Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Lenten Writings:  the long road

We are sitting with Desmond Tutu in the Mystic Activists this month.  His writings are mentoring us as we wrestle with the tough questions of reconciliation and forgiveness.  I find my heart stirring anew as I listen to this deeply humble man who lives what he speaks and writes.  

As the archbishop of the Anglican church in South Africa, Desmond Tutu chaired the truth and reconciliation commission, at the request of newly elected Nelson Mandela. This was a major change from how war crimes had been handled since World War II.  It allowed victims to tell their stories.  It invited perpetrators to tell their stories.  Truth is the only starting point to true reconciliation. 

Desmond Tutu says, “The problem with letting bygones be bygones is that they dont stay bygones.  They will return to haunt you…Forgive and forget says….What happened in your case either didn’t happen or it doesn’t matter” (D.T. On forgiveness)

It has been my experience that the road to healing is the road back.  Far from keeping me stuck in the past, it frees me more and more to live boldly today.  But deep courage is required to know, really know, my story.  It is only from that place of knowing that true forgiveness, or release from my right to revenge, can occur.  Its not a one time deal.  Thats why it is called the work of forgiveness.  

I wonder, where is the invitation for you today? I am wrestling it another layer deeper.  Because it matters.  

There can be no true reconciliation without it.  And we are desperately needing that in our community.  But even if reconciliation is not possible, if both sides are not willing to enter this work; it matters.  

It matters for my heart to be free.  

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The Lenten Writings:  breathing in, breathing out

Waldorf education gave me a gift, unwittingly.  I watched as my kids, early childhood to high school, engaged in a rhythm of learning.  Intense periods of taking new information would be followed by gathering vegetables in the garden, or feeding the goats, or ironing cloth napkins, or doing yoga.  They called it breathing in, and breathing out.  The premise was that the mind absorbs more if it has periods to integrate that intake.  

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There is a gift here for me, this Lenten season, as the rhythm of the 40 days invites me deeper still.  I need the spaces; oh how I need the spaces! As my body strengthens, and I am engaging more fully in midwifery, I find myself missing being still in my home. 

Now if you have journeyed with me, you know I had six months of straight stillness last year as my brain and body healed from a life threatening motor vehicle accident.  So it is hard to imagine, yes? I found out something in those long weeks turned to months.  I need stillness.  Somewhere in that cocoon of silence, where even music was dissonant, was Jesus.  I don’t  have a lot of words for all that shifted in my body and spirit in 2016. But it was good.  

I have moments of stillness in my vocation:  Sitting in a dim room, singing a baby out in an antiphonal wordless chant.  Or Standing with sister midwives in a circle, naming the internal agony of how to practice with integrity in the current medico-legal environment in Arizona.  Or Listening to my daughter’s words after a village prenatal:  “It wasn’t weird, mama, it just had a lot of beautiful things you don’t get to see very often.”  

But my heart is crying out for more.  I notice it as I see my humor come up in brittle, self-protective ways.  Or I feels its absence as I lay awake at night downloading the day in waves of sensory images.  I find myself sitting in parking lots, taking ten minutes to be still before I move on to the next place or person that deserves for me to be present.  

And so, for this moment, I am sitting in my garden, savoring the birdsong under a too warm Desert sun.  

Breathing. 

In and out.  

The mystery of Lent.  

The Lenten Writings: I am marked

I have never participated in Ash Wednesday. I grew up in a conservative circle, the rhythms of the liturgical year far from my reality.  Actually, I did not know what Lent was until  a class in college. Easter was a big deal, and eggs were suspect. We did make an egg tree where we hung detailed hand decorated eggs which depicted the resurrection story.

Yesterday at the Mystic Activists I was marked by ashes. It was a profound experience actually, as my head was cupped and the blessing given:  “may the peace of Christ be with you”.   Ritual for some perhaps, but for me in it’s newness , the words hung with power in the air.


All day long I felt the ashes against my skin. I watched people’s eyes meet my eyes and then travel upward. Some spoke, others were strangely silent. Perhaps, like I can be in some situations, they were triggered. Others had many words, born of their own experience. I heard stories from moms and grandmas at dance of growing up and going to church before school. The person checking me out at the grocery store told me about their growing up church experience and how they are trying to make sense of faith now. For one day, at least, it was easy to enter these conversation.

I have been sitting with the significance of being marked. It makes me wonder, what has marked me in my journey?  Words and images come to mind; stories of beauty and pain. I had the opportunity to be in the Northwest this weekend. That is a place saturated with sensory memories for me.  Things that have marked me…

I Wonder, what is your experience of being marked?