Monday, June 24, 2013


God is..

I had a general unsettled feeling last week.  Initially I couldn’t put my finger on its cause until I realized, since my yellow-lab Ben had been sick, a few days had passed without us touching the earth.  We had gone for brief leash walks on concrete sidewalks, but actually feeling the ground under our feet had not happened for days.  Knowing that the cure for my general funk was not far away was a relief.

There is a magnificent 17-acre wood, one side bordering on a river, with 100-year-old plus trees that would minister to my need.  Just the sound of my footsteps on the broad wooden plank bridge crossing the river began to elevate my mood as I watched multiple goose families, with their young, trolling on the water’s current.  But the real elixir came when entering under the high-canopied trees and feeling the well-worn earthen path under my feet.  Sparsely spattered dapples of bright sunlight provided dramatic contrast to the deeply shaded forest floor.  A few of the biggest trees were laid down and were on their way to return to the soil.  It was the end of my malaise. 

The fact is soil supports all life, including us.  There was a nutritionist on UWM public radio recently who said, “We are literally made of dirt.”  The elements found in soil are the same elements in us.  And she suggested we not treat sick plants, but rather treat the soil in which they grow.  What if the same is true for us?  And I remembered a statement from my former Teacher Naturalist training materials at Riveredge Nature Center, “Almost everything on earth can be called by another name—‘temporarily not soil’.”  A hundred years ago that would have been an easier concept to grasp for the world was not so full of so much permanent looking stuff that we created--from what?  The earth.

I am grateful to the family who donated that wood to my county to preserve it.  What if everyone had easy access to a healing piece of earth?  

Monday, June 17, 2013


God is...

I came across the word diaspora in March while reading a morning meditation.  I had a general idea of its meaning, but when I looked up its origin and learned it came from the Greek word diaspeirein, to scatter, from dia + speirein to sow, I saw a hopeful metaphor for the many who have left the church of their birth.  What if this current massive scattering of the faithful is God’s way of sowing seeds to an eventual ecumenical end where all people will come to respect another’s beliefs, and eventually embrace and care for each other?

In Barbara Brown Taylor’s memoir, “Leaving Church,” she tells of leaving her position as an Episcopal pastor because her desire to be all things to all people, all the time, left her emotionally, physically and spiritually spent.  She now teaches religious studies at Piedmont College.  From her experience as pastor, Taylor summarized so well what is needed for church today with these words:  We needed a different way of being together before God, shaped more like a circle than a pyramid.  We needed to ditch the sheep paradigm.  We needed to take turns filling in for Jesus, understanding that none of us was equal to the task to which all of us had been called.  We needed to share the power.  And she asked this great question …might it be time for people of good faith to allow that God’s map is vast, with room on it for both a center and an edge?  While the center may be the place where the stories are preserved, the edge is the place where the best of them happen. 

Empowerment is another word for “to share power.”  When we empower one another everyone benefits.  And in the ongoing process of creation, we need new stories to keep God relevant for us.  Who would have thought that trusting in the slow work of God could be so comforting? 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Deeply Connected

God is...
Have you ever felt deeply connected to someone or something and experienced a kinship and empowerment through that connection?  I think those are the times we can become aware of the God energy flowing through us.  And even though that energy is always within, it seems awareness of it comes easiest in either times of great sorrow or great joy. 

When I struggled mightily with my aging parents’ care needs I felt that kinship and empowerment in the natural world, and sometimes from others.  It is that God energy, and the learning that came from it, that I share in God Never Hurries.  I wrote … It was a time of heightened consciousness and vivid dreams.  I awoke one morning with words floating in my head.  I did not remember a specific dream, but there were these words that wanted to be put together.  I reached for my bedside pencil and paper, and here’s how they became arranged: 

God is in the sunshine,
God is in the rain.
God is in the wheat field
And in the sky again.

God is in the birds
Who sing to you and me.
God’s also in the puppy that
Plays so gleefully.

God is in the mountains,
God is in the sea.
But best of all, don’t you know
God’s in you and me.

What if we really looked everyday for this mysterious God living in all people and all things?

Monday, June 3, 2013


God is...

Found, yes, but not completely.  Living the mystery is now more comforting to me than any certainty of where I am at.  I prefer it that way for it leaves me more open to new learning.  But seriously lost?  Not anymore.  Not after I claimed my self-worth and am gradually growing in true appreciation of the unconditional worth of others.  Writing God Never Hurries was an important piece of finding my way.  It gave my life context and put perspective on my troubles.

In my memoir I tell of listening to my father’s litany of derision one morning and I wrote:  But I felt like a duck.  His words seemed to hit my back and roll to the floor as I stood there flipping pancakes.  They did not penetrate me and I felt some hate drain with the understanding that he is not going to change.  That brought a strange kind of relief.  I remembered the words there is a reason and season for everything—joy/sorrow; bravery/fear; love/hate; peace/war.  I remembered too, other words that woke me once before, “Be careful.  He’s dangerous.”  I wasn’t sure those words were real until then.

Deep appreciation for all my learning thus far came to me in the mail recently on a CD sent to me by one of my Wisdom Seeker friends.  There was no artist named on it and a magic marker had identified the title as “How Could Anyone.”  It is sung by the voice of an angel accompanied by a soulful melody to these words:

“How could anyone ever tell you
You were anything less than beautiful?
How could anyone ever tell you
You were less than whole?
How could anyone fail to notice that
Your loving is a miracle?
How deeply you’re connected to my soul.”

What if that song became an iconic best seller and ran through the mind and heart of everyone?