Broken Wide Open

As soon as we laid eyes on you

Our hearts rushed in, unprotected,

Held captive by you

With your bright, smiling eyes.


Even with your hair grown long

Like a Highland cow

Those brown, trusting eyes,

“They’re under there somewhere,”

Reflected love.
 Unconditional love.


We fed you, watched you grow,

Cheered your every milestone,

Forgave your every transgression,

(Even that time you unraveled

the berber carpet in the bedroom.)

We loved you with wild abandon,

Ignoring the certainty

that some day we’d lose you.


And now you have gone.

And our unprotected hearts

have shattered, quite completely.

Broken wide open with the sudden loss of you.

“Thank you” is all we can say.

Thank you for being our very sweet pup.

Stealer of hearts.
 Such a good dog.

Hearts will heal, eventually.

But they will be forever reconfigured

By loving you.


A Blessing of the Wounds (#metoo)

Bless, O bless these wounds,
God, the healer.
Fresh wounds, still bleeding.
Tender hearts, tender spirits.
An innocent crossing the path of violence.
Bless, O bless these wounds.

Bless, O bless these wounds,
God, the comforter.
Old wounds, healed over,
But suddenly reopened,
Tender hearts, tender spirits.
Wounds inflicted by stories in the news.
Bless, O bless these wounds.

Bless, O bless these wounds,
God of tenderheartedness.
Hidden wounds, forgotten, never known,
Tear through the layers of memory.
Wounds, long buried, rise to the surface.
Bless, O bless these wounds.

Bless, O bless these wounds,
God, of justice.
And bless those bearing these wounds:
Victim or survivor,
Angry prophet or weeping child,
Tender hearts and tender spirits.
Bless, O bless these wounds.

Stand Witness

There are forces that flow
Through this universe.
Forces of life, of death,
of good, of evil.

Today a person dies.
Tomorrow a child is born.
We witness these events and
Stand in awe
At the holy immensity of it all.

Sometime we are swept up,
Blown around,
Knocked to the ground
By these powers
That we cannot see or hear,
Understand or control.

We stand as witnesses,
To the forces of evil,
To the oceans of love.

We stand as witnesses
To hearts broken open
With sorrow,
To voices speaking quietly
With courage.

We stand as witnesses,
Holding these sacred spaces,
Remembering and trusting
That our presence
Is enough.

Stand witness.
Be present.
Trust.

There Is a Field

I’ve just returned from my second weekend intensive in spiritual director training with The Haden Institute. I’m grateful for time apart to learn, to be fed, to not be in charge of something, but, instead, to be fed spiritually.

There is a sacred space at the intensive that is just for creative expression and processing. I painted this piece in response to a Rumi quote that was shared in our morning meditation.

Out beyond the ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field. I will meet you there.
-Rumi

A Blessing for Those Who Wait

For those who wait
In despair,
In grief,
In sorrow.
You are comfort.
You are strength.

For those who wait
In the paths of storms,
In detention camps,
In hospice rooms.
You are comfort.
You are strength.

For those who wait
In tender hope,
In tear-streaked sadness,
In fearful anticipation.
You are comfort.
You are strength.

Bless, Loving Healer,
All those who wait.
You are comfort.
You are strength.

We drove over to Western North Carolina yesterday for a weekend retreat. Driving east were caravans of utility trucks getting into place to respond to the damage of Hurricane Florence. The retreat center where we are staying is filled with residents, employees, and families of employees from a retirement center in Charleston, South Carolina.

This day, I think of those throughout the world who are waiting — for the arrival of a storm, those watching the “drip, drip, drip” of chemotherapy. I pray for those who wait by the hospice bed of a loved one, for children and families in detention camps on our southern border, for families waiting for results of medical tests, for all who wait in fear and sadness and grief.

Prayer for the Pilgrims

I leave today for a retreat in Alabama, the first of eight weeks over the next two years. (This is the first session of a 2-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation, a program of The Upper Room.)

I will be leading daily prayer, one of my favorite things. Prayers upon waking and before sleeping. And a service of Eucharist before dinner.

We will be on this journey of faith, of hope, of drinking deeply of the gifts of the spirit, of the gifts of community, prayer, learning, and liturgy.

For all of us who travel, for those who labor to care for us on retreat, for all who tend the tasks at home so that we can be away. For all who long for retreat but do not have the resources to set apart time in their lives for such a journey. Bless all who are setting out on journeys of any kind throughout the world. Travel with each one. Amen.

Drink Deep

O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
-Psalm 63:1, NRSV

Drink deep
with eyes
with ears
with nose
with mouth
with hands
with heart.

I sip coffee, dark and smooth with a hint of cinnamon.

The wrens scold me as they carry food to their young the bird box on the front porch.

I lie in the lawn chair and watch clouds form, transform, and disappear.

I stack a smooth river stone to the pile on top of the bridge over Cave Creek.

The river roars in the canyon below. Its sounds lift my spirits, my heart.

I walk to the river at dusk and watch the ouzel hopping from rock to rock, stopping to preening its feathers before roosting for the night.

I smell the cool, earthy moisture by the river and the hot dustiness in the kitchen.

Vivid memories inhabit me. I breath them in with gratitude. In this place, I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

Drink deep from the present moment. The living, healing Spirit lives here.