Thursday, May 24, 2018


I have been triply blessed in my life to have had a wonderful father, step-father, and father-in-law. Only my step-father remains on the planet, but the relationship with all three is vital, evolving, and very much alive. My relationship with my father was complicated in many ways, partly because he developed early onset dementia when I was still quite young. He didn’t know who I was by the time I was fifteen. As heart-rending as that was I know it was a necessary part of my human evolution. I know it was part of a bigger picture. I have had numerous opportunities in my life to find resolution with that pain. Two of those opportunities have included my relationships with my step-father and with my father-in-law.

My father-in-law could be described as, for the sake of brevity, quite a character. Wonderful in so many ways. I had never known anyone like him, and most likely never will again. He was for me a study in paradox. He could recite the entire mass in Latin, and cuss like a drunken sailor. We were ideologically at separate ends of the spectrum. And yet there was a place where we met that was filled with love and mutual respect. It was instantaneous upon our meeting.

One of his favorite sayings would be his way of putting a period on a conversation or as a framing of a conflict with no apparent resolution. “Awe, maybe it’ll happen tonight.” It was, to my understanding, a vague reference to the possibility that it could all end tonight. World war, or individual passing. Sometimes he would listen, with obvious bemusement, to fussing about some perceived problem. After a perfectly timed pause Dad would chime in, “awe, maybe it’ll happen tonight.”

As many times as I have giggled over this quirky Dad-quip there is also great wisdom in it. When I find myself caught in the web of some story I am weaving I am often now graced with the echo of Dad’s answer. It puts a pause in my story-telling. It interrupts my drama just long enough to reframe what meaning I may be applying to what is happening.

How much life-force am I feeding into my worry, concern, and story? In the scope of a day, week, month, or year is it worth that life-force? Do I want to energize and expand what I am placing my attention into? If “it” really were to happen tonight, is this how I want to spend my final hours on this earth?

I want to live this day in the awareness that it could indeed happen tonight. I want to bring a quality of attention to my moments that is intimate, vital, curious, and embracing. I want to really see what I am looking at and relate wakefully to all that is. I want to interact with you as if this maybe it. And indeed, in my life that has been true countless times.

How would you live and spend your moments this day if it were embraced and wrapped in the awareness that maybe it could happen tonight? Thanks, Dad.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


After the death of a spouse over twenty years ago I heard from several people who care about me that I should find someone else so that I did not spend my older years alone. One of these people got more specific. “It really isn’t about being in love, per se. It is about companionship.”

I must say that the notion of finding someone to share my golden years with never occurred to me. While I wouldn’t claim to be free of esteem issues I do genuinely enjoy my company. I was alone after the death of my husband, but I was not lonely. I always have had a sense of spiritual companionship. I like my own company. While I am most certainly an introvert I am unafraid of striking up a conversation with people I do not know. I have repeatedly traveled by myself and have no self-consciousness around dining or engaging in various activities alone.

I now enjoy a beautiful marriage, but I did not seek him out to avoid aloneness. I am good on my own, and I find that I am good married. I would love it if we have many years left to spend together, and I know there are no guarantees. This is a “till death do we part” union, and who will go first is a mystery.

I do not have a lot of friends. I never really have. I have many acquaintances, many people I care deeply about. I guess that is a form of companionship. These are not people I would turn to should the bottom fall out of my life. These are not people with whom I would share the deeper regions of my being. It isn’t so much a matter of trust. It is a matter of intimacy. It is discernment. It is deepening into the realization of who has really earned the right to come into the more tender areas of my life experience.

I am in a profession that places me in a position to be privy to some of those very tender places in other people. I am often called to be with people in their greatest times of pain and of need. I am sometimes on site when someone takes their final breath. I seek to be a loving presence with those I am called to minister to. Though I do not relish the title I am indeed a pastor. And these same people are rarely friends or true companions.

And so, against the admonitions of those who sought to prevent my aloneness, I have never made companionship a specific goal. Even as I enter the senior phase of my lifetime I am unafraid of being somehow by myself. And frankly, sometimes, I just prefer it.

I do not minimize the beauty of human connection when I say that. We are all hard wired for it. I just do not need continuous large doses of it. I can be much more present and connected with others when I have had ample time to myself. I am a contemplative. I need spaces in my togetherness. Even in my marriage. I am blessed to have a loving spouse that understands that. Our companionship includes times of apartness. The stability of our union is built on that.

So I celebrate the few dear friends I do have. I relish my acquaintances and my congregants. I love my family, and many of my neighbors.

And I find sweet companionship in nature and with the non-human beings that inhabit this earth. I feel connection in passing smiles, knowing laughs, and the shared sting of grief that brings together those without a formerly known bond. The morning birds. The budding trees. I find it oddly in a traffic jam over which none of us has control.

