In Dreams Begin…

Each beginning summer weekend from the day I first set foot on Cape Cod, on my own for the first time, I look back on that time with great yearning, with full awareness of all the hope and love in my heart that looked forward to that magical, wonderful summer, in which friendships unfolded against a background of sorrow.  I loved my tiny room, with a sink and little lace curtains.  I yearned for my mother, yearned to win her love and blessings.  As then, so now.

Today I pause to embrace the hope in the heart of the young girl that I was, on my own for the first time.  Let today be filled with that hope.  Let today be full of firsts.  Let today be full of love.  Let today be full of dreams.  Let today be full of beginnings, ever renewing, ever expanding, ever dwelling in hope and joy.  2018 05 28 lace curtain


Sudden Loveliness

The weekend unfolded with small moments of connection with others that meant so much.  The gathering in prayer that has been the source of my nourishment and inspiration during this most unusual and glorious Lent, in which I let go of rituals the completion of which could serve as a source of self-persecution and just allowed the Spirit to speak as the Spirit saw fit.  So many insights, small and large.  Large:  note the familiarity with which Martha (or was it Mary?) speaks to Jesus about Lazarus.  This is O.K. to do two thousand years later.  Larger:  note that Jesus refuses the role of magician, the special spirit to make everything well.  Whether on the mountain, in healing the sick, or in confronting mortality (Lazarus’ and His own), Jesus does not debase his power with special effects.  Thank you, Jesus.  Small:  procrastination can itself be a form of self-punishment, for by delaying we deny ourselves life.

To make matters even more nourishing this weekend, I received a compliment that meant a great deal, and I was able to accept the compliment.  This is growth for me.  And it was equally lovely to begin a dialogue with a new person.  Thanks, Holy Spirit, for allowing me to connect.

Watching, Waiting, Wondering

And so the new year begins, the time of joyful anticipation, the time of planning, of dreaming, of lighting a candle, of remembering that there are no matches to be had in the home, and feeling quietly joyful about that.

The time, perhaps, to wonder whether the notion of joyful anticipation in one’s mind equates to effortless anticipation.  Perhaps not.  Perhaps time to give that a bit of thought, a bit of prayer.

But, oh, this time is beloved.  the candles, the deep purple with the quiet, but attention commanding pink.  So nice.  To light them one at a time.  To savor.  A lost art in this world for which the time of renewal has arrived.


The advent candles were photographed by Alex Harden on December 24, 2006 and are shown pursuant to a Creative Commons license.


The Whole Soil Trope: Well, Whadja Expect?

Is there any passage in scripture more pedestrian than this?  Less exhilirating?  Could Jesus not have done better?  I mean, really.  We get it.  Good seed + good soil = good soul.


Or is it?

There are a million ways to spin out this metaphor, and that may be why it has persisted in spite of its clear hokey quality.

Weeds! That is what came up for me yesterday.  I have been alerted to the idea of avoiding submission to crankiness, to that bent of mind and soul that wants to lament, that gussies it up as “ventilation,” that can turn every splendid blue sky grey.

I do not want to be cranky, whether on my own or with others.

The greatest fertile ground for crankiness, I observe, are My Problems.  These are bigger and better and more important and more intractible than anyone else’s, and they allow me to retreat to a self-centered cocoon.

Time to stop this.  But how?

Perhaps it is time to go hokey by another route.  How about gratitude?  I choke slightly and I want to resist.

But it is time for the list.  The gratitude list.



This very minute.

I must note that I have no capacity to read what is said here.  I just love the idea of growth springing from the written word, particularly from a handwritten journal.


I awoke called to prayer, which was refreshing and encouraging, as in recent months I have been, if not averse, at best dispassionate about praying.  In any case, feeling drawn to prayer seemed a wonderful way to shake off my most recent nightmare, in which I wandered from room to room with authoritative voices tallying up cost estimates for repairs to property left to its own form of entropy.

Good thing my subconscious is not too oblique.  I need waste no time noodling this one out.

How is it that I can try to understand (and it is really a trial, not anything that is anywhere close to intuitive, being loved wholly and totally as I am, yet I am unable to extend that love to others?

I have no answer.  Perhaps there is only practice.  Currently there is present each day someone whose malevolent anger could corrode the sun.  In this person’s presence I tense up, I recoil, I want to run away, I want to lash out, to condemn, to berate, to eviscerate.  I do not criticize myself for having these feelings, for they simply show me that something is wrong.  Yet that does not go far enough.  I seek restoration of the peace in which I seek to dwell at all times, under all circumstances.

Something in these toxic types threatens that equanimity, stirs in me a fear that it will be forever ripped away and that I will be condemned to dwell forever in the land of the dispirited and destructive.   No wonder that is fearsome, for that seems the very definition of hell.

Time was that I would say a little pray before special encounters.  Perhaps the time to return to that practice has arrived.

Something is needed by way of assurance, by way of a reminder that I do not stare down this devil (dare I say it in this oh-so-enlightened world?) alone.  For that is the core feeling that all the inflictions evokes:  that one must live forever alone with this ambassador of spiritual death.

Among this morning’s imagistic awakenings was the old hymn, the old phrase from various sources in scripture, eye on the sparrow.  A humble creature, gifted with flight and voice, but without color, moving anonymously and innocuously, neither besetting nor benefitting anyone or anything.  Yet cherished.



The Costs of Chaos

Everyday demands we drown in media, alert at every moment to “news” telling us what to be afraid of next.  Cultivating a spirit of calm has likely never been simple, but as real and imaginary threats bombard us, the toll is too high.  Take a moment to be fascinated.



Resurrection is unexpected life, the boundless joy of another moment to spend in being, with others, in memory or in daydream.  Heschel observes in The Sabbath that time is eternity in disguise, and so it is, forever eluding us, gone as quickly as it appears, yet immutable in memory just as it is malleable in fantasy.

There are so many ways we might capture that unexpected life in everyday ways. Perhaps it is the stranger’s smile.  Perhaps an inquisitive wag and sniff from a canine passerby.  Perhaps someone offers a seat and strikes up a conversation.  There are 86,400 seconds in a day.  The Resurrection calls us to put them to good use.

Today evoked not just joy, but also the sadness of life, of love distorted.  Yet within acknowledgment of loss came a kindling, a desire to no longer withhold love as if in punishment, a resurrection in its own right.

Today held no expectations, for afflictions had had their grip for months. Yet the stone has been rolled back, the burial clothes cast off.


2017 easter sunday