Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Back for Christmas

I walked into the nursing home I used to visit in the summer, since I'm back in town for Christmas. A plastic Christmas tree with white and blue lights decorating it sat in the corner while Christmas songs spewed from the radio. There they were the beauties I left in the summer. Robert sat on the living room sofa gazing off into a distant place. Helena walking in all her elegance with gold Mardi Gras beads and a red Christmas sweater. Her eyes lit up as she approached me. "Do you remember Luisely, Helena?" the nursing home event director asked her. "Yeah, yeah. " She came within an inch distance from my eyes smiling and with her soft hands caressed my face, "As beautiful as ever." I smiled, she remembered. She sat on her walker's pop-out stool and began her stories in German, as I listened attentively straining to find any resemblance to English. Her eyes vividly shared the emotions felt in the story. She leaned closer to me and let her nose touch mine and began rubbing her nose against mine. We laughed and laughed. I began singing to her and she sang along in German. I missed her.

I continued forward and met a few new faces, as some others died leaving room for them. Mary sat with two balls of pink yarn looking at them perplexed. I introduced myself and asked her if she planned on knitting anything. "Oh no, no. This is a cube and this is a ball. T.t.t.t.tttttt.ttttttt." Her frail hands colored dark blue from her veins handed one of the balls of yarn to me as she searched for the newspaper. Her eyes lay deep into their ocular cavities. Mary began describing all the liquor advertised on the page between mumbles, "This bottle's round and this one, you see, this one is long and this one costs $19.99 and this one $47.99." We sat and reviewed the bottles for a little less than half an hour. Rebecca sat next to us and began singing Christmas carols looking towards me for company. I sat between them both singing away, baffled at Rebecca's memory. Rebecca cannot remember how many children she has and remembers every word to "O Holy Night." Mary interrupted, "Are you listening to me?" "Yes, Mary I'm listening." With a sigh of relief Mary continued explaining each bottle of vodka, brandy, and rum on the page.

In the television room I met Margaret and William. William, a strapping old man, opened with, "Are you going  to give me a bath?" "No, I'm not." "Would you like to give me a bath?" he questioned with a grin. "No, sir." William had been sitting in the same sofa for three hours waiting for the nurse from Hospice to come bathe him. "They think I don't remember how long I've been waiting because of my condition. I've lost some of it, not all of it though." He asked me for a tissue to wipe his drool as he told me his stories of his four wives and life in the Air Force and Navy and how he's been sober for 50 years. "I say it was all God. It's not easy to quit, but for me, after trying for so long and never succeeding, one day it just happened. I quit." "It was a miracle." "I guess so," he answered. I asked him about his children and he asked me to stop asking questions, "I have this condition... it begins with L... uh, I can't remember what its called... something that makes me loss my thoughts." "Alzheimer's," I interrupted. "Ah, yes that. One day I was out doing my exercise. Walking around the neighborhood and something came into me and I couldn't stop walking." a pause followed. "That was two years ago. Now I've been to so many homes I couldn't keep track of them. This is my second week here." "Is it annoying to forget?" "Its frustrating."

Before leaving I asked for Lily. The event coordinator told me she'd been sick, but walked me to her room anyway. She entered before me checking to see if Lily's slumber continued. "Lily, you've got a visitor that you haven't seen in a very long time. You want to see her?" I came around the corner and heard her breath change as she saw me. "Oh!" she shrilled. One of her eyes couldn't open, her sweater almost revealed her breasts, and her diaper needed changing. "You're back!" "Yes, ma'am I am." "For how long?" "A whole month!" "Oh good." She rested her head back down on the bed and with a look of embarrassment sighed. "Do you want Luisely to come visit another day Lily?" the coordinator asked. "Mmmhmm." "Okay, Lily see you soon." "I'm glad you came back," she whispered.

Sitting, singing, interpreting, waiting, smelling... the visit reminded me that Kay Pov residents live everywhere. They help me see life.

