I wrote this the other day and for some reason, I did not hit publish. The more I think about it, the more I think that being called to stillness for Lent. Such an act could be interpreted at not doing anything, or not doing enough to resist all the things that are happening. However, we face a long challenge – a very long, difficult challenge. In the stillness comes the answers, at least that is what I am thinking. To be continued before Lent begins… What are your thoughts? I ask because we all need one another at this time. Let me know in the comments.
Right now I am thinking about being a little kid. Someone – I don’t know who, my much older brother, my uncle, a neighbor – I can’t be sure, has placed the palm of their hand on top of my head, their fingers trailing down like a bad wig on top of my hair. Now their forearm is very straight, held in place with their adult strength. Me? I feel ashamed, because that is the feeling most commonly found in my heart, ashamed for being me, for being alive, for being. And I feel angry, because I am always angry, I am just too young to understand that, and with no way to process the anger, I emit waves of emotion like a gas permeating the air. (That is often still the case, even though I am well versed in anger expression at this point in my life.) Also, I feel frustrated, trapped, and more than a little afraid. Of course at age, 5-6-7-8 I have no clue of anything that I am feeling.
The hot tears roll down my reddened face like oil overflowing a hot pan. The more I struggle, the more tightly I seem to be held in place. All the adults are chuckling away, but I fail to see the humor in the moment. Frankly, I probably fail to see anything because my anxiety at age 5-6-7-8 has skyrocketed. All I do is Continue reading →
My blistered feet entering an allegedly healing pool.
They were sometimes like a hot knife plunged into my lower extremities, at other times, simply walking on broken glass. My blisters during the first two weeks of my Camino were horrible. One day, Sue and I entered the town of Villafranca Montes de Oca and I simply had to stop walking. It was too much, I could not take the pain. What happened next is a long story for another day, just let it suffice to say, my feet were wrecked. Would I be able to continue my Camino? (Spoiler alert for new readers, thanks be to God, I did.)
With nearly every blistered step I took, I was aware of how privileged I was to even be in this situation. All I could think about when my feet, my knees, or general tiredness bothered me was that I chose to be where I was. Not so far away from me, migrants were to be found all over Europe. The vast majority of them fled their homes, not by choice, not due to any luxury, but due to violence, hunger, the threat of war, and the ever-present reality of death. I tried to pray with and for them with every painful footfall, even after my blisters were overall healed.
I know, I know
If you could go back you
would walk with Jesus
You would march with King
Maybe assassinate Hitler
At least hide Jews in your basement
It would all be clear to you
But people then, just like you
were baffled, had bills
to pay and children they didn’t
understand and they too
were so desperate for normalcy
they made anything normal
Even turning everything inside out
Even killing, and killing, and it’s easy
for turning the other cheek
to be looking the other way, for walking
to be talking, and they hid
in their houses
and watched it on television, when they had television,
and wrung their hands
or didn’t, and your hands
are just like theirs. Lined, permeable,
small, and you
would follow Caesar, and quote McCarthy, and Hoover, and you would want
to make Germany great again
Because you are afraid, and your
parents are sick, and your
job pays shit and where’s your
dignity? Just a little dignity and those kids sitting down in the highway,
and chaining themselves to
buildings, what’s their fucking problem? And that kid
That’s King. And this is Selma. And Berlin. And Jerusalem. And now
is when they need you to be brave.
is when we need you to go back
and forget everything you know
and give up the things you’re chained to
and make it look so easy in your
grandkids’ history books (they should still have them, kinehora)
is when it will all be clear to them.
One week ago today I got in my car and headed east towards the Berkshires. The day was cold, but sunny – perfect for the short one hour drive. My destination was Kripalu, which is a yoga and wellness retreat center. It has been years since my body has taken a yoga class, but my goal that day was not yoga. My friend Karla McLaren comes in from California to every few years to teach there, and we were overdue for a visit. Karla and I first “met” through blogging almost 10 years ago, when blogging was in a different era. We then met up at Kripalu a few years back.
Making my way through the town of West Stockbridge, I listened to the voice on the GPS interrupt the podcast of Dear Prudence that I was listening to, telling me to turn left and right. I turned left and was immediately stunned as my right front wheel smashed into the curb. I was Continue reading →
Many of you know that I went on Camino Santiago in the fall. It has been difficult to write about my experiences there. Why? I am not sure! Maybe it is because of the extraordinary nature of such a trip, a journey traveled in the world and also in the soul. Words do not come easily! In any case, I will start sharing some Camino Stories. Today I begin with one about coincidences occurring on the beginning and the end of the trip.
My camino compañera Sue and I flew from Montreal to Paris to begin our journey. As she had never been to Paris, we made a plan to stay overnight and have a one day whirlwind around this remarkable city. God was good and I found us a cheap hotel in a great location. It was a LOVELY hotel. We arrived at the crack o’ dawn and they let us check into our room. We changed and washed up, took off, and spent the day sightseeing.
Late in the afternoon found us near the Eiffel Tower at last. Sue was thrilled to be there. Honestly, having done it before, I was not so interested in going up, but once we got there, Sue’s excitement was contagious. Like all the other tourists, we waited in a long line and finally got to the elevator, which brings you to the first viewing level.
The other day I used the word “mensch” on my Facebook page as I was describing someone that I know. This prompted some comments about what the words meant, which ultimately caused another friend to send this video my way.
I found the whole thing uplifting and joyful – and a great reminder of how we can all be better, even by using qualities that might not seem like the best ones. We can all be mensches in one way or another, and we can make each other be better mensches if we try. So no big statement today, just sit back, watch, think, and go out there and make a mensch of yourself and others. The world is in need, so mensch making should be on the rise. Go and do your part!
On this day in 1948, the man who did more to show the world the power of non-violent resistance and peace was assassinated. That man was Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi used Jesus Christ as his inspiration and example, although he did not subscribe to the dogma of faith. He was a lifelong Hindu. His peace civil disobedience movement brought forth the freedom of India, once a colony of England.
He offers us an example to follow today. He followed Jesus more effectively than most of us. Can we follow now?
This scene from the 1981 film “Gandhi” is a powerful one indeed. Will we have the peaceful reserve that these people had? It was their fortitude as people of peace, not their weapons, that brought forth change. Can we follow this example? I hope so, because I think we are going to need it.