dog friend

We waited (and waited and WAITED) for the right time to find a dog friend.

Our old black lab still lives largely in our hearts. We wanted to give some time for grieving to be. Truthfully, Cooper was much more attentive to the wait business than I was.

So we began to look. We fell truly in love with a black lab/great Dane mix at the Animal Humane society in Minneapolis. We were at the sign the contract stage when we discovered that she already had been claimed by another family. That was hard.

We waded through the considerable angst of Jameson’s illness, found ourselves with a week at the cabin and decided that we would check out the local dog scene.

There was a lab/great Dane mix in Cloquet, so we drove there and were ready to fall in love.

We did fall in love, but not with the dog we expected. That dog was HUGE and not too interested in anything but jumping.

We walked through the shelter. There were many dogs. But the one that caught my tender husband’s heart was a flat-out mutt with the most soulful eyes in dogdom. His name was “Carl”. He looked the part (no offense to any Carls out there!).

He is a mix of Pit Bull and Retriever and Cooper swears Foxhound (ask him why that is so. His imagination is boundless). He is a little over a year, has known two different owners and was, from the behavioral signs, mightily abused.

During our discernment time we were able to spend time with him out of his cage. He crawled on his belly to meet us, his eyes full of love and his body not sure that anything but misery was coming his way.

Of course he went home with us.

We spent the night trying to convince him he could not move into our skin. He is huge of heart, needful of training, and our dog.

What is it about being a dog household? Somehow heart is expanded exponentially and hearth is furred and grounded in ways mysterious and real.

Mickey is home. We have much to learn together but this I know:

Mickey is home.

land forms

My forebears came to this country from Scotland.

While visiting Scotland I felt at home. It was as if the land spoke the language of my soul.

After visiting Scotland, I understand why my ancestors settled in the Duluth area. Having spent precious growing up years in Duluth and having had the opportunity to raise my own children there, it is so very clear to me that northern Minnesota echoes with the rocky and chiseled power of Scotland.

Land forms us and helps us find our way.

After spending a tense three weeks navigating the emotional angst of having a very ill son, the coast became clear for some time away.

We headed for the north shore of Lake Superior and there the land held and blessed. We were able to clamber up rivers and sit in the flowing streams. The big lake soothed and the sun-warmed rocks leeched the tired and worn places of soul-clench.

My cells knew that I was home.

And so I am.

apples, trees and wonder

Today was the wildly joyful wedding of two people who have and will bless this world.

The service lasted nearly three hours. That was amazing.

Also amazing was the fact that my eldest daughter Leah took the pulpit.

She read from the Hebrew bible the account of how it was God appeared to Moses in the burning bush. It is a tale that calls Moses to remember that God is in all places and it ends with a recounting of how it is God was present through the generations. All those named as God-companioned were, of course, men.

Except when Leah read it. She read the account with energy and meaning and it ended with the voice of God assuring Moses that God had been present to his mother and to her mother and to Sarah and to Rebecca and to Leah and to Rachel.

And I thought as I watched my daughter launch her heart into proclamation that for too long astute and powerful women have been subjected to a recounting of God’s story that does not include them.

I have known this. I have named the scriptural and traditional gender warp that has too often cast women as bit players. I have mourned the ongoing (still???) challenge it is to find hymnody or liturgy that is fully inclusive of women as Holy reflectors.

Today, I know the enormity of woman loss in a place deeper yet because my daughter took the pulpit and made the story her own.

Isn’t that what we are waiting for?

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

From generation to generation it is our story.

It’s time for the women to speak.

in a day

This morning I was witness to holy leave taking.

A church member, vibrant of soul and young of age, breathed her last.

She was surrounded by the resonant beauty of her fine life: Her partner, mom and sister acted as resurrection midwives. She had prayed that her death might be grace filled. And so it was.

All day today the church has been alive with the sound of music.

Tomorrow we will celebrate the marriage of two amazing folk. They have collected a tribe of singers and dancers who will lead us in a full-hearted celebration of love. There is music happening in most every space available. Our day care children are in awe, as am I.

Love. It’s what life is all about.

Today as Lori let go and tomorrow as Drew and Cassie cleave it is love that moves the loosing and binding that is life.

Love.

Born in the heart of the Holy.

Savored by the wise.

weave

This has been a summer of prayer school.

Sure. I talk about it. I teach it. I do it.

And then family hearts break because of impossible tragedy. Then the chaos of misery strikes my child.

Then I realize that I am held by a weave of hearts connecting to the Holy and in that weave I am grieving sister and aunt and wracked mother and I am raw want and I am held.

I am held.

Love breathes through prayer. The number of people who have prayed and are praying for my loves and for others in this God blessed world is wondrous.

The song of prayer, whispered and bellowed and sung minute by minute and heart by heart.

Prayer; the heart longing of God reached out and returned as the breath that is life.

I’m learning.

Hallowed be.

in a name

At the hospital where son Jameson stayed, there was a white board.

On the white board there was a spot for writing the names of contact people for the patient.

In said spot for said son, there were three names written, each with a different last name.

What’s in a name?

While going through the shatter that is divorce, it feels like the word “family” will be forever grief soaked. The days of assumed roles and relationships are forevermore gone. There is a deep sense of loss in that. The “who are we now?” is question near desperate for answer.

And, resurrection is real.

Those three last names? They represent a dad and a mom and a step-father committed to the body-soul-mind health of our beloved. Those three last names represent a tribe of people who are committed to companioning each other through love and life.

Three last names represent family in all of its complex stunning foibled power.

What’s in a name (s)?

Family. Our family.

Our answer.

fragile

While fully in the trenches of healing crises, there isn’t a whole lot of psychic space for terror to lodge. The tasks of diagnosing and triage take center stage.

But now, now that Jameson is home and convalescing the awareness of vulnerability is immense.

Who knows where he picked up the virus that is taking his body hostage? Who knows what sort of calumny lingers for us each? Who knows?

A gifted healer friend offered to come over last night to offer healing for Jameson. He agreed that it would be good. Unable to be there, I asked her afterward how she experienced Jameson.

She said this: “He is a boy/man going through his first health crisis. (He is) learning to take it seriously and appreciating the support of family, faith and friends.”

What a prayer, those words.

We are, each one of us, experiencing the incredible vulnerability of living in bodies that sometimes falter. We sometimes take that seriously. If we are wise, we live gratitude for the support of family, faith and friends.

This gift of life is so very fragile.

God grant us wisdom, grace, and reverence for the living of these days.