With you,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

merging of death and life

About a year ago in Kay Pov Lisanne died.
I was asked to dance a story and this is what I danced.

She stopped breathing.
They denied us a stretcher.
We carried her.
They laughed.
They wouldn't open the morgue.
Erica's braids.
The sun set.
I bathed.

She bathed.
The moon rose.
Christy's dress.
They wouldn't let us in.
We laughed.
We carried him.
I was his stretcher.
He breathed.

The story of Lisanne's death and Ian's birth merged in my dance. 
A year later, the stories still teach me.

With you,

Monday, September 5, 2011

protect us from all anxiety

Tomorrow it will be two weeks since I've arrived to California, my new home for the next three years. Despite constant affirmations from God that I am exactly where I need to be, and reminders that the Great Companion of Companions is journeying with me, I found myself in moments of anxiety. I lay in my bed a few nights ago allowing insecurities invade my mind, "What am I doing? I belong working with the people directly, not with books again." While in my heart peace assures me that I've listened and followed.

This past week I've allowed illusions to cause anguish within me and today as we prayed our Love's prayer in mass I listened to the familiar words coming out of the priests mouth...

"...grant us peace in our day. In your mercy... protect us from all anxiety."

The prayer carries a wisdom deep within, acknowledging our own vulnerability to anxiety and how much we need Our Comforter to protect us from it and grant us peace. Only in our peace will we be able to fully open and allow ourselves to dance with the Dancer of all dances and delight creating life in that spirit.

May you and I, both, replace our illusions for the peace that we are granted.

With you,


Friday, August 5, 2011

a hug

I sat conversing with June. An 84 year old Kentuky native, who used to work for the FBI. With Alzeimer's at  her side, she repeats the stories about working during Hoover's presidency, and meeting her husband at a dance that cost a nickel to get into, more than a dozen times with the same enthusiasm.

As I listened to her another resident was brought to the June's usual sitting area in front of the ignored TV. Her feet were bare, like mine, touching the floor from between the pedals of her wheelchair. I looked up to her and smiled, she moaned. I went closer, kneeling at her feet and listened. "Help me," she whispered, "help me." She extended her hand. I got up on my feet and leaned towards her and her seemingly feeble arm wrapped around me with tremendous strength. I leaned closer feeling her cheek rest on mine. My arm caressed her grey, soft hair as I listened to her struggling breath, feeling that her time was near, I felt her hand in my hair mimicking my motions, then finding my clip. I smiled.

A nursing assistant passed by warning me, "She may not let go." I stayed. Another nursing assistant walked by a few minutes later asking me if I wanted her to pry me away from the embrace. I gratefully declined with my eyes. What she didn't know was that I needed the hug as much as she did, she was giving me life and strength while I did the same for her. In the meantime another resident, Lily, soon to become my friend, was wheeled next to us. "Well, isn't that nice. We all need a hug once in a while." I responded, "They're good for our health." "Better than all the pills they give us," she replied. "I believe she knows." Pretty soon a third nurse came and said it was time to take her back to her room. I placed my forehead on hers and looked into her tired eyes. There was the mucus that accumulates in the eyes of those dying. She held on to my head and back. As we parted I kissed her hand and felt her, thanking her for helping me.

A week later Eileen died, she would have been 103 in October. There was wisdom in her dying, a wisdom I hope to learn in my living: to take off uncomfortable shoes, ask for help, and hold on to a hug for as long as needed, intuitively knowing what will bring peace.

With you, and Eileen,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

peace within

The tires of the car seemed to wake up the road on the silent ride towards the fields. We wrapped belts around our waists with bucket looped in them and walked through the crisp morning air towards the bushes. The branches arched over the groves, weighed down by the weight of the berries. The rays of sunlight bathed us through smeared clouds as, in the distance, a girl sang In the Jungle with all her might. With the passing of an hour our brows were wet with sweat and our trunk full of over 5 gallons of blueberries. Children chased each other blithely through the bushes and laughter traveled through the field. We weighed the berries and left the money in an envelope for the farmers. 

