The new year had begun and it seemed, like standing before a locked threshold with no window to peer through, no doorman to request an entrance inside. What was beyond the door? One would imagine warmth, a hearth with a crackling fire, and a table set with a meal and good company, safety, the sanctuary of a place. On the streets it had been catch as can, belonging nowhere, sleeping in doorways until shooed away and hoping for a scrap of something to sustain. Gnawing hunger and cold on the street served with a side of loneliness and fear. 

My husband was told he could not come back until he was "all better". He had sworn at an usher in our church who refused to let him leave when he was upset. My husband begged the man to step aside so he could pass through the door and go home but the usher said "No, I can see you are upset, tell me about it and we will pray." One blocking the doorway, one pleading to leave to get medication to take care of a medical condition that had arisen. "No" So in desperation my husband swore, the man jumped aside in surprise and my husband went home. 

The following day my husband met with the pastor and explained what happened and apologized for swearing. The pastor then explained that he "knew all about PTSD" and that my husband could come back to church when "He was all better". The door to our church home was closed to my husband and might as well have been to me. How could I continue to attend a church my husband was not allowed to attend until he was "fine".

We waited a year. I continued with the ministry I was engaged in on behalf of the church   praying for reconciliation, a new minister arrived. I met and then my husband met with her. Forgiveness,grace, mercy were not extended. Evidently swearing once in the lobby of the church, with no priors, was unforgiveable. 

I wrote a letter of resignation from the ministry I had been engaged in and joined my husband on the outside looking in. The Church universal is hemorraging membership annually. Our situation was totally avoidable. This story continues as I pray and seek God for new direction and purpose within or without the organized church. Currently my husband and I have been attending a small local church that has been very welcoming. We havn't joined. We are like divorcees who would prefer to live together unmarried than risk the committment of the ceremony at the moment. We shall see, time will tell.


We all fall down....

"Every one of us has had some sort of experience of leaving home, of responding to a call, of having to leave something or someone behind to journey in fidelity to who we are."
This was one of the statements on the Creighton university online Ignatian retreat for week 19 that I just opened yesturday. I was trying to catch a glimpse of a leaf releasing from a tree as I was walking My dog under the maples on the college campus near my home when a flock of geese flew over head followed then by a "murder" of crows; all answering a call I could not  hear but they could. 

Soon the landscape in this snow belt region will be bare and grey, actually by the end of this month. If the trees don't release their leaves and travel " light" through the winter season their branches will be stripped off by the heavy ice and snow. They might not recover from the damage. As I wondered what I needed to release this coming season, I ran into a few people with whom I realized I had not forgiven for what had happened in the past. God issued an ultimatum, it was time, to let that go. Let the anger and hurt go. 

Divine insight flooded my thoughts for a moment, a moment of grace. I don't have to let these folks back into my life, but they are forgiven, I have done it. God knows, I know, they know what happened and Grace has covered it. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  I can finally be at peace. 



The trees are releasing their leaves slowly in multicolored wisps on the wind. I am being called to release parts of the past in order to move ahead to the next season as well. Will it be done with the grace and glory of the autumn trees, each falling leaf a dazzling offering of what was and what might have been, could have been, should have been? The coming winter in all its frozen blow will create the space for rest, then ready for another chance, a new hope will arise.


Lies, Lies,Dreams, Dreams

Lies, Lies,Dreams, Dreams

                                           El Lahun, Pyramid of Senusret II, Egypt
                                           Photographer: Einsamer Schütze

A pagan Pharoah, believed to be Senusret II, slept fitfully. A troubling dream woke him and caused him deep concern. Even in the morning it was still vivid, not like the other crazy dreams he had that always vanished with the morning light. This one was different and hauntingly different. Over breakfast he spoke to his staff about this and the possible meaning. Something he ate or an omen? 

Through a series of inquiries the royal assistants learned about Joseph’s ability to accurately interpret dreams and sent for him to appear before Pharoah. Where was Joseph summoned from? A place called rock bottom or the pits, a jail cell; unjustly incarcerated by a false accusation. 

A lie sold Joseph into slavery, another false witness led to his incarceration. 

