How important the empty days ...

I always forget how important the empty days are,

how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything,

even a few lines in a journal.

A day when one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged day,

a sinful day.

Not so! 

The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally,

is to let it rest,


live in the changing light of a room.

(May Sarton, 1912 – 1995)

Just a few thoughts ...

I haven't written for awhile.

We hosted our son's wedding in our yard a few weeks back, which was lovely.

Then a huge oak tree fell on our house, which was disastrous.

Immediately after these events, I took two weeks off from work and on the first day of my little vacation I fell down several stairs whilst carrying 5 books, a yoga mat and a 15-lb. kettlebell.

So I've had a bit going on.

But I have been watching what is happening in our country.

And I have been listening, especially to young people.

And I have been reading and educating myself and trying to learn.

And I have been deeply saddened by so many things.

1. ) Black and brown people are being murdered and abused in our streets, our courts, our jails, their own homes.

And white people, myself included, have been too busy, too privileged, too distracted by life to care until we were literally forced by social media to watch a black man die over the course of almost 9 minutes  in broad daylight.

It is time white friends, to wake up and pay attention, listen, learn and practice being allies with our black and brown neighbors. We have no excuses. None.

And white people of faith ... please explain to me how on God's green earth the bible was ever used to justify human slavery.

The second book of the Old Testament kicks off with good ol' Moses enlisted by God to set the enslaved and abused Israelites free. Then the New Testament opens with Jesus quoting the prophet Isaiah, saying about himself:  "The spirit of the Lord is upon me ... he has sent me to set the oppressed free ..."

How did our forefathers and mothers use the bible to justify kidnapping and enslaving human beings  created in God's good and beautiful image?

And how on earth do we read that same bible today and not immediately affirm that Black Lives Matter?

And see with our own eyes and acknowledge with our own minds that systemic racism still exists and it crushes our black and brown brothers and sisters?

And that it is past time to do something about it?

2.) And then ... the pandemic. 

Over 120,000 Americans dead.

And scientists and doctors begging us to do one or two simple things - like wear a mask.

Not mainly to protect ourselves, but to protect our neighbors.

And we can't be bothered to do that? 

Because we feel "our rights" are infringed?

Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that they lay down their life for their friends."

The apostle Paul said, "The only thing that counts is faith working itself out through love."

There is nothing in the bible that calls on followers of Jesus to fight for their own rights.


The only thing we are called to fight for is the good of our neighbor.

The good of our enemy.

The good of the marginalized, the persecuted, the poor, the excluded.

Which leads me to one last thing that I am noticing ...

3.) The church is crushing young LGBTQ folks.

I am not going to say any more about this here, except to say that it is wrong, and it breaks my heart.

Jesus always, always, always stood on the side of the people being crushed by those in power.

Jesus always, always, always stood on the side of those being crushed by religion.

We are called to do the same.

No. Matter. What.



It could happen anytime ...

I love poetry that reminds me to savor the moment.

That forces me to stop running around worrying,

and to enjoy what is happening right here, right now.

William Stafford is one of my favorite poets.

I don't have to work hard to try to understand what he is saying.

His poems move me to be a better person.

Here is one example of his poetry - I hope you like it.

It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.
It could, you know. That's why we wake
and look out––no guarantees
in this life.
But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.

(William Stafford, 1914 – 1993)

Top 10 Post - #3

Heard this quote this afternoon

and laughed out loud:

"One of the greatest theological questions of our time is,

'What in the Sam Hill is going on around here?'"

(Annie Dillard)

Just one next step ...

I have been in a few conversations recently about when we can return to normal, about what re-opening our community might look like, about what lies ahead.

We are so in the dark about what the future holds.

The hard truth of the matter is that even during more normal phases of life none of us - not a one - know what the future holds.

But most of us have learned to navigate life as if we do.

So this uncertainty is especially disconcerting.

It forces us to be more thoughtful, more careful, more deliberate. At least it should ...

But we are not good at this.

Uncertainty causes anxiety.

The unknown creates dread.

Loss of routine brings disorientation.

And so we often try to control things; we move way too quickly to try to plan the future!

I was reading an article this morning that described this kind of uncertain time as a "threshold moment."

The author, Brandan Robertson writes this:

What are we to do at such a threshold moment? 

In moments of transition, we are simply to be. We are to pause and acknowledge that a transition is taking place. Instead of seeking to abruptly pass through a threshold, we are to tarry ...