On the ride home we looked at the sky slowly blend with ominous grey clouds as we savored the sweet fruits in our mouths.

O Love my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Your hands have made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Your power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to You;
How great You are, how great You are!
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to You:
How great You are, how great You are!
When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to You;
How great You are, how great You are!
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to You:
How great You are, how great You are!
(modified version of How Great Thou Art by Carl Gustav Boberg)
With you,

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I am being retaught a lesson this summer. The lesson of being.
I am tempted not to write about my simple encounters with God because I will not be informing you of anything new or updating you on the people in Kay Pov or Haiti. I will simply share ordinary beauties of life, beauties that anyone who is alive can sense.
Writing this blog challenges me tremendously, to let go of my ideas of self and simply be with you.

With you,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

gray clouds

I arrived home on Friday. Since then thunder shakes our walls every afternoon, following the flashes and announcing the rain. The sky, painted of a variety of grays with highlights of blues, houses clouds who collide in the most magnificent and mighty style.
I spoke to Rose today, it's her birthday. The spectacles in the sky have overstayed their welcome in Haiti. Port-au-Prince floods as cases of Cholera rise again from the stagnant water's contamination. The overflow of rain brought with it a few deaths. 

Before the floods though, before the casualties, people danced in praise for the blessing of water from above... how fragile our requests. 

Still with you,

Thursday, May 5, 2011

in the hands of the other

We woke up a bit after 5 this morning and headed to the Las Vegas Catholic Worker. With 600 hot dogs boiling and buckets of buns to pair with each we sat for morning prayer. The book used was the same one Rose, Nazareth, and I used in Jean Rabel, (People's Companion to the Breviary with Seasonal Supplement ;) one of the ones I plan on using with my children. We loaded the trailer and head to the lot. The sun still laid lazily on the horizon, we set up different lines in the coolness of the morning. The people, mostly men, from all ethnicities and walks of life, stood in line ready to receive their daily bread. In the hands of each, and the eyes of all, we saw him again, Jesus. We heard his words through the mouth of the hungry mother, through the rashes, the infections, and the smiles we smelled him, felt him, ate with him, Jesus.

Following that communion, we cleaned our mess at the house and left to the Courthouse for a Peace Vigil for an hour. People joined as they passed by and honked when they read the signs, "Support Our Troops, End the War," "Hate only begets hate," "Honk for Peace," "I really only love God as much as I love the person I love least. - Dorothy Day." We shared with others and in the stories I heard mine and in their search I found mine.

We crossed the railroad tracks back to the side of Vegas where the forgotten are stragically shoved to on the other side of the highway, with a jail near by and government housing, back to the Worker's neighborhood. We picked up 50 bag lunches to distribute around the neighborhood, at the spots where most homeless try to stay cool and avoid harassment and cops. In the interaction between those who work at the Catholic Worker and those who recieve the meal we witnessed the beauty of real relationship. The day to day catching up, the companionship.

We broke bread together once again and went our seperate ways, the people at the Worker staying to continue the work, and us, back home, both to continue finding Jesus in the hands of the other. 

With you,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Great Wonders!

Since last time we spoke, I have seen great wonders! I've baffled and stood speechless at the innumerable beauties of our Creator.

We left Vegas and made our way to Santa Barbara, California. The reception and the genuine sense of welcome we recieved gave our hearts a sense of freedom to retreat. Surrounded by the peace and perfection of nature we used our time there as retreat time, to look within and balance ourselves and recieve Love.

From there we marvelled at the sound of the cracking of oysters in otters mouths and their cuteness as they lay floating on the waves and their little hands agility to toss the empty shells from their bellies in Monterey, CA. The personality of the seals while they flirted with us in the sea and played michieviously with the seagulls seated at sea showed us yet another face of God's humor and creativity. The squirels were ginormous and the scallops exquisite.

