Diana was a dear friend and helped me navigate the stormy waters of my mother’s mental illness. That was in 1990, and she was a psychiatrist. In a dream the other night, I was gifted with a memory. A searing moment of pain, and a phone call to her. I felt and heard her steady, solid voice as I told her my mother hanged herself, and I couldn’t make it for Thanksgiving dinner that night.
A long pause ensued, characteristic of those trained in her profession, but it was more. She held such a profound space for me as I struggled to breathe. She finally broke the silence, and said,
“Your efforts on behalf of your mother were heroic MaryAnn. I admire you, and I am so sorry.
Over twenty years later, I know that heroic efforts did not make me a hero, and certainly not a hero of love…
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A friend drove fifteen miles Monday night to deliver me a photograph of a man named Elijah, because we shared a powerful history with him. More than moved I was, because that man shone the light of God when I was in in the deepest, darkest hell. He died several years ago, and I thought I had missed the chance to thank him. Now that I see his beautiful face in a photo, he’s alive again to me, and this post is for him. The text below is from my forthcoming book, Going Naked, Being Seen: Mary Magdalene and the Return to God,
A smell hit me as I walked down the stairs to the intake desk. The air was heavy and the floors were dirty. Walking toward the desk, my eyes slowly adjusted to the dark basement. I felt eyes upon me as I descended the…
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A true gift is given without expectations, like a grace. I’ve received so many of them in my life, you think I’d be more gracious in receiving. This past weekend broke me open to a whole new capacity because that grace showed up in everything I saw around me. I felt like God had kept track of my loves and reflected them back to me in a perpetual experience. Even down to the type of coffee that my friend served, and the behavior of the stray cat whose affection arrested me because he looked like my beloved cat Gracie that I left almost seven years ago, when I couldn’t care for myself, let alone a cat.
I met some new friends recently, and took a road trip to spend time with them last weekend. In their presence I felt seen; that I mattered, and where I had been before our time together…
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I’m not the answer guy; more like the question woman. When people come to me for counsel or advise, I find myself asking them questions, and they often come to their own conclusions. Some problems are tough though, and they don’t yield right away. It’s when I have to say I don’t know.
When my friend Christi used to respond, “I don’t know” when I pondered something I was grappling with, it frustrated me at first. Recreating a life is real work, and most of it is internal, before the changes appear on the surface as demonstrations. Christi is wise, and she is kind, because she has done the inner work. She radiates love…
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There is something that I would die for, and I die daily to get it. Freedom. I don’t fight others for it though, it is usually something within me blocking the light, that I need to let go. It isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always pretty. Maybe that is why I’ve been captivated by my friend’s moving story of a field mouse rescue.
Mike found him outside while he was doing something on the lawn, and brought him in. He was tiny and ugly, and probably would have died without Mike’s amazing triage and continued care. I watched Mike’s posts of his progress; feeding by eye dropper, heated cage with perfect fiber blankets, and later, more solid food. Captivated, I looked forward to the growth reports. This week, Mike set him free, and said this:
[among my sisters] I had to take one last picture and cage him to do it.
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I was talking to my friend on the phone and soaking my feet in sea salt bath at the same time. I knew better than to mix water with talking on the phone, but both activities felt so good, I couldn’t give one of them up. Sure enough, I dropped my phone in the water. Splash!
I fished that phone out faster than greased lightning, and immediately thought of lightning.
“What if I get electrocuted?”
Of course, I didn’t say that out loud, but I got scared just the same. My friend was talking so fast and was full of such important information to share, that I couldn’t even interrupt her to share my fright. So, we kept talking for about an hour. My phone seemed fine and I plugged it in before I went to…
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I really spent way too much time preparing for Court hearings and trials as a young lawyer, but I didn’t know better and I was terrified to make a mistake. I can’t say that I ever overcame this painful habit, but I guess it didn’t hurt my clients, even though it threw me off-balance and allowed me to neglect almost everything else in my life before the hearing. I came to know that being prepared is a conclusion that I could only make after the trial or hearing when what I couldn’t foresee before it, played out. It took far more than a rehearsed speech or rigid outline of questioning to be a good and effective lawyer; I had to respond to what came up live, from the witnesses testimony or the questions and rulings from…
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