March 2020 Archives



After texting a dear friend and getting no response, I was concerned, so, I called. He was fine. Later, after our conversation was over, he texted me the following poem.

“Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.”

Mary Elizabeth Frye

I responded with . . .

I know you will be and thank you for the lovely reminder … but you and my dad live by an assumption that because of your age you will predecease (or move on before) me. If there is one thing that is certain in life, it is that nothing is certain.

I live each day deeply moved and immensely grateful for you, my father and other beloveds that sincerely touch me. If you should leave before me, I will cry as I do now because of the privilege of sharing this Life and Love with you.

That’s really what grief is, isn’t it?

Yes, we grieve losses like things we can no longer do with our bodies as we age, but when it comes to a person, it is really about an enlightened realization of the intensity of the Love that continues, or at least it can be.

This is why I can sit in my chair in my office and think about you or other beloveds present or past and cry (with a smile on my face) not from a heart that hurts but from a heart that is full.

This exchange was later followed by a discussion on how the pandemic seems to be stripping away pretense, at least for some. Kindness, goodness, love . . . the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ Paul describes in his letter to the Galatians (5:22-23) . . . seem to be blossoming clearer, richer, deeper.

What we perceive as suffering can lead to this as well.

One of my favorite Bible verses says it this way, from The Passion Translation.

My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! James 1:2

Or . . .

For even if the fig tree doesn’t blossom, and no fruit is on the vines, even if the olive tree fails to produce, and the fields yield no food at all, even if the sheep vanish from the sheep pen, and there are no cows in the stalls; still, I will rejoice in ADONAI, I will take joy in the God of my salvation. ELOHIM Adonai is my strength! He makes me swift and sure-footed as a deer and enables me to stride over my high places. Habakkuk 3: 17-19

Wow, what a paradox!

The extraordinary times in which we are currently living certainly seem to be full of paradoxical circumstances.

Who would have thought three months ago that social distancing and sheltering in place would be a greater expression of love for our fellow man than a warm embrace or meaningful handshake? Or how staying home could so unquestionably demonstrate our connectedness through social media and other technology platforms? How could it be that a quick-spreading virus would so evidently manifest our unity and so clearly blind us to our differences?

And yet the way and light that Jesus IS continues to effortlessly highlight the brilliance of paradox.

Pray for your enemy . . . humble yourself and you will be exalted . . . a servant is greater than his master . . . in giving you receive . . . “whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me”. . . just to name a few seeming contradictions.

Trusting God is to live a life revolutionized by paradox, and therefore lived without pretense.

Martin Luther King, Jr. says it this way . . .

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

God is so very tender

God is so very tender

“The splendor light of heaven’s glorious sunrise is about to break upon us in holy visitation, all because the merciful heart of our God is so very tender.”  Luke 1:78 (From Zechariah’s Prophecy after the birth and circumcision of his son, John, “God is gracious.”)

Cousin Correspondence

Cousin Correspondence

Good Morning—

I was thinking about what you said about me not seeming to know or believe that I am a good writer . . . I do know.

I get on my site and read the meditations and think, “Wow, she’s good.” I like to re-read earlier ones and then later ones. I notice a difference, a growth. But as you downplay how important you have become to me, I downplay what a good writer I am.

Why? Because I spent a great deal of my early teaching career wanting attention for what a good teacher I thought I was–and I was a good teacher.

Not because the students liked me. Not because I did unique lessons and activities. Not because of anything I did other than being reflective. I saw what worked and what did not work as far as student comprehension and then adjusted accordingly. Plus, I admitted to my students when something did not work and was willing to start over with their input.

I lost track of the fact that teaching was my Calling in favor of an ambitious need for recognition. In our town ever year, there is a Christmas parade in which the Teacher of the Year from Jefferson county rides in a vehicle with his or her name on it–and waves at the crowd. Additionally, a picture of the TOTY was placed in the hallways of the county board office. A banquet is held to honor nominated teachers from each school in the county. The winner moves on to the state level competition with additional responsibilities.

I was nominated several times from my school for TOTY for Jefferson County. I never won–thank God, but I remember how badly I wanted those accolades.

Over time I have looked back and wondered why that was so important to me . . . being seen, feeling good about what I was doing . . . but it really boiled down to pride. I really did think pretty highly of myself!

I forgot that I was given a gift and did not give credit to the Giver.

As far as my writing goes, I know it is a Gift. You have generously given me a platform in which to develop it and the encouragement to take risks, to be courageous, to take my sword out of its sheath and wield it appropriately. What you have done and are doing for me is your Gift because it is all the same Giver and the same Gift.