We spent four days in Berkeley visiting my future university and the Holy of Holies made it perfectly clear that that is where I am being called in the fall. On Holy Thursday we went to the mass of the washing of the feet in a parish whose parishoners were half Central American and half African American. The gospel choir vibrated in my soul and moved my hips (which doesn't take much) and heart. The bilingual mass and homily (done by two students of my future school) stayed with me for the week to follow. I left the mass feeling blessed for my biculturalism and my faith.

From there I spent a little time in the Catholic Worker in Oakland, where yet again God showed me that where the Spirit guides me I will feel at home.

We spent Holy Saterday in Yosemite National Park, beholding the splendor of God! That night we went to Easter Vigil where I laughed, laughed, and laughed throughout the mass delighting in the obvious presence of New Life, of the risen savior, in the Chicano family seated in the pew in front of me composed of all women of different ages. The excitment I feel during Easter Vigil mass is that of a child's when she's listening to her favorite story and discovers that there is a happy ending. Each time it's as if I didn't know the ending (or better put, the beginning of Jesus' story... of all stories).

Easter Sunday we wandered around the ginormous trees and the majesty of the Great Artist in King's Canyon and Sequoia National Park. My breath was taken from me in soo many accounts. I honestly believe that I found heavenly resplendence there. We drove back to Vegas that night laughing, bealting out songs with the stirring wheel as our microphone, dancing and delighting as children do.

What freedom and peace, knowing that after death comes life! The cycle continues, it never ends in death, it continues.
Throughout our whole journey we have been centered in prayer focused on Lent, using books of reflections and meditaions, with one in particular by Richard Rohr. Part of the homily of Thursday's mass spoke about the decision to either continue working on cleaning out our souls after lent or of stuffing all the piles into the closet for postponment. (The homily sounded alot better than my summary.) I've chosen to continue working at the piles I've been sorting out throughout lent and continue throwing out what I need to detach myself from, what I need to embrace, and what needs more attention. So I've dedicated this whole week until next for a deep Spiritual retreat. It's hard work, but I'm grateful for it. It's all part of the baffling wonders of God.

With you,

P.S.: Prayers are more than welcome.
P.P.S.: Nazareth and Rose wrote me saying the following:
            "...[we] visited Kay Pov, and it was a changed atmosphere, they were happy, clean clothes, food cooking, Alex brought us around to see the shower... Walter... gave us hugs! Tiffany did not run away, said hello, it was special...the good work continues." Amen! God is Good!

Friday, April 15, 2011

fertile ground for intimacy

In The Pilgrimage, the author, Paulo Coelho writes, "When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly..." creating fertile ground to confront oneself. Traveling with someone close to you magnifies that confrontation, in my opinion at least.

The decision to go cross-country from Florida to California had its practical reasons: visiting friends and Catholic Workers along the way, visiting my future school, finding housing, etc. Deeper than that though, I searched for revelation. The revelation of whatever God wanted me to know at the moment. Although it was not part of my plan, as a result of that search I've reached a deeper intimacy with God and myself. The revelations along the way allow me to further know God's face and my own. This allows me to trust God fully, aiding me to die to self more willingly, and therefore be redeemed, sanctified, inhabited by the Spirit, and grow more intimate with God.

The journey carries its challenges; I feel God's presence as a constant and growth follows. Accompanying an intimate other can be more testing than accompanying those whom you are less vulnerable to, but as a cause of that there seems to be an even greater opportunity of transformation.

The road trip continues providing fertile ground for the conversion of heart.

With you,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

a question from a friend

I leave tomorrow morning on a road trip to the West Coast. Along the way I will be visiting loved ones in different states, Catholic Worker houses and my future graduate school in California. I plan to be open during our pilgrimage, allowing God to cleanse my soul along the journey. I will write along the way.

In 2007 I wrote in my journal of aspirations, "find a graduate program perfect for me, with tuition paid." I received an email three days ago congratulating me for receiving an award that will pay for my three years of graduate school in California. I reread the email three times and sat in complete gratitude. 

