This is real

At sundown tonight, Rosh Hashanah begins. May all of our Jewish brothers and sisters be blessed with a sweet new year – we could all use that, right?

Each year I read the book cited in the link below. I find it an extremely important element of my spiritual life.  May we all find ways to embrace suffering; it spares no one. If that is not evident this year, I do not know if it ever will be.

My retreat from last weekend is still being processed, but this much is clear to me – honesty without shame, suffering with vulnerability, and offering ourselves openly to God and one another is the only way forward. May we soften, open, embrace – and be transformed. It is all very real, and we typically are, to riff off of Rabbi Alan Lew’s book title, completely unprepared. Yet God awaits us.

L’shana tovah to our Jewish friends. May peace prevail for all, may we each do our part of it, one surrender at a time.

“Our suffering, the unresolved element of our lives, is also from God. It is the instrument by which we are carried back to God, not something to be defended against, but rather to be embraced.”
― Alan Lew, This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation

Resistance

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.

resistanceRight 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

Timeless Surrender

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Like pretty much everyone else, I can’t wait for tomorrow to be over. When I was on Camino, I was marginally aware of what was going on, but I really tried to tune out. Not having TV, newspapers, or a lot of time to look at my phone was a great antidote to election-obsession. Well, now I am back. As I try not to be obsessed, I am more aware and more focused on the news.

A particular thought goes through my mind as I listen to the doomsday predictions of what will happen if Continue reading

St. Patrick and “A Vulnerable Faith”

vulnerable-faith-missional-living-in-the-radical-way-of-st-patrick-14This is a very short post, but it is meant to be very clear on this St. Patrick’s Day. I am not a big St. Patrick’s Day reveler though half-Irish I might be. My mother was so proud of her Irish roots, but I must admit that I typically (insert shame-face emoji here) have almost always felt a real disconnect with my own. It is much easier for me to identify with my other ancestors, those fiery, passionate, intense Italians and Jews. Now *that* I get!

Having said that, I have rarely felt as moved by the imagery of St. Patrick as I was with every word I read in a new book called “A Vulnerable Faith: Missional Living in the Radical Way of St. Patrick” by Jamie Arpin-Ricci from Paraclete Press.

Let me be clear about something before I begin – I have known Continue reading

Accepting What Is #whynot

whynotOn January 1 I posted about new year’s resolutions and my general lack of them. Rather than making a list, I thought about reframing the idea of things that I could do with the question, #whynot?

So what does that have to do with accepting what is? Well, on the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, I was walking the dog. It was dark, but that is often the case. That night, while I was busy “kravitzing” (i.e. being nosy, like Gladys Kravitz) by looking at a neighbor’s house, I neglected to notice the depression made by a sewer grate. My foot went down, I lost my balance, and BOOM. I must have Continue reading