In the mountains of Western North Carolina, the grass is growing again, the birds have returned, the carpenter bees are eating a perfect circle in the railing of my front porch. Spring has returned. The nights are soft and clear, and a certain yearning has returned to my heart. I love to wander under the twilight sky, deep into the evening—because, in the twilight, I can inhabit an edge.
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As we have journeyed through lent together, we have only seen the backs of people’s heads in our images. Their faces have been left unseen by us. They have walked on away from us into the unknown, leaving us to ponder and ask, “Who are they? Where are they going? What are their names? What might it be like to see their face?”
There is something deep in the naming of a child. My husband and I have named five children, and not once did we do so lightly. We scoured baby-name books, made sure the middle names fit phonetically with the first names, screened favorite names for unfortunate meanings, and, even after all that, my hand shook as I wrote each new name down on the blue birth certificate form. After all, our names shape us.
This is week five. We are more than half way through our Lenten Journey, and I am hearing the rustling of plans.
Are you coming here for Easter? What should we eat? Do the kids have new outfits? Shoes? Easter baskets?
Easter isn't here yet, but it is close enough to be nudging its way in.
In the British science fiction show, Doctor Who, the Doctor is a Time Lord who can cheat death by a process called regeneration. He (and now she!) has been played by thirteen actors, allowing Doctor Who to be tv’s longest running sci fi program. With each new regeneration, the Doctor takes an episode to get reacquainted with the new body, new personality, and new preferences. Usually in the midst of a high stress, world-saving dilemma, while using that top-notch brain to devise a clever solution, the Doctor is in the midst of the chaos, figuring out who s/he is now.
This past summer, I left my beloved community at the Bonhoeffer House to move to Wichita, Kansas. As I said goodbye to my friends and family to go to a new place, I noticed a recurring question rising up within me, “Will I be able to make any friends in this new place?” After years of having a strong community around me, I was afraid that I would be alone and lonely…Why is it that we are afraid of being alone?
A woman stood at the mouth of a cave. Any beauty her face would hold tomorrow had turned to gray, stern grief overnight. Her hair lay raggedly on her shoulders; her feet were dusty. She felt dry and limp—too exhausted to scrape together enough spirit to form tears, but, unbelievably, she could feel them soaking into the neck of her cloak.
As a contemplative myself, I am always interested when people talk about silence. For most, a time of silence is about withdrawal from the everyday world for a time of introspection. It is quite common for people to describe a time of silence wistfully, as if it were some unachievable goal. When I suggest getting up a little earlier, or going to bed a few minutes later, or setting an alarm during the day, people often smile and set the idea aside, unwilling to devote any time in their schedule for something as self-indulgent as a quiet time for themselves.
I understand grace as an invitation toward something wonderful and a revelation of God’s loving action in our world. With this understanding, I see grace at work in my neighborhood. I have neighbors with gifts to share, and my neighborhood has resources and assets. Those treasures catch my attention and draw me toward an abundant life. Those treasures also reveal God’s action, as God has planted gifts in every single person.
Kryptonite is an alien mineral that has the property of depriving Superman of his power. It is a fluorescent green stone that is usually used against superman in a solid form, and the radiation from the crystalline rock causes sickness and ultimate weakness. One of the most difficult things about Kryptonite is its potency; however, because it is such a distinct mineral it is obvious when you encounter the substance.
In his book, Returning from Camino, Alexander Shaia explains that the advertised destination of any given pilgrimage is not the end but the turning around point, and it is only through the long process of returning to walk the ways of the mundane and usual that the work of pilgrimage is brought to fruition.
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth…
In the beginning.
The beginning is a starting place. It is the sunrise over a day that has not yet seen the rust and wear of the afternoon. It is a new chance to live. It is a place to choose, once again, who you will be. Whom you will serve. Whom you will allow to be your teacher.