I do experience trepidation at times because I don’t want to let you down or disappoint you. I know, however, in my heart that is not possible. Even though my head thinks it, my heart knows that it is an illusion–because that is not the Way of the Giver and the Gift.

What I sometimes interpret as harsh in your editing or critiques, is your passion for perfection or your passion for wanting me to really see deeply and calling me out into richer terrain.

Anyway, all this to say I know and yes, there seems to be something here to write about too.

With love, cousin

Yes and yes and yes…

And along this way we begin to see even further, that Giver, Gift and Receiver are One…

All seeming else is appearance…

Suffering has only ever been the forgetting of this…

All that appears becomes uniquely transformed in every moment this is realized…

In this remembering suffering becomes no longer possible…

Jesus knew this on the cross… He was thirsty, felt pain, despaired, yet he did not suffer… He remained, with us and with himself, until his last breath… And by doing so he opened another way…

Many ways are open, as many as needed, for God is always calling to Her Self…

Pride and shame, grief and pain, loss and gain, rage and terror, fear and arrogance, all of it like clouds coming and going in the sky… Yet the peace, joy, beauty and truth of God is always also present…

Sometimes it shines upon us and lights us up… Sometimes it calls to us like a distant, barely heard echo… Yet it is always here for those with eyes to see, ears to hear, and willingness to open to the Light and the Truth, no matter how dark it may seem…

All suffering is transformed into this willingness, in every moment we choose to know without proof or evidence that only light is real, all the rest is our imagination…

All in time, with time given to God…

The sky remains, always the same…

Spaciousness, emptiness, silence, this Love that holds everything in its embrace…

We are that sky…

All of Creation this eternal Remembering…

Thank you for your uplifting response.



Stop what you are doing . . .

. . . take a deep breath . . .

. . . hold it . . .

. . . and let it out . . .

. . . do it again, but this time from your gut—inhale through your stomach and upwards into your lungs watching the expansion of both . . . hold it . . . and slowly release . . .

. . . and one more time . . .

“From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24

The foot note in The Passion Translation says this:

“Or ‘God is breath,’ or ‘God is wind.’ Jesus refers to ‘Spirit’ more than one hundred times in the four Gospels.”

Have you ever really listened to the sound leaves make as they are rustled by the wind? Yesterday was a breezy day and as I was walking, I stopped and listened to the hypnotic swaying of a tremendously tall fir tree. In awe, I worshiped with her.

After that experience and reading the above scripture this morning, my thoughts became enchanted with the many activities where breathe or breathing is so significant.

I know, I know . . . breathing is important to everything . . . it is life or death; and yet there are certain tasks, pursuits, or pastimes that require deliberate breathing skills like opera singers. One does not need to like operatic music to appreciate the control of one’s breath these musicians wield with seeming ease.

Or how about athletes? In particular I was thinking about soccer players, swimmers and runners—sprinters and marathoners. To be honest I am sitting here shaking my head in amazement at how easy they make it look especially when simple tasks around the house can sometimes get me winded.

Phrases like “out of breath” or “I need to catch my breath” or “you take my breath away” express this apparent control or lack thereof over one’s breathing.

Breathing . . . something so salient to life and yet so often taken for granted.

Due to the pandemic, one of the common themes of social media is that we are all in this together. Social distancing, shelter in place, stay at home . . . God seems to be using this global epidemic to remind us, as Jesus did with his disciples in the verse above, that what is true and right is the condition and connection of our Hearts.

One way to remember this appears to be through the profound simplicity of breathing meditatively.

Hafiz says it this way:

“I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through, listen to the music.”




I love how peaceful and still everything is in the early morning hours of the day—twittering birds, a ticking clock–the silence refreshes my soul.
I breathe more deeply in these moments when nothing is vying for my attention—no doing, just being.
Even the hands on the clock seem to move slowly in this healing revelry.

In the stillness my imagination takes me away . . .
. . . to the ocean where I hear the calm assurance of the rhythmic waves gently breaking and feel the salty mist on my face.
. . . or to the forest my soul wanders–I lift my arms skyward as if I am a majestic conifer in this tranquil cathedral; I smell the dewy moss growing.
. . . or to an open field where I lie down among the wistfully swaying grasses looking upward to an ink-black sky dotted with incandescent points of brilliant luminescence.

The reverberating timbre of a train horn in the distance brings me back to my office.

I wish everyone in the whole world would stop at once if only for a minute to drink in and embrace our being together as One.