I don’t remember when I first fell in love with the wildflower called Shooting Star (Primula sect. Dodecatheon).
Back in the late 70s, my dad took me to the camera store near Oklahoma City University and bought me my first Nikon. The next time we were at the cabin together, the two of us took our cameras on hikes and recorded images of wildflowers. I remember him searching for the Spotted Coral Root Orchid that bloomed in the summer, usually near the base of a rotting tree. I don’t remember seeing any Shooting Star.
One summer in the 90s I took my first photograph of a Colorado Shooting Star. The patch of flowers was up the canyon a ways, right on the bank of the river. I climbed over a fence so I could get close enough to take a photograph. Each summer I went back to that spot to see if the shooting stars were still blooming there. (No, I did not scale the fence again. Most of the time, the gate was open!) And then I found a little patch of them at the river’s edge right below our cabin. Their eco system, nestled in the base of an old pine tree.
Each time I get here to the canyon, I take a pilgrimage down to the river and visit the shooting stars.
I admire the flowers for their resilience. They are so beautiful, tender, delicate, tenacious, putting down roots next to a frigid, rushing river. The summer after the flash flood of 2013, I wondered if the flowers would still be there. I found that their tree had fallen, but that enough pine roots were still there to hold together their home. Shooting Star, grass, moss, and ferns. Now they bloom, courageously hanging out over the water.
I love you, my beautiful little Shooting Stars. You give me stability, courage, joy, and hope. May I — may we — be as resilient as you.
Many of you know that I am a survivor of childhood trauma. When I got to the point of being ready to face what had happened to me, I had the privilege of receiving lots of help from my community and from professional helpers. (I’m grateful!)
On this side of the healing journey, I can see that this terrible experience helped shape who I am today — and created in me the gifts that I give the world. I can see the presence of the Holy One who took those wounds and made them into strengths that I can offer to others who have gone through trauma. I believe that God takes our wounds and transforms them for the sake of the world.
I’m especially looking forward to sharing with you the conversation between Rev. Trevor Hudson and Rev. Sidwell Mokgothu, both from South Africa, both present and active during that country’s long journey from Apartheid to post-Apartheid healing. We’ll also hear from Rev. Dr. Ron Bell on the body’s responses to trauma. Rev. Dr. Amy Steele will offer us biblical narratives and a theological framework for understanding trauma. I’ll be the worship leader for this event.
The retreat is virtual — you can attend from your home or wherever! And if you cannot be present for the retreat — or if you miss any sessions — recordings will be available following the end of the retreat.
Friends, I hope you will consider joining me in this online event at the end of September. I’ll be leading worship for the retreat. We will open with prayer at 5:00 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, September 30 and we’ll close with prayer at noon (CDT) on Saturday, October 2nd. Join us as we create spaces to heal.
Resilience: Healing Practices for Mind, Body, and Spirit
In March 2020, everything changed. As we reflect on the last 18 months, we find ourselves in a new and unfamiliar place. The world has changed. Our work has changed. Our families have changed. We have changed. These have been months filled with trauma for people all over the world.
Now we begin the task of finding our way in this changed world, of healing from our individual and collective trauma. How do we do this?
You’re invited to join The Upper Room as we create space to listen together as we find our way. Our virtual event will include storytelling, time for personal reflection and conversation, guided spiritual practice, and worship. This time of gathering offers spaciousness—time for reflection and interaction, a fresh array of spiritual practices to help with healing from trauma, and an introduction to spiritual tools you can use in your own healing journey or the healing journey through which you lead others.
Speakers and workshop leaders include Rev. Sidwell Mokgothu, Rev. Trevor Hudson, Rev. Dr. Amy Steele, Rev. Dr. Ron Bell, Rev. Kimberly Orr, Kara Lassen Oliver, Rev. Beth A. Richardson, and more.