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,”
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.
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
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.
I left a small tip in my room for the housekeeping staff. And then, coming “home,” I met Gloria finishing up 215.
“Hello” and “Thank you,” I said. “Thank you for my tip,” she said.
And then we talked, strangers together, listening through the beautiful dance of too little of each others’ languages (my too-little Spanish and her too-little English.)
She told me that they moved here from Texas because the services are better for her son with autism. He is eleven years old , but his mental level is six. The tips are his — money for Christmas.
Her friendly sharing and her gracious gratitude stopped me in my busyness. A sacred encounter of strangers on a journey, separate and together. May I have eyes to see and ears to hear the stories of those whose paths I cross.
I recorded this video in the church yard of St. Cuthbert’s Church in Edinburgh, Scotland on Memorial Day in 2016. This is the prayer for Memorial Day in my book Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings.
Blessings to you this day.
“God’s love to you in your pain,
in the sadness of the small one
who weeps inside of you.”
From Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings.
Some days it seems too hard to
Turn on the news,
Read the texts,
Answer the phone.
Awaits us today?
How much more
For the Holy One.
The one who stands,
With the world.
In my little life,
With those who suffer.
For a little while.
We arrived at 8:30 a.m. in Dublin. We were met by Antionette, our guide, and Hugh, the bus driver. We came by coach to Glendalough, the site of an ancient monastic community where we will stay two nights.
We prayed our morning prayer on the bus. “New every morning is your love, great God of light. And all day long you are working for good in the world.”
Peace be with you this day. May you watch for the sacred places you encounter today.