A new reality is emerging, but we cannot see beyond the threshold. All we know is that we exist in this moment, where everything is in transition. We may experience a new way of being, but we cannot yet sense what it will look like.

This force some questions:

Am I giving myself permission to just be during this threshold moment in history?

Am I choosing to take time to pause and acknowledge what is going on?

Am I allowing myself to tarry, which simply means "to remain, or to stay in place?"

Am I reminding myself that God is at God's best when I don't know what is coming?

When I am walking in the dark I focus on taking just one next step. Once I safely take that one, I take another. And then, just one more ...

This is what life needs to be for me right now. 

Time to be - just to be - and to let that be enough. 

Time to pause and acknowledge that we are living through a remarkable moment in world history. This is a threshold moment!

Time to tarry, to just stay in place; to not push forward to what's next.

Time not to plan 4,000 next steps, but simply to take the one next step I can see.

Just the one next step.

I love the words from this old hymn by John Henry Newman;

Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom

Lead Thou me on!

The night is dark, and I am far from home --

Lead Thou me on!

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see

the distant scene -- one step enough for me.

Just take one step today, my friends. And if that one step is to just "be" that is good enough for today.


Courage doesn't always roar ...

Courage doesn’t always roar.

Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

 (Mary Anne Radmacher, b. 1957)

What I need ...

Starting to recognize what I need during a pandemic quarantine:

1. Outside time every day. No. matter. what.

2. A shower. :)

3. Set-aside time and space to work. Clean out the home office, open the shades, light a candle, clear off the desk, stay in chair until all the daily work is done.

4. A great novel.

5. Limited Zoom meetings - I can do a few, but I am still an introvert. I had 4 Zoom meetings one day and it was too much for me. Weird, but true.

6. Limited news. Important to know what is happening, but that can be picked up in about 30 minutes in the evening through reputable sources.

7. My dog. What a joy-bringer she is.

8. My people.

9. Some inspirational reading - The Bible, some poetry, an Irish blessing, some writing from another era, something that helps me think bigger.

10. Dark chocolate.

How about you? What are you finding that you need during these strange times?

The little charms that adorn the day ...

Best quote ever to start the weekend:

The best reason to take your time is that this time is the only time you'll ever have. You must take it or it will be taken from you. It is telling that the phrase 'taking your time' is synonymous with slowing down. If we want to live fully, we do best to slow down. I don't suggest we turn back the clock, trying to retrieve a bygone era when life was slower. We couldn't, even if we wanted to. But I don't believe we should want to. We should revel in our electronically supercharged, unbounded world. But, to make the most out of this new world, to avoid feeling overbooked, overstretched, and about to snap, to make modern life become better than life has ever been, a person must learn how to do what matters most first. Otherwise, you will bulldoze over life's best moments. You won't notice the little charms that adorn each day, nor will you ever transform the mundane into the extraordinary.

(Excerpt from Crazybusy, by Edward M. Hallowell, MD)

May you ... do what matters most first.

May you ... refuse to bulldoze over life's best moments.

May you ... notice all the little charms that adorn this day.

May you ... by being present and slowing down a bit, watch the mundane get transformed into the ordinary!




Learn ...

"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something.

That is the only thing that never fails.

You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies,

you may lie awake in the  middle of the night listening to the disorder of your veins,

you may miss your only love,

you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewer of baser minds.

There is only one thing for it then -- to learn.

Learn why the world wags and what wags it.

That is the only thing the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust,

and never dream of regretting."

(T.H. White, 1906-1964 - British Author)

What's one small risk?

A few more insightful questions that have prompted reflection lately:

1. What's one small example of how you have "customized" your life for the better?

(And, by "customized" I mean created unique rituals and habits that fit best with who you are and how you function)

2. What have your actions over the past year been saying about how you prioritize personal growth? What kind of silent progress (meaning you don't have to put everything on social media) would you like to make in your life by the end of 2019?

3. What's one distraction that has been getting the best of you lately? Why?

4. What truly DOES matter to you most right now?

5. What's one small risk you believe is worth taking in 2019? What's the first step?

Aren't these great?

I spent an hour with #5 this past week and it was both daunting and exciting. I gained new insight into some stirrings deep down in my soul about what's next for me.

The next time you go for a run, take a walk, or drive across town perhaps take one of these questions along for the ride ...

The next time you share a meal with your spouse or some good friends, consider asking one of these questions as a way to spark meaningful conversation ...

Maybe try one of them to start your next meeting at work ...

More to come.

And remember, all these questions come from -