A new year dawns.

My beloved has left on a jet plane. He is Hawaii bound. He will join his two older sisters for a sacred time of sharing breath and paying homage to the odd and powerful mystery of kinship.

Cooper’s eldest sister is dying. There have been years of silence and wrangle and now, now the time for transcending hurt has come.

It seems fitting, somehow. In the midst of paradise three people of soul and story will open themselves to the ache of the old and the invitation of the new and their vulnerable courage will free them each.

We are called to such freedom. The compassionate heart of the Christ calls us to such freedom.

A new year dawns.

We are the vulnerable and courageous and life is so very short.

May the time of transcending hurt come to us each.



It’s Father’s Day.

I miss my dad.

He wasn’t the kind of father that taught me how to fish or change a tire.

He was the kind of dad who taught me to love poetry and truth and justice and the delicious oddities found in the daily of life.

I am spending this Father’s Day at the cabin. It was his home for the second half of his life and as I go through this day I remember cups of coffee and conversations, the rising of cigarette smoke and the rumble of his voice. I remember the ways that he paid attention and asked questions that invited me to move deeper into my life.

It wasn’t always easy between us. I remember that too.

On this day what I remember is the powerful pull that is love. From him life was given. Through him life was learned.

And still it is so.

Still it is so.


Carole King’s Tapestry album was the soundtrack for my teens.  The album somehow found each part of me and gave it voice.

One of the songs that has been sounding in my being this past week is the song “Home Again”.  It begins: “Sometimes I wonder if I’m ever going to make it home again, it’s so far and out of sight.  I really need someone to talk to and nobody else knows how to comfort me tonight.”

Besides the fact that the song is soul-woven, it has sung in my heart because of the power of the story of the Prodigal.  Jesus tells a story about a man who loses himself in the so-many distractions that can lead us to groundlessness.  Jesus tells us that the man “came to himself” and decided that he wanted to return home to the place where he is known and taken in, stupendous stumbles and all.

It is our story in so many ways, is the story of the Prodigal.  We sing the song of “Home Again” so many times in our lives.

We wander seeking home throughout our lives.  We convince ourselves that home can be found in chemicals or time fritters or shopping or something someplace someway that will take away the great lonely of living.  We wander and long and wonder and then, oh then, we come to ourselves and remember Home.

Home in the great expanse of the Holy whose song dances through us yet.  Home in the wrap of claiming and welcome that awaits us if we would but cease our scurry.

Home in the heart of God;  taken in, welcomed and fussed over are we.


Advent 18

My mom is coming for Christmas.

It’s a seemingly simple sentence dense in power.

We are, we two, not unlike lots of moms and daughters.  We have spent the 55 years of my life clashing wills and life views.

My mother is a woman who knows with certainty what is seemly and what is not and her surety has extended to the needful state of cupboards (pristine!) and planned menus for each meal.

Her daughter?  Not so much.  For some reason my mother was presented with a girl-child who resisted blacks and whites and rebelled against imposed order.

We have lived, we two, a challenge.

I don’t know what it is about mothers and daughters.  The desire to protect, the temptation to create in our own image or the image of what we wish we had been able to able to call our own; so many things swirl beneath the surface of this elemental heart dance.

What I know is that my relationship with my mother affects my daughters and will affect their daughters.  If there is work to do, running from it robs not only me and my mom but the generations that follow.

So we have worked.  When it might have made sense to let it go and play it safe, we have engaged with each other and risked the hurt and vulnerability of letting each other know that it matters.  Our honest hearts won’t let go of each other.

My mom is coming for Christmas.  She will be in the midst of the feasting and the laughter and I know full well that she will bite back comments about how things might be better organized and I know full well that sometimes those comments will slip their way out of her mouth and into my ear.

But they don’t have to take up space in my heart.

What takes up space in my heart is profound admiration for the mighty mite that is my mom.  She has endured much, lived much, and loved much.  She has not let go of me.

Gathering for Christmas means readying our hearts.  We will mourn those absent, mark in our hearts the shifts and losses and remember years gone past when things were different.

But oh, the chance to be present to the wonder of the Word Made Flesh in our midst is stunning gift.  We get to learn what it is to love.

My mom is coming for Christmas.

Thanks be to God.



I caught up with a woman via email this morning.

She was connecting around the recent election.  In her note was news of her mother.  It seems her mom is very ill.

Her mother is around the same age as my own mom.  We got to know each other in the course of living life and I love this woman.  We have scrapped and we have enjoyed each other’s minds and differences.  She is a theologian as sharp as any I have met and my books still bear post-it notes in her hand, through which she shared her questions and challenges in conversation with the author.

She has struggled openly and frankly with decisions I have made along the way of my life.

And, I love her.

What is it about people we encounter?  Sometimes the most unlikely folk become our life’s companions in ways precious and rare.  Surely a more unlikely friendship couldn’t much be imagined.

But we have shared life and mutual admiration and a mutual recognition of a slew of differences and that sharing on this day I know as gift.

As it will be; always.


I’m still digesting the feast laid out by poet David Whyte yesterday at a gathering held at Hennepin Ave UMC.

In talking about the wild learning project that is living and loving, he spoke of the power of forgiveness.

Whyte said that if a friendship has lasted over the years, each individual has had opportunity to forgive and be forgiven through the years.

In order for relationship to be, forgiveness is a crucial ingredient.

What gift it is to greet and name forgiveness as necessary in relationship rather than trying to dodge the reality that there will be bumps and hurting through any companionship that is real.

The acknowledgement of the sometimes heartbreak and disappointment that is living in relationship is a unique gift given by the teachings of Jesus.

According to an insight shared by some wise person I encountered in my reading, while all religious traditions teach a version of the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), Christianity is unique in that Jesus was specific about how it is we are to practice the soul art of forgiveness.

I’m grateful for that.

This morning I sat over coffee with two women I have known as friends for over twenty years.  As I took in the gift of their being I was aware of gratitude for forgiveness given and received.  I can’t remember that we’ve gotten into major scrapes through the years, but I know that hurts and challenges have accompanied our relationships.

Yet there we were, the forgiving and the forgiven, reveling in the miracle of years lived in each other’s company.

Being human is no solitary pursuit.

Soul gifts come in the stretch and song of loving.

Forgiveness frees, teaches, and waters the tender bungle that we are.

Thanks be.