Thursday, December 15, 2022
Sometimes our best friends and teachers come on four legs.
Our dog, Sammy is one such friend. He is growing older. Lori adopted him when he was about 3 or so, and she’s not sure exactly how old this multi-faceted (read: mutt) is. Consensus puts him somewhere in his 13th year. And he seems fine with that. He’s seems to be fine with whatever / whoever is around him at the time. He’s fine with whatever is being served for breakfast and dinner – he would suggest (often with great enthusiasm and tail-wagging) that meals be served earlier and earlier - and perhaps with bigger servings. Sammy is fine with going on a walk around the block every morning. He is fine with smelling (and often watering) every blade of grass along the way. Sammy is just an easy-going-guy in the world.
And as I am spending my first year with him, he is becoming a kind and gracious teacher, more a rabbi than a pet. He is one hopeful creature. Sammy has a positive and even encouraging countenance. You can just tell that about him. He has a way of looking at you or at the door or his dinnerplate, with eyes filled with hope. Sammy seems to understand that he can’t control all that is in his life. He can’t put his leash on himself and head outside for a walk. He can’t reach the counter to pour himself dogfood. So, Sammy seems to spend much of his day hoping. There is grace and gentleness in that. And in that gentleness, there is this remarkable, buoyant, sometimes contagious optimism for the next amazing thing to happen.
Hope takes on a preciousness when it is more particular than broad. Like a beam from a lighthouse, hope can point us to what needs to happen next. Not in a way that demands anything really, instead hope nudges and then guides us to the next good thing. Sammy seems to be remarkably gifted with trusting. He appears to be so generous with forgiving. This sweet, kind soul is much like a guru in letting go of being disappointed. If something doesn’t happen or something doesn’t go right, he’ll often shake his whole body, have a big stretch that ends with a big sigh, and then moves on to what’s next.
Hope is hard to pair with other words. Sister nouns just aren’t the same, they just can’t be substituted as easily. Wished for isn’t the same. Dreamed of? Nope, not the same. Envisioned? No, hope carries story and beyondness in it. Many creatures “get” that. Many creatures aren’t as wedded to the outcome as we humans seem to be. Sammy’s hope is rooted in his love for his human companions and something else. There is a freedom of his spirit, there is a delight in his living, there is an openness to all that is next that I yearn to learn.
And as I finish typing, there’s sweet Sam, lying on his dog bed under my feet, wagging his tail, looking perfectly content. Hmmmm, I wonder what he’s hoping for now???
Hopes and fears meeting
Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
I’m wondering as I’m wandering and thinking about how grateful I am for Christmas carols. Every year these carols are comforting and guiding companions for this season. Most every year there is one carol that seems to pull up a chair and stay for a while. Most every year there is a melody or a phrase that lingers a little bit longer in my heart.
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee…
Hopes and fears. Pairs. Side-by-siders. #Wouldn’tbeherewithoutyou’s. Left and right footers. What goes up must come down’ers. Hope paired with fear would not necessarily be my first inclination for a companioning Christmas carol’s phrase. But as I sit with this phrase now, I’m wondering why not? and thinking of course. It’s not that they are opposites. They lend themselves to the notion of breathing in and breathing out. There is a bond-shared between the two, almost like an ongoing, this-may-take-us-a-lifetime-to-understand conversation. Hope empathizes with fear and fear knows well the struggles abiding within hope. Now they meet one another here on the way to Bethlehem and these words are lingering in me.
And I’m wondering about and wandering beside the phrase of all the years. When I try to imagine all the voices who’ve lent themselves to this song over all the years…it’s a heart-warming task. Imagine the boots pulled up and scarfs wrapped `round necks as these words have been sung on snowy neighborhood streets; candle-lit chapels with services on dark December nights; in front of fireplaces with wood popping and hot chocolate steaming. Years of rumors of wars and promises of peace. Years of babies welcomed home and a now-empty chair at the table. Years of pencil marks made in the doorway leading into the kitchen bearing witness to an inch or two grown and another year passed. All the years.
