December's Winter Solstice marked the longest night of the year. The ending before the beginning. The darkness before the widening light. All around us, Nature shares the wisdom of emptiness, dormancy and surrender. Trees empty their branches of leaves. They channel their strength inward, and they let go. To be empty is to be open. To be empty is to be full of possibility. Waiting for birth. Harvest has finished, whether you mark this week as the birth of Jesus or the historic celebration … [Read more...] about Empty
I often act like what author Parker Palmer might call a "functional atheist," I wrote in my October newsletter. (My measure of love for a book is reading it again and again, and Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak feels new each time because I am different.) Humans have many names for God, including a nameless but benevolent force at work in the Universe. Spiritual paths such as Buddhism, with its concept of non-doing, recognize a larger-than-us Doer. For me, God is more than a force of … [Read more...] about ‘Functional Atheism’ at Work
When 2020 started going sideways, I rediscovered some notes from a 2019 seminar. "Chaos is the earth re-ordering itself," our teacher, a Catholic nun, said at Springbank Retreat Center in Kingstree, S.C. When change comes on such a large scale, she told us, the question is whether we will open to change ourselves or "re-entrench." I continue to ponder her words whenever I feel myself digging in and clutching at life as it was instead of opening to what is (aka reality). Wisdom is written … [Read more...] about Two Nuns, Chaos and a Plague
Nothing cured me of living in Atlanta like actually living inside the city. That's my answer to any surprise that I would leave Georgia for my original hometown of Birmingham. (Atlanta friends, I miss you. Atlanta traffic? I do not.) Six years ago, during a difficult divorce, I visited three favorite Southern cities: Atlanta, Nashville and Birmingham, the city I'd left behind when I moved to Illinois in 2000. This bird needed to find a true nest. Listening to deep, wild instinct – every … [Read more...] about Exodus: Atlanta to Birmingham
Two college friends showed up uninvited after my divorce six years ago. These guys were like brothers, friendly kin by choice to each other and to me. One held my hand while the other hugged me. Then I woke up. It felt like a true visitation, this dream, not from them but from some other holy energy. The unspoken message louder than my fear of the unknown for a few precious minutes was that I was so very loved. That I would be okay. That my new life would carry me through a healing season while … [Read more...] about You are so very loved.
God speaks at Georgia grocery stores. That's my experience, anyway. God is always present and working, whether we notice or not, and holiness is everywhere, seen or unseen. "Here comes Grace!" I heard a message before I saw the messenger back in 2017. I was standing in front of that familiar island of cheeses found in so many supermarkets, alone and feeling far more fragile than I looked. Concussions or other traumas to the brain are invisible injuries, and I was at the beginning of a long … [Read more...] about Strange Grace