Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
share post

For Leslie ~ From Amy Malskeit

April 22, 2023

Amy Malskeit

As I worked on a book review for The Lost Spells that I wrote in the Spring of 2021 for The Cultivating Project, I came across a poem called “Thrift” which immediately made me think of Leslie. I called her and read it to her as a benediction, then wrote:

Immediately this poem described not just a plant with which I was unfamiliar, but became a metaphor for a friend who has lived for the past year with multiple forms of cancer in her body. She is choosing to bloom fiercely and honestly, to cling to the cliff of uncertainty, to bring beauty in the midst of her grief and pain. The poem ends:

Thrift blooms on spot-heap and tailing,

for Thrift knows hardship is a limit not

a failing; Thrift persists despite all odds,

and Thrifts gift is—Thrifts grace is—

to give a glimpse of hope in the tightest

of spots, the toughest of places.

This picture of hope and beauty in the middle of pain and limitation continues to lift my gaze.

Leslie is leaving a hole in the fabric of this world that will not be mended. She has taught me about finishing—not just her last days, but in the way she chose to live all the way to the end. When we spoke last, she was concerned that she wouldn’t have time to finish the letters of blessing she wanted to write to each of her daughters. She loved generously (and by her admission, imperfectly), and didn’t want that to go unsaid, especially to those she loves the very most. She lived as a poeima within the strict form of her cancers, and challenged me by her living, to live my life more singularly. Not to be more like Leslie, but to be more Amy.

This tribute by Amy Malskeit is part of an “In Memoriam” series we are running this week for our dear friend Leslie Anne Bustard. 

The featured image, “Distant Drums Unfurling,” is courtesy of Lancia E. Smith and used with her glad permission for Cultivating.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

A Field Guide to Cultivating ~ Essentials to Cultivating a Whole Life, Rooted in Christ, and Flourishing in Fellowship

Enjoy our gift to you as our Welcome to Cultivating! Discover the purpose of The Cultivating Project, and how you might find a "What, you too?" experience here with this fellowship of makers!

Receive your complimentary e-book

Explore the

Editions Archive


organized for ease by author and category.

View Our Editions Archive