Maybe for me the carol’s gift is in the recognition, the ah-ha of my hopes and my fears meeting one another. Here in Bethlehem, we are promised an intersecting. Here an interconnection, as if for the first time. Neither hope nor fear overshadowing the other. Neither demanding too much. Instead, here they meet and continue on together, walking side-by-side. Hope and fear meeting – as if for the first time – in a manger behind a crowded inn in Bethlehem. Perhaps this carol has been singing her message to me since my first hearing as a child. Perhaps it’s taken me this much life to listen and appreciate. It feels like I am hearing now its message for the first time: the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
So, we continue on to Bethlehem. Some wondering and wandering more than others. Each knowing her heart’s own hopes, his heart’s own fears. For centuries now we’ve been promised that something life-changing will be happening in Bethlehem. We are getting closer. I can feel it in my bones, I can hear it singing in my heart. Right foot, left foot.
Holy One who sings our songs for us long before we can sing them for ourselves. Holy and gracious One, your compassion for all your children is beyond our understanding and as close to each of us as our very next breath. God of our stories and our songs, we are so very grateful. Amen.
Hope doesn't matter...
Monday, December 12, 2022
These December nights always feel darker to me. Darker than even a couple weeks ago, darker than I know it will be in a month or so from now. In our heads we reason that it’s because the earth’s orbit is just doing what she does and is making her way around the sun. In our hearts during these Advent nights, this time of waiting for the coming of a promise-kept, this is the time that understands our feeling of a deeper darkness. 2022’s Advent feels even more tender for many of us. This December, this season many of us are journeying to Bethlehem with wounded and weary spirits.
Earlier this year, David Lewicki, my pastor at NDPC in Atlanta preached a sermon about hope. He talked about ways we do and don’t do hope. About ways we trust it and doubt it. About ways we cling to and lean on it. “Hope doesn’t matter,” he said, “until nothing matters more.”
This Advent I am leaning heavily on hope. I am listening with a tender heart for the hymns and prayers of encouragement. I am lighting candles, trusting that the love that has brought me thus far will continue to guide me on. Left foot, right foot. Sometimes it’s the best thing, sometimes it is the only thing I know to do.
“…until nothing matters more.”
For seven years I was privileged to work as a chaplain with hospice. For most of that time I was the bereavement coordinator and supported family members for the year after their loved one died. During those years there were so many stories of connecting and re-connecting, of steps forward and back and forward again. Stories of endings and beginning agains. Stories of holding on and letting go.
I’m thinking today about a woman whose husband of 73 years had died and she’d invited me over to her house for lemonade. It was a hot and humid Atlanta day and when I pulled into her driveway, I saw her rocking on her front porch. She and I had talked several times on the phone, and it wasn’t until I’d pulled up the second rocker and she offered me something to drink, that I realized she couldn’t see. During our conversation she said that she had lost her sight over the past several months. As we rocked and talked, she described all the flowers and trees in her front yard, and I realized she was no longer seeing them, but that she knew them by heart.
She told me that she and her daughter had decided that she could no longer stay in this house and that she would be moving into an assisted living to be closer to her daughter. “I never thought I would leave this house, or even thought that my husband would die. But my daughter’s right, I need to do this. It will be hard for me to learn a new place because of my macular degeneration, but it’s what I’m going to have to do.” And then she said, “Lesley, I need you to help me with something. Come and look inside.” We went into the house, and she described every painting on the walls of her living room and then her bedroom. “When I move in, I need your help putting these paintings on the walls in my new apartment. I want them to look just as comfortable on those walls as they look here. I want my daughter to know that I’m going to be alright and that I’m at home in my new place and that she doesn’t have to worry.” Hope doesn’t matter until nothing matters more.
As we sit alone late into the night and sometimes early into the coming of morning – hope companions us. In these hours when nothing matters more, we trust that we will (once again) hear a bird or two or maybe three sing, and that our hearts will be nudged a bit in our listening. We will turn our hearts to where we trust the light will come, even before we feel the warmth on our faces. We hope because it matters …
(Breathing in) "Hope comes"
(Breathing out) "to the place where the hurt is"
Singing in the Stairwell
Saturday, December 10, 2022
This past week I’ve been writing about Faith, about grace and invisible strands, about seeing in the dark. As we’ve been journeying toward Bethlehem, we’ve felt in our bones this growing-darker time. And even with Wednesday’s magnificent full moon, we can each speak to a sense of more darkness coming. In the coming week I’ll be writing more each day about Hope. Seeking and remembering and discovering it. Learning from and leaning on it.
Reflecting on our recent living with and through COVID feels like both hands trying to hold, or at least support this awful time. Flatten the Curve. Washing hands. Social distancing. Mask up. Travel restrictions. Bubbles. Impossibly fearful times; surprised by beauty times. Both / and.