A friend questioned me, "Don't you feel guilty for receiving so much?" 
"I feel humbled to have been chosen, blessed and honored, yes. Guilty? no. Why? If our Creator is a generous God, an abundant mother that never ceases to give. I feel a great sense of responsibility because I know that these gifts are to be shared and given to, for, and with others." 

His question reminded me of my uncle's comment which troubled me as a child, "I don't bother God with mundane requests, why waste God's time on that?" I remember hearing that and thinking, "Oh Tio, you don't get it."

As Mami prays:
                        Oh Jesus, who said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you." Through the intercession of Mary, your most holy mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be granted.

I know I've written about this before, but I am constantly reminded and grateful for the reminders.

As a response to receiving the scholarship I said, "God is good." My friend's response was, "God would still be good if you didn't receive the scholarship." 
"Yes," I said, "God is good either way."

With you,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

like sea sponges

I sat on the boat allowing the wind to jostle my curls and the sun to warm my face. The splashes from the waves flickered on me as a twenty year old National Park volunteer approached me with two sea sponge fossils. She explained that animals are a colony that form one, so if two live sea sponges were to be diced together in a blender and then placed in sea water they would join again into the two original colonies.

Earth, in a way, is like those sea sponges. No matter how many blades cut through her and mangle her the Holy Spirit regenerates and the colony continues. The earthquakes in Haiti, Japan, and Burma, the fighting in Libya and Syria, and radioactive iodine contaminations all seem to disconnect and dismantle life. Yet unfailingly life continues and the same Creator, the same Spirit, regenerates.

With you,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

from a squirrel

A mother squirrel decided to move into my cousin's apartment about a month ago with her young ones. The matriarch of the new residents, seemingly unconcerned as to whether or not she was discovered, scratched away at the outside wall of the apartment. My cousin's wife, Ivelisse, peeked through the sliding glass door surprised to see the determined mother turn to her unstartled and continued to etch away at the barrier. Ivelisse went back in to her house, continued her conversation with her mother on the phone, in shock as to what she just witnessed.

Days later Ivelisse went to the patio with her basket full of laundry with the intention of placing a load in the washer when she noticed the new tenants moving into her ceiling. The gentle parent placed one new born squirrel in her mouth at a time climbed up a few boxes to the washer from there climbed onto the dryer where she squiggled into the hole which lead to their freshly made nest.

Ivelisse, not too pleased and yet again in disbelief, turned around with her basket still full until the bushy-tailed mover finished transporting her young. The following two weeks little noise was heard on the ceiling of my cousin and Ivelisse's bedroom. By the time the third week came along the rodents ran from one side of the ceiling to the other, sometimes seeming to follow the louder thumps... their food. They would occasionally scratch at the sliding glass door appearing to visit their flatmates, the whole family. By this point Ivelisse tried to assure herself she wasn't imaging this all.

The original tenants of the apartment began to loose sleep over the ruckus, deciding to call pest control to move the nest to another location and inclose the patio with screen in order to avoid more squatters. The team came in, removed the family placing metal sponges on the doorways, discovering more holes and blocking them with different barriers, plastic sheets, plastering up the wall, inclosing the patio and finishing it up by placing four electric irritants that let out an annoying sound inaudible to humans that the squirrels would want to avoid. They left pleased with their work.

Less than an hour after their departure Ivelisse heard faint whining coming from the above. As the hour passed the whining progressed. She called her husband, "They left one up there. She's going to come back for her, we can't let her die up there." By the time my cousin came home from work the resolved mother had broken the newly installed screen found her way to the once opening where she clawed desperately at the materials blocking her from her baby. My cousin set the irritants higher in order to scare her off. She left for a little bit and returned more driven. During the night, the humans heard the desperate whining and the determined mother. Finally the couple couldn't any longer. My cousin turned on the lights went to the patio and began to undo the handy work of the pest control team, assisting the headstrong mother.

