Hello from Chicago

Hello from Chicago

I’m in Chicago for a meeting with new colleagues and feeling very excited and hopeful about the future of our church and our world. There are good, faithful, passionate people committed to transforming the communities where they find themselves at my meeting.

Below is today’s ( April 15, 2013) quote from my new favorite webpage. It is the gift of one of my new colleagues. Click the link beneath that to go to the page for the current quote.

“God’s glory will shine through our lives. It will shine in our faces the shine that comes from knowing God loves us personally, deeply, and has given us work to do, to bring the promise and light of God’s transforming love to our broken and despairing world.

-Br. Eldridge Pendleton
Society of Saint John the Evangelist”


“Look for the Helpers”

I have not posted anything in response to the Boston Marathon because I have needed to sit with my feelings about it for a while. I have felt denial, (I ignored the link in my news feed at first), shock when I turned on the tv midday and then sadness as the extent of the horror became known. Finally I decided I needed to sit with my grief. I haven’t tried to rationalize it, and I haven’t tried to push it away. I haven’t tried to feast on the public grief and outrage either. I have listened for the real bits of news that are emerging and made a huge effort not to get hooked by all the public speculation and fear mongering that always follows such a publically tragic event.

It’s normal for us to look for meaning in a seemingly senseless act. But we are so quick, sometimes way to quick, to look for meaning in the face of tragedy. We want to ask why, when someone sets off a bomb in a crowd at what should be a joyful shared public moment. We want to know who would do such a senseless, horrible thing, and we want to know why they would do something like that. Is it a terrorist attack from an enemy of our country? Is it a mentally ill person seeking some kind of deranged recognition? What, why, who? We want to know because it might help us make some sense of our dismay, and our grief. It might help us comprehend the death of innocent people, and the injury of so many others. So many lives have been torn apart in the middle of what should have been a moment of joy and triumph.

The one thing that I have heard (and seen on Facebook) that has brought me the most comfort and made the most sense to me, in the middle of a senseless situation, is the quote from my beloved childhood hero, Mr. Rogers: “look for the helpers”. When something bad happens there are always people who rush in to help, look for them.

This is where we can find meaning, and for me that means this is where we can find God. In the faces of those who walk into the danger to help someone else, and in the faces of those who grieve, God is there. In the tears of those whose hearts are broken for another’s pain and in the tender touch of a stranger seeking to offer comfort and assistance, God is there. That means something, even when nothing else makes sense.

Snow Day

Snow Day

I come from a family of planners, those of you who know us well, or are part of the family, either by birth or marriage are either rolling your eyes or snorting at the understatement of the year that I just laid out there for all of you. I come from a family of planners. When we gather, we like to know AHEAD OF TIME, where we are all going to sleep, what we will eat for all of our meals, a general outline of our time together, and the various activities in which we may, or may not participate. Most of us don’t do well when the plan changes at the last minute. It throws us off and makes us irritable until we readjust. Sometimes we can all go with the flow, but having a good overall structure to shore us up really makes us feel better.
Last fall things did not go according to plan and my father spent months in the hospital and in recovery from a serious illness. We learned, in this in between time, to roll together through the ups and big downs that came our way. People brought us food, and we helped each other through the time, with our lists, and the shared memory of what a plan looked like, but mostly relying on each other to take turns remembering the details of daily life that needed to be taken care of until the crisis passed.
Maybe it’s because we are so used to planning together that we were able to move into a looser form of sharing our common life, maybe it was the crisis, and our deep, deep love for one another that helped us get through, and maybe it’s because we didn’t know when we woke up each morning what the day would bring, but we were mostly able to let go of the big plan and go with whatever each day brought us.
Now that I am out of crisis mode, my planning gene is kicking back in. As I move into a phase of my life with more external demands on my time, after a phase when my plan was to have no plan for my day to day life, I am falling back into my need for more structured time. I need to know what I am doing for the week, which office will I be in, where is my computer, and where are my yoga clothes, when will I have lunch with so and so, how will I get to work, walk or take the car? What will my sweet husband and I have for meals, where did I leave the milk? Some of the plan is filled in, the rest is by the seat of my pants.
Just as I am getting into what might loosely be called a routine, and I have managed to figure out how to plan my new life: we have entered into a stormy Colorado spring. My best laid plans are often tossed out the window. I have had three days derailed by snow. The first one, I had company, and we made the best of it, and ended up forging ahead with the master plan of the day, the second snow day I spent languishing, unmoored, on the couch mostly. The third snow day, I let go of the meetings, the lunch date and my class, and made a new plan: soup and grilled cheese with my sweetie, and whatever else we got done.
Maybe this is spiritual growth, and I am learning to live more deeply into “being present”, and perhaps I am just getting more nimble with my ability to plan, either way, I am learning to lean more into the now, and less into the “what if”?

Easter Haiku

Easter Haiku

Love conquering over death
Tomb appears empty

Green plastic grass nest
Milk chocolate foil covered eggs
Heirloom cut glass bowl

Granny’s crocheted lace
Hollow chocolate bunnies
Gran’s pink tablecloth

Laughter, chop, dancing
Marinating lamb kabobs
Quinoa tabouleh

Roasted potatos
Chosen family gathered
Berries, lemon fluff

Laughter, eating, full
Jesus Christ is risen today
Love echoes through time