Even while living in the midst of the Pandemic, I tried to figure out what I was learning. Even in the midst I kept believing that all of it had to mean something. These scary, overwhelming, often desperate days had to mean something greater, something bigger. Not in a way of being `Little Miss Sunshine,’ because I don’t think anyone on the planet was in that place, but in a way of this has to matter for something.
As you’re reading this, are you able to think about a moment, an event that embodies your Pandemic experience? It’s probably not surprising to those of you who know me well that I can think of several ah-ha moments. But if I were pressed to tell you about only one, it would be the day Lucy (aka Lorie Jeanne) and I sang in the stairwell.
During the Pandemic I was working at the Children’s Hospital in Atlanta. Soon into the lock-down, even as essential workers, our work hours were shortened from full- to part-time. We were also offered coverage on the cleaning crews to make up the hours. [Remember when we believed that the virus stayed on surfaces? In hospitals there are immeasurable surfaces – doorknobs, railings, tabletops, on and on] I was able to pick up enough shifts during that time to cover my bills and I was grateful.
My colleague Lorie Jeanne and I tried to work as many cleaning shifts together as we could. Midway through our first day with the assignment of “clean all the surfaces from top to bottom” of our six-story building, Lorie morphed into Lucy and I, her faithful sidekick, Ethel. My Pandemic moment was that first afternoon in the staff stairwell. In addition to the six floors this stairwell continued below ground for four more floors down into the parking deck. We started at the very top, Lucy with one handrail and me on the opposite side. Making our way down, step-by-step. Scrubbing away like our lives (and our co-workers’ lives) depended on it. I honestly can’t remember now if it was me or Lorie Jeanne, but we started singing spirituals. “I looked over Jordan and what did I see…” “Gonna lay down my burden, down by the riverside…” The spirit of that day and the acoustics of that stairwell lent themselves perfectly to our singing.
The stop-you-in-your-tracks miracle came as we were singing. As we made our way down, every now and then we could hear a door open and close. Then we heard another’s footsteps on the stairs. I could never tell where they were in the stairwell, only that they were there. More often than not, whoever had entered also began singing with us. Sometimes with the words, not always. Sometimes harmony, not always. Sometimes in tune, not always. Every time with some shout of something like, “thank you for that,” as the stranger (angel?) exited the stairwell and left us singing on as we made our way down.
One quote that I have been carrying with me in my wallet through the Pandemic speaks well to this moment from the stairwell. Morgan Harper Nichols wrote, “Choosing to have joy is not naively thinking everything will be easy. It is courageously believing that there is still hope, even when things get hard.” Yes, and yes and may it be so.
Thanks to Booth 25 for this precious tree ornament
God of our Singing, we give you thanks. For the melodies and harmonies, for the words that come when words are hard to come by, for the stories held in each story sung, for the angels who bring unexpected alleluias, for your lovingkindness as close as our next breath. God of our Songs, we give you thanks this day. Amen
What do I want for Christmas?
I want to kneel in Bethlehem,
the air thick with alleluias,
the angels singing
that God is born among us.
In the light of the Star,
I want to see them come,
the wise ones and the humble.
I want to see them come
bearing whatever they treasure
to lay at the feet
of him who gives his life.
What do I want for Christmas?
To see in that stable
the whole world kneeling in thanks
for a promise kept:
For in this nativity
we find ours.
~ Ann Weems from Kneeling in Bethlehem
Sunday, December 11, 2022
The house where my sisters and I grew up, was perfect for Christmas mornings. From the second floor there was a staircase down to a landing, then around the landing’s corner to five more steps leading down into the living room. On those early mornings, sitting between Claud and Bets, we’d listen hard to what was happening downstairs by the Christmas tree. I remember barely being able to contain my excitement. Those precious moments embodied all the wonder and energy held in anticipation. When I hold those memory snapshots of Christmas mornings-past, my spirit can re-connect with that most life-bringing feeling of hope. Right before we three tore down the stairs and whipped around the landing and bound toward the tree…those moments held all of it ... Anticipation. Expectation. Hope.