                                           Egyptian Bronze Age Prisoners

God spoke to a king who revered Horus, Anubis and Ra through a dream interpreted by a Hebrew prisoner. God used a pagan king to elevate this prisoner from a Bronze Age jail. Two men met by Divine appointment. Two nations saved from famine, Joseph and family reconciled. (Genesis 41)

Jesus, late Iron age rabbi, was also lied about, mocked, crucified then sealed in a tomb.  It was hoped that with the closing of the stone seal on the grave opening that the mouth of the teacher would be silenced forever. God used a former prostitute to discover that the rabbi had risen from the dead. "Mary don't touch me," Jesus said when Mary Magdalene naturally reached out to him. " I have not yet returned to my Father," the Living Christ replied. She was charged to go and tell the Good News to the grieving disciples, Mary the woman who would have been stoned for adultery from whom demons were driven out became Mary, the first evangelist,  John 20:15-18.

Because of lies, deceit, mockery or abuse the potential given us by God may be bound in grave wrappings and sealed.  Hopes, dreams trampled on the ground by the very people who proclaim righteousness but pile on stones of judgement. Jesus proclaimed he came to set the captive free. A rocky tomb sealed with a boulder could not silence Christ. God has the final Word. Believe, Mary did.

Luke 4:14-20

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”



You always hurt the one you love, the one you should not hurt at all;
You always take the sweetest rose, and crush it till the petals fall;
You always break the kindest heart, with a hasty word you can't recall;
So if I broke your heart last night, it's because I love you most of all. (The Mills Brothers)

A Pop song of such truth. As dependence waxes and wanes  in a relationship, wether romantic or parent/ child, a cha -cha of approach/avoidance occurs. Loving approach then angry push back and assertion of independence. "By hurting the beloved, the lover wishes to signal that their mutual relationship, and in particular their mutual dependency, should be modified. Hurting the beloved may be the last alarm bell that warns of the lover's difficulties; it is an extreme measure signaling urgency. If the relationship is strong enough, as the lover wishes it to be, it should sustain this measure. "
Our Heavenly Father, not exempt in His divine perfection because of the free will afforded His children, delivers a lament common to parents around the world, 

  1. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children ... the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling."

Another group, another story, different ending. Jesus's disciples were out fishing on the lake, all night long, catching nothing. Jesus watched by the shore and called out to them as the sun was rising,  throw your net over on the other side instead. The words he used to address them were the words a parent would use for a child or a close family member, a term of endearment. They listened and brought in a haul of fish that started to break their nets. It struck me that they never argued with him or told him that it was a stupid idea because after all they knew the fishing business and had been at it for hours. They were willing, fish were caught, empowerment happened. 
Matthew 23:37 KJV


Driving By The Lake On A Foggy Morning

On Friday as I was driving by the lakeshore, early in the morning, on my way to work, the fog was so heavy that the only thing seen was the outline of the trees by the guardrail. Lake, waterfowl fowl, cottages on the other side had all vanished behind a thick blanket of grey haze. It occurred to me that if I did n't know what was already there and was driving by for the very first time I would never guess the beauty just beyond the skeletal  bare tree line. Driving by in the fog of faith and not by sight, not knowing what is beyond that which is directly in front of me. I cannot see or foresee the future, sorrow, pain, happiness, joy. There is only the present moment, the fog. Driving back in the other direction, the afternoon was sunny, clear and bright. What a difference a few hours make, what a difference a day makes, or the answer to a prayer, received.


The bitter root

Don’t call me Naomi,b ” she told them. “Call me Mara,c because the Almightyd has made my life very bitter. 21I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflictede me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

Crushed hopes, unanswered prayers and expectations soon become bitterness, and nothing blocks the streams of living water that are meant to bubble forth from a soul than bitterness. Bitterness can happen when our relationships fail to meet legitimate needs or are ended in an untimely and tragic manner. Grieving that  loss is important. The proverb “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12), speaks aptly of the haunting longing that accompanies hopes that seem like candles in the wind. Snuff them out and the bitter feelings arise like acid reflux:
Feelings of
-Pay backs
-Critical or unkind comments
-Controlling behavior
 We are created in such a way that we want to avoid pain. But when something takes place that causes loss, pain,injustice, a decision must be made to forgive, let go or to let bitterness into our heart."See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many" (Heb. 12:15). The bitterroot plant grows in desert waste places and produces lovely blooms ranging from white to deep pink.In North America, native people used parts of the plant as a vital food source and other parts to treat diabetes, skin issues, indigestion and to stimulate lactation in nursing mothers. "To all who mourn in Israel, God will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair." NLT(2007)