Story 

Some excerpts from a book on nature's gifts, Season of Lovers by Mary Carol Lewis

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Network 4 Pilgrims/Christ Covenant Int'l Ministries
"Inspiring personal transformation since 1995"
Bonnie Meadows, Director
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