I find at this age that I have more companions on the other side than I do on this. I still feel their spirits with me, and my memories of times together feel real and vital and nourishing.

I may again find myself alone. Don’t worry, my caring comrades. I know I will not be lonely. I have a companion who has shared the past sixty-one years with me. And he is closer and truer and more constant than ever.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


My grandmother used to say that she had an hourglass figure, but that most of the sand had run to the bottom.

I so relate.

That does not refer to my physicality. It refers to my incarnation. Having recently added another digit to my age I am keenly aware that I have lived far more years than I will continue to live. I know many people for whom that notion induces stress and even dread.

Not for me.

I feel it as an opportunity. As a wake-up call. As a chance to come off auto-pilot and direct my remaining sand in conscious, creative, and contributing ways. I want to spend my remaining time on this planet leaving it better for my having been here.

Maybe its grandiose. In the grand scheme of things this speck of humanity is here for a brief time and then moves back into the great Reality. In a generation no one will know I was ever here.

Or will they?

Not by name or by story. There will be no fortune or fame. What I will leave are traces of love left in the sands of my time spent here. There will be tracks of struggle that smooth out into gentle waves of resolution. There will remain energy transformed and woundedness transcended. I will leave behind strong, non-violent stands against all forms of bigotry and injustice. I am showing up and speaking out. I will live on in those I have championed who were disenfranchised and dis-empowered.

I want to use my sand to build castles in which everyone is welcome. There will be boundaries for sure. Boundaries of respect, reverence, inclusivity, and civility. Please join me at my table, and feast on the grandeur of human potential. Let’s celebrate what we can do when we chose to share our precious sands. I will honor you even as I ask that you treat others at the table honorably.

With relatively so little sand left I will not waste it on simple concepts or platitudes. Pretense or defense. I want to show up as fully, authentically, powerfully as I possibly can. Prayer is my first language, love is my priority, and peace is my contribution.

I am going to live each day as if the sand may run out before nightfall. I feel no need to run around in frantic doingness. My waning adventure is mostly internal in nature. I want to be revealed at depth and lifted to the highest heights of consciousness. I want to know when I leave this magnificent planet that I fulfilled my destiny. My purpose for being here.

With more sand in the bottom my days and moments are precious. There is urgency, and there is equal part serenity. There are no more mountains to climb or battles to win. I only wish to use the remainder of my sand to build a riser that may lift others up.

There is less sand then when I began to write this missive. Please know these grains are shared with imperfect writing from an open and loving heart.

Thursday, May 3, 2018


My parents worked so very hard to make me lovable that I didn’t know I was.

I do not fault for them for that. They wanted to be sure I fit into the world. That I was accepted and acceptable. How could they have known that I would grow into an adult for whom fitting in was not a goal? That being accepted by a world that was governed by values contrary to mine was not a priority?

My life path has been about learning that I am lovable as is, even though I frequently make mistakes that are a result of loveless perception.

The efforts to be acceptable and lovable are rooted in the false belief that we are not already that. Those efforts result in an increased sense of being somehow faulty. Somehow less than. Somehow unworthy. Working hard to be lovable is living life from a faulty premise. It is being rooted in a false sense of self. It leaves us to lead with pretense and veneer, afraid to show what is tender and uncertain underneath. These erroneous core beliefs always lead to defense and disconnection. It is a painful way to live. And is rampant in our culture.

My lovability is essential, intrinsic, and assured by creation. I am lovable because I am. Period. It need not and cannot be earned. It is the belief that I am not lovable that leads me to loveless actions and hurtful relationships. Allowing myself to be loved by life is a supreme spiritual practice. It requires constant vigilance and relentless surrender. As soon as I find I am trying to be loved and accepted I must choose to return to my heart space, to the awareness that in trying to be loved I am pushing it away.

If I perceive that I must become a certain thing or hide certain aspects of myself in order that you love me then that is indeed not love. That is love masquerading as control and manipulation. That is your faulty love-equation projected onto me. I cannot change that about you. But I surely will not conform to those fear-based rules of deception.

My lovability is my true nature. It is my highest priority. I am imperfect for sure, and I am still and always lovable. I am intrinsically worthy, acceptable: as is. And in a dualistic and divisive world that true nature must be courted, cultivated, and compassioned. Early wounding runs deep. We are wounded in relationship and we will heal in relationship. That begins inside each one of us. I pray daily to know that I am loved, loving, lovable: that I am love.

When I am in remembrance and in resonance with my love-nature then love is my radiance. I love you in your imperfection and unskillfulness. I recognize that you too were molded to be become lovable. While all the time you already were. You already are. We already are. We already are. We always were.

Let that in. You are lovable, and I love you. As is. Nothing to change. Nothing to hide. No pretense to be had.

Lovability is what we are.