There is a joy that spans the generations during this holiday season. For each age there seem to be particular mile markers. Each age has common language and behaviors. Waiting up for Santa then I’ve still got gifts to wrap then Do you remember that Christmas when we…? As I have been moving from generation to generation, I am finding myself reminiscing a lot this Christmas. And what comes with the rememberings is tears. Lots and lots of tears. I’ve known about these tears for as long as I can remember. I watched my grandmothers cry and then watched my mother and now I am crying. And many of the tears overflow with faith, hope and love. Watching these generational practices and hearing their familiar words and songs bring the ah ha’s for me only found in these precious December days.
What are you hoping for this Christmas? Have you thought much about it? Do you have practices and words for welcoming it? Is there room for hope inside you with all the busyness of these days?
Ann Weems’ images of what hope looks like speak to my heart. Like Ann, I also long to hear the air thick with alleluias. I long to glimpse an angel or two. My spirit is yearning for wise and humble ones gathered side-by-side, waiting, and looking in the same direction. From villages and townships in Ukraine to neighborhoods in Gaza and the West Bank; from Sanibel Island to the Capitol Rotunda all of God’s children are whispering prayers during these holy-days for new life.
(a couple lines from John O’Donohue’s “For Presence”)
Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention. Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul. May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder. Amen.
Thursday, December 9, 2022
Traveling on vacations with my parents and sisters when we were growing up often held opportunities for good conversations. I remember this once-or-maybe-twice-a-year uninterrupted time with both parents, with miles to go before we slept. Sitting here, decades later in early December 2022, I’m wishing for one more of those precious conversations today. I’m wondering about the difference between active and passive verbs and whether there really is a difference. I’m thinking about nouns that somehow feel like verbs. I’m not needing an academic answer (Miss Heath did her best with me in 10th grade English), I’m just thinking about the notion of faith.
Priestly theologian, Richard Rohr wrote that faith can’t be contained in creeds. He reminded us that faith means too much to only `live in our heads.’ Instead, Rohr wrote, “God can only be loved and known in the act of love…Love is like a living organism, an active force-field upon which we can rely, from which we can draw, and we can allow to pass through us.”
Traveling on this December journey invites us into precious conversations, invites us to wonder and wander with memories and prayers, with wishes and dreams for what can be next. These companions can nudge and reassure us along the way. As I’ve been left- and right-footing these Advent days, I’ve been mindful of all that has happened in this past year. Faith has been a noun. It both held me and held on to me. Time after time faith has also presented herself as a verb. It has guided and energized me in her way of moving in and through me. I’ve been mindful of so many moments when my faith participated with sleeves rolled up and my best-self leaning in.
The words from the Epistle to the Hebrews in chapter 11 are whispering to me this day: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” The chapter goes on to name folks who stepped out in faith: “By faith Abel…; by faith Enock…; by faith Rahab…”
Today I am reflecting on ways I stepped out with faith and in faith. By faith I retired, by faith I moved to CA and Lori welcomed me home, by faith I am beginning this third chapter… Our lists, yours and mine, are not the same. Each experience her own. Each story, his to share. And somehow our faith journeys walk side-by-side. Sometimes sharing long stories, sometimes just sharing a word or two. Precious conversations all. As we make our way through these growing-darker nights, it matters that we name and claim our noun-moments and verb-moments of faith.
In the night as I gaze at the stars in their flight,
Although nothing is said in response to their flight,
I can see many things that remain out of sight.
It is faith that I find it is gentle and kind.
It gives light to the blind and sweet peace to the mind.
~ from Spoon River Anthology
Listening for Virginia's Voice
Thursday, December 8, 2022
On Tuesday mornings I go to a nearby assisted living facility and sing with folks on a memory unit. Every week a group of us gather in a circle and sing songs (“Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street”). This week we sang Christmas carols. Virginia is a faithful attender. Most Tuesdays she sits close by, appearing to be sleeping in her wheelchair while the rest of us sing. This week we were singing “Silent Night” when I heard her voice for the first time. I looked over and she was quietly singing along with everybody else. Her eyes were opened, but she had a far-away look on her face. When we all finished singing, I looked over and Virginia appeared to be asleep again.
There are stories we will never know. Unknown stories about folks we encounter for just a brief time and even stories unknown about folks close to us. I would love to be able to ask Virginia about when she remembers first singing “Silent Night.” I wonder if she remembers who taught her those words. I would love to hear more of her voice.
