heart place

All of my life I have been a two-world dweller.

One world has been governed by schedules and expectations.  Shoes were obligatory and cultural assumptions and tasks shaped the days.

The other world featured wide open barefoot living.  The song of water moving and the particular of the light set the stage for exploration.  Schedules were set by flesh needs. Lights got turned off when books were ready to be put down for a time.  The day began with the dance of light reflected from the lake onto the oak leaves outside my window.

At the cabin, I was immersed in wonder.

I lived sanctuary as a child, and I have savored it into my adult life.

I am going through deep soul change.  The cabin is soon to be adopted by a new family. Others will learn the rhythm of the days and the protocols of communal life (don’t make noise before nine AM, honor the privacy of neighbors, realize that if you get a jet ski you might be shunned).  The cabin will be inhabited by a different branch of the clan Macaulay.

I pray that it will be sanctuary and wonder-full for them.

My soul is paying attention during this time of transition.  Who will I be without the place of my heart?

I’m praying plenty about how it is that sanctuary is not containable.  The peace and freedom nurtured by the logs in the cabin breathes in all places.  The soul hum of full welcome lives beyond Sand Lake.  I know this in my head.

And, my heart knows that the sacred of the particular is real.

Letting go, blessing, and living into being an integrated one-world dweller are work for these days and beyond.

Perhaps it is time to bring my worlds together; to realize that the sun-dance on water and the treasured smell of a place are witnesses to something so much larger.

I live in God’s expansive world.

I don’t have to own a piece of it to know the peace of it.



Day by Day

When I was a new pastor, there was a tradition at our yearly gathering at Annual Conference.

Each retiring pastor was given three to five minutes to address the plenary – some 800 people. 

I was so moved by the power of that witness.  Here were women and men who had given so much to the movement of United Methodism.  They were eloquent and boring, pedantic and poetic.  I savored it all and wondered what it would be like to speak a whole lifetime of ministry in three to five minutes.

My husband the Rev. Cooper Wiggen is retiring this year at Annual Conference.  He has not been given three to five minutes to speak.  Apparently many felt that the utterances of pastoral hearts made for a long listen, so we don’t get to hear those speeches any more.  More’s the pity.  Instead, Cooper and his wife will be given corsages, Cooper will be given a plaque, and a scant paragraph will be read sprung from the heart of God’s called preacher.  There will be cake to eat and hands to shake.  

Oh, the lives that have been touched by those retiring: Baptisms and weddings and bread broken and tears shared.  How is it that any one soul could be called to be so faithfully open to the souls of others?  How is it that Cooper said “yes” to the call to ministry and continued to say “yes” for 42 years?  Where does such steadfast faith and tenacity come from?

 God calls the craziest souls into community.  God calls us each and all to say “yes” to showing up to our lives and to the world.  God calls us to offer water and bread, forgiveness and laughter to each other and through that offering our very lives are made whole and alive.

What a wonder.

This I know:  I will water my corsage with my tears.  I will weep in honor of my husband’s courage and grace. I will thank God for the boom of Cooper’s voice as the gospel was preached and the tender of his soul as he unpacked with others the gift of being human.  And, I will thank God for that which is yet to come.

Ministry is a life-long endeavor.  We are each forever called.

My favorite poet asks it best:  “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with our one wild and precious life?”  (Mary Oliver)

Through the grace of God we answer the question day by day.

For the newly retired there is a piercing spaciousness to the question.

What is it we plan to do, each and all, with this wild preciousness called life?

Praise God for questions worthy of our heart’s work.


I live in these days with a pervasive and powerful sense of grief.

I love the vision of the nation in which I live.  All are created equal, right? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are certain inalienable rights.  But the whole precious – and who knew how fragile? – vision of what I thought was shared and sacred has been huckstered and profaned through and certainly beyond this past election.

What to make of a nation squandering its heart in fracture?  What to do with earth and women and the poor and the vulnerable collateralized by powerful elite who have no concept of what it is to be other than privileged by gender, race, orientation or social status? What to do with the falling-in-behind the dismantling of compassion by those people who espouse the teachings of Jesus as bedrock in their lives and hearts?  How can Jesus be used as mascot for the impoverishing of millions and the despoiling of this precious earth?

I love the vision of the United Methodist Church.  Transformation of the world is sore needed and the hope of the living Christ as lived through the followers of Jesus is call to lived compassion.  We are called to be antidote to fracture.

What to make of a denomination that condones hate speak?  How can we be about transformation and open hearts, minds, and doors as we participate through our polity in the shutting of doors to the called and the beloved?  How do we preach the Jesus message of dismantling systems of oppression whilst enduring the realities of ministering through a denominational structure bound by just such oppression?

Grief is real.

I’m choosing to feel it.

This coming Sunday is Pentecost.  Pentecost celebrates the ways the Holy Spirit took up dancing on the heads of the fractured and frightened.  Through the power of that Spirit barriers were eradicated and people could hear the hearts and behold the sacred humanity of those they never thought they would understand.

Oh come, Holy Spirit, come!

We are sore in need of the dance.