He dug through the plaster, pulled out the plastic sheet and the metal sponge and gave way for the mother to find her young. Ivelisse disconnected the irritant and the pair went to sleep. By morning the whining ceased along with the sound of grating plaster.

The human family was left with a screened patio with a hole in it, two plastered areas of the wall, and a deeper hole in one, but with an incredible admiration for the bond between a mother and her offspring, no matter the species.

I went to the park today with a friend and her two daughters. I left with an incredible admiration for the bond between a mother and her offspring.

With you,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

... and believe.

I left mass with Mami and we sat in the car hearing the raindrops pound on the roof while some seeped through dripping on my jacket. The lightening allowed our eyes to detect the movement of the wind in the trees a few feet away. Vibrations that accompanied the thunder shook the car. Mami's ears rang. The wonder, chaos, and awesome power of the storm resembled my soul the night before.

I sat between Papi and a young lady with red pointed high heels.  The mass ended, we could go in peace to love and serve and at different posts in the aisles people stood with the small dish full of ashes, smudging the dust on foreheads repeating, "Repent and believe... Repent and believe," with each marking.  The lady with the red heels stood up looked at me and asked, "Is it over?" With a smile and a gesture I followed her in procession to dish full of ashes. "Repent and believe," he said. "Amen."

"Repent and believe." I interrupted the flow of the procession and headed back to the pew. I sat there in awe of the words chanted from the lips of the people with the small dishes full of ashes. I believed those words. Those words were being sung and repeated for me. Nothing else needed to be uttered. The night before, the fears, the doubts within... I am to be transformed and to simply believe. I stood up, smirked at God's clarity and precision, and cut through the people in single-filed lines without smudges and headed out to the storm.

Tornado warnings alarmed the county, the turbulence of the wind and rain halted our agendas, and with a smudge on my forehead I believe.

With you,

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I'm back in Jean Rabel.
             I'm back home.

With you,

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

between 127th and 123rd

I pressed the brake, slowly transitioning to a halt as my eyes made their way to the sky.

probably thousands, of birds,
all black,
enjoying themselves in the wind
or standing on the electrical wires between 127th Ave. and 123rd Ct. 

It’s still winter so masses flock to the South hovering over the streets of Miami.

I marveled at the uncountable amount of black birds standing so intimately with me. I observed as some decided, seemingly in synchrony, to unhook their claws and open their wings swaying in circular paths with the wind. The grace and elegance of these birds left me without thought, without breath (for a moment). Sadly, the light changed and I moved passed 123rd Ct. to 122nd Ave. where the only evidence of the phenomenon were five birds- a group of three perched on the wires and, a little further, a couple flying above me.

I knew that God spoke to me through those birds; my awe left me with no intellectual conclusion, so I simply prayed, “One day, let me understand what you wished to tell me with this.”

I took it as an utter manifestation of Love
and three days later saw it as a reminder…

The reason I visited Miami in the first place was to understand God’s will of how I should continue accompanying the people in Kay Pov and the women who are continuing the work there.

So many good intentioned voices recommended this or that and I found myself forgetting that I am like those black birds. Not only am I part of a bigger whole, not only will the wind guide me, but I must soar with two wings. One of the Catholic Church’s treasures is seeing that charity and justice must exist simultaneously, like the two wings on the birds. Not using one more than the other, not esteeming one more than the other, but using both in order to glide in the currents of wind God sends us.

Now I pray, “Let me be like the birds in their equilibrium, in their trust, in their solidarity.”

With you,

Thursday, January 27, 2011

our rabbis

Their skin is softer. Maybe because the elasticity of the skin left years earlier and the crevices add a squishy texture. Their eyes may be less clear and their teeth usually model their years of exposure and usage. I look at them and do not tire at marveling at their resplendency.