In the hurrying and scurrying of these December days it matters that my spirit does not get swept along too fast. It matters that in this season there are pauses enough to pay attention to what is near me. There can be glimpses of stories in so many daily moments. There are gifts to be received and given in these moments that are holding us all.
There are also stories unknown about folks who are close to us. It would be impossible to hear every story from folks in our inner circles, but I would like to hear as many as loved ones would like to share. Stories of connections and discovering and reconciling. Stories of messing up and making a way through. Stories about setting out on adventures and stories about coming home. Ray Bradberry invited us into this story-listening practice when he said, “Treasure this day and treasure yourself. Neither will ever happen again.” This Advent is reminding us about that as we are making our way through these December days. One story sung and heard at a time…
Thanks for Kay Clontz Starnes for this picture
Loving God, you hold our story. From our first breath to our last, you journey beside us as we make our way. Guide us on, Holy One as we listen and watch for you. Amen.
Tonight's Full Moon
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Sometimes it can feel like I'm losing my way, like I'm walking in the dark.
There are times when our Advent journey finds us walking after the sun has gone down. Times when we find ourselves disoriented and somehow, suddenly we are walking through what feels like total darkness. And if you’ve ever been out on the road at nightfall, maybe you know just how dark the nighttime hours can get. You know what it’s like to try opening your eyes wider, somehow thinking that it will help you see better. You know about how unexpected noises can sound amplified in the dark. Night-walking can feel so unsettling.
That’s why it’s good to know that tonight there will be a full moon. It comes ‘round every twenty-nine days to remind us that what seems impossible is somehow possible. One night each month the moon brings light to darkness. One night each month we are reminded that new eyes to see are possible. Over the years I have come to rely on the moon. There is a sure and steadiness about it. There is a comfort and reassurance, a “hold on because something is holding onto you,” mantra that speaks to my relationship with the moon.
The living of our days sometimes just feels impossible. The making of our way in and through, just feels impossible. Even the getting out of bed in the morning can sometimes feel impossible. And yet and always the moon is there. The moon shows up. Each night. Not at the same time, or even in the same place. But it is there. Sometimes I have to wait for it, sometimes I have to look for it. Sometimes on cloudy nights I just have to trust that it is there -- and miracle of miracles -- it is. It is up there. And has been there all along.
In our fits and starts, in our not yet’s, in all of our impossibilities of these days, we are being invited to look to the dark to see. The moon reminds us that it’s not a far-fetched imagining, but something that we can see with our own eyes. As soon as tonight, the full moon will show us. Carrie Newcomer, poet-singer says it pretty well: “Impossible just takes a little more time.” This full moon night in this season of waiting, is already encouraging us. She is reassuring us that light does come – just when we need it the most. We just have to believe the impossible. We just have to believe that we can see in the dark.
(picture taken last night preparing for tonight's moon)
Ever-present One, guide our feet, while we walk this path, we pray. Hold our hand, while we walk this path. Lead us in ways that offer that care and comfort to others who are finding the impossible all around them. With You, all things are possible. Amen
Monday, December 5, 2022
There are places that only grace can go. There are places that don’t make sense, where no answers fit. Places of loneliness, of despair. Places of grief, of deep longing. Places of fretting, over-thinking, and looping fears. Places of fits and starts, mostly fits. And to those places, somehow grace comes and finds us. Somehow this wondrous grace persists and pursues until
we are known again.
Our locked-down Pandemic days haven’t been that long ago. Nowadays some of us, but certainly not all continue to maintain protocols. And many of us are back to busyness as usual…until… we’re exposed and we / someone close to us gets sick. It’s not gone. Yet. Of all the upheaval that COVID was, for me there was one best gift from it. Zoom calls created meeting spaces and became a place where relationships were re-kindled and nurtured. Those calls served as much more than a time to check-in, but often been to me a lifeline.
During the intense time of lockdown zooms brought me grace upon grace. Two regular calls are still happening every Sunday. One with seminary friends and then later with family. Sharing computer screens and cups of tea or gin and tonics with those who “know where I am and know where I’ve been.” No need for any background story because we were part of one another’s stories.
There was one stormy, Sunday afternoon when my Candler friends named the gift of Wondrous Grace. We were talking about our Pandemic days – and how life was somehow unfolding in the midst and mess of them. We were talking about holding on’s and letting go’s. One dear friend was talking about marking an anniversary of grief and how in the midst of it, “Grace had happened. Wondrous grace had happened.” And in that moment, I was thankful for so many things. I was thankful that for more than thirty years we continued to show up for one another. Thankful for giving time and space for little and great stories. Thankful for not feeling alone. Thankful for shared time when we invited our souls to catch up and to breathe. Grateful for the grace that comes if we allow our souls to have a voice. Wondrous grace that wasn’t about fixing or managing problems, but about allowing love to hold us, alone and together. Seeing one another – even on computer screens – was enough for that hour, for that time.
Later it was time for the Sunday family ZOOM. It’s made up mostly of cousins from GA to FL to IL to TX to WA to CA. It’s our once-a-week you’re connected to me call that had begun with our parents on landlines with our maternal grandparents years ago. And (of course) in this Pandemic, Grandma Bobbee is guiding us in and through. So, we call. Never has it been the same gaggle. Different sweet souls each week. One week there were a dozen of us. We checked in. We talked about what was helping us cope. We talked about what was getting us through. And I knew – deep in my bones, that my grandmother had led us to that very moment from all of those long-ago Sunday nights with our parents – to that Sunday night, because she knew at some time (LONG OFF in the future), we would need this. We would need one another. We would need the chance to experience grace-enough again. And that this time – she never could have imagined ZOOMING – but that this would get us through.
Wondrous grace enough for what was and is and what just may be. This wondrous grace meets us where we are. This wondrous grace that patiently waits for us to make our way. Like old friend, Jackson Browne says, “Searchin' the horizon for what we can't quite see, when all we've ever needed has been there all along inside of you and me. I wanna see you holding out your light, I wanna see you light the way. But whether everything will be alright, it's just a little soon to say.”
Thanks to Carol Wilson for walking with me on the beach at just the right time for this picture from Isles of Palms
Loving Creator, you are ever leading us and teaching us to trust in you and in one another. You guide us around the blind corners and up the steep hills. Your signs and nudges lead us so faithfully from what has been into what is yet to be. Thank you for loving us so deeply and so well. We are so grateful, Amen.
The Grace of Invisible Strands
Tuesday, December 6, 2022
But, today, the idea of faith returns to me. Faith defies logic and propels us beyond hope because it is not attached to our desires. Faith is the centerpiece of a connected life. It allows us to live by the grace of invisible strands. It is a belief in a wisdom superior to our own. Faith becomes a teacher in the absence of fact.
― Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place
Reading is one of my most favorite things. It starts with the notion of story and then moves on from there. Reading is setting-aside-time. Settling in with a book is releasing whatever the “it” was that was before. And somehow reading holds all of time – it was written before I picked it up, the words come alive for me with each word read and the story will continue long after I put down the book. Reading is entering into something that is bigger and deeper and so much wiser than me. Reading is opening myself to what’s new and maybe what’s next. It represents the possibility of stretching beyond.
It was a real chore to pack my books for my move from Georgia to California. [Well, truth be told the whole packing experience was arduous, but that’s for another day and another writing…] Most of my books have come to feel like old friends. I bet my fellow packers more than once wondered why I was taking books I’d already read, but I think in their heart of hearts, they understood. They understood that these books had companioned me this far, they might as well journey on. Stories that sat up with me late into the night. Poems that nudged my life beyond and back home again.
Refuge was published in 1991. That was the year I graduated from Candler, and I remember being excited about reading something that hadn’t been assigned. This is now one of the books I wished I’d kept. If just for these words of faith. Defying logic. A connected life. Living by the grace of invisible strands. Wisdom superior to our own.
Tempest Williams is right about the strands of grace that hold faith. Sure, there are times when I can claim my faith as being rock solid. Times I witness that rock solid faith in others. As I continue in this old, broken and wounded world I marvel at faith’s resilience. And there are other times when I feel myself holding my breath, sensing my faith’s fragility. There for Tempest Williams is grace. Grace held in place by invisible strands. Strands strong enough for this instant … and then some.
As I re-read my first paragraph through the lens of Tempest Williams’ words, I find myself replacing the word faith where I’d first typed reading. Substituting one word for the other:
Faith is one of my most favorite things. It starts with the notion
of story and then moves on from there. Faith is setting-aside-time….
This works for me. It feels right for this place on my journey, for these steps today and the ones following. Word-by-word, step-by-step.
Prayer written by Terry Tempest Willams
I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love rather than what I fear. And at the end of my prayers, they teach me how to listen.