We walked down the side walk, our arms linked, at a slower pace respecting the results of her stroke. The ice cream she relishingly licked found its way down her small fingers, palms, and shirt. Throughout the stroll I walked in different restaurants for more napkins to keep up with her sticky delight. Her eyes widened and her tongue savored the flavor left in the foldings of her lips as we washed her hands in the water fountain. We made our way to a bench and sat there as I listened, amazed by her memory. I questioned and she sheepishly answered, "My memory is fine, but then there are moments that I become an idiot." Her eyes avoided mine as she admitted to her loss in short term memory. "It happens to us all at moments." She smiled. "What day is it today?" It was her third time asking the question.

I ran in late to mass, a mass remembering the death and life of a friend's father. I took my seat in the back and recognized the hunched back and the fine white hair. I spoke with members of the family and through the silhouettes I spotted the familiar man with the cane patiently waiting for the conversations to subside to make his way through. I walked towards him and hugged him. Three years had passed since I last saw him. He stood elegantly, as his nearly century old muscles unwillingly shook and his gaze stayed firmly in mine. He shared his stories and there we spoke in the empty chapel, laughing, and finding the beauty in the other.

They shoved one another in order to sit in the back first. One with the older of the pair losing the discussion and sitting regally beside me in the front, I was the chauffeur. First pick of the places to go was the bookstore. As we arrived a display with the latest e-book device and an employee selling it held it towards their aged and still curious eyes. "And what might that be?" one said to the other. The employee proudly explained the apparatus and her polite response was, "I prefer the paper, but thank you." They laughed, caring one for the other, buying gifts for the other behind the other's back. I laughed and indulged in the pleasure of their humor and presence.

They enrich us with stories, laughter, and wisdom. They help us remember to not take ourselves that seriously. They remind us of the past and what will come to us in the future, to better live in the present.

May we remember to walk slowly, forget ourselves in the gusto of an ice cream cone, look the other in the eye, share stories with one another, ask questions without shame, and speak honestly in the same manner. May we remember them, delight in their presence and give of ourselves to them.

With you,

Monday, January 17, 2011


Late last night I decided to take the back roads home, while allowing the heater to thaw out my toes. Thoughts swam through my mind as I slowly swerved through the paved curves. Interrupting my monologue of to-do lists and hopeful thinking, a red light from the dashboard appeared. As my eyes adjusted, I realized the little words read BRAKE! I hesitated at believing the sign since I didn’t sense the car dragging nor did I smell the brakes burning. I checked the emergency brake and it laid there in its expected position. I jiggled the brake a bit, pushed the button at the end of the stick and the light continued to shine, differentiating itself from its blue and green counterparts. Then I got it. The little guy lit especially for me. It, or Jamaima (the car I gladly drove in), or better said, the Beauty of Beauties wanted me to brake, to stop all the shenanigans diving in and around my mind and simply be. Be in the deep blue of the sky, the long sheer clouds smeared through it cradling the chubby moon, and the silhouettes of the pine trees framing my passage. I smiled and decided to listen and be. I stopped Jamaima, temporarily relieving the headlights of their duties, and allowing my eyes to rejoice in my surroundings. I looked up at the moon and felt her manifestation in me. I allowed my eyes to wander through the vastness of the moonlit sky and my soul to be humbled, and at ease, with its place in the vastness. Then I turned my head towards my left and saw more splendor. A lake lay embraced by pines, mirroring its tree frame in its unruffled waters. The lake reflected the moon, the silhouettes and the clouds above. I allowed the chill of the night to fill my lungs and listened to the unseen flow of the lake. It lay placid and seemingly motionless. All the life, and with it, death, it carries within, and all the peace that it transmits for simply being.

The cold began to chill my nose so I cuddled back into Jamaima, turned her on and rode the rest of the way home with the little red light still shining for me. I am perfectly aware that it may simply be another glitch in the car bought from a junk yard, and I am tremendously grateful for that glitch and the other glitches in life that remind us to brake and truly be. To sense, to smell, to see, to listen, to stop and be. "For the kin_dom of God is at hand." Mark 1:15

With you,