When Grief & Hope hold hands


“Man, when he does not grieve, hardly exists.”

Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Sometimes good men die on sunny days.  Bright blue skies and fluffy clouds are forever tied to both 9/11 and the day my daddy died.  While it doesn’t seem fair or right, I have a deep faith that allows grief and hope to hold hands.  Hiked up Stone Mountain today to be closer to the clouds and memories.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:33-04:00September 11th, 2011|Honestly|3 Comments

Art is Life is Art: Good Friday & Waiting Saturday

Bright Sadness

Yesterday was a day for darkness.

In the Orthodox Church, the Lenten season is called the season of Bright Sadness.  A beautiful phrase that came to life last night as we literally sat in the dark.   Remembering The Cross and stepping into mourning, there was orientation and life.

Today is a day for waiting.

I confess I don’t wait well.  I know how to look back.  When I look back, I have learned to analyze, connect dots or tap into emotions.  And I can look forward with ideation, vision and hope.

But waiting…waiting I don’t do so well.  Waiting feels like treading water with no end in sight.

A million years ago, when I was 20-ish, I wrote a song with a friend.  It started with a line out of my journal:

“Pulled in so many ways,  too much life in one day…”

and landed in a chorus that said, “I will wait to be your glory.”

In that song, I was trying to make sense of season of upheaval. It was a waiting season.  I had left childhood behind and was turning toward the future.  But, in the reality of my day to day, I was being crushed.  I was in my first serious battle with depression and life felt like it was taking me under.  My past was just that, past.  My future was unclear and my present was full of unknowns.

I was restless.

I had no answers.

What worked yesterday, was no longer an option.

And nothing had concretely opened before me.

I was waiting.

Not like the anticipation you feel when a baby is about to be born or your birthday party is about to start.  Not like standing at the mailbox waiting for the letter with a check.  Not Waiting-cause-something-good-is-on-the-way.  This was Hope-is-dead-and-I-don’t-know-what’s-coming-next kind of waiting.

Looking back now, I see that The Waiting {seemingly without hope} was a life-definer.

It was in that season of darkness that my faith simultaneously grew deep roots and wings.  It was in the waiting that I learned to rest in the midst of a storm.  It was in that season of waiting that I lost my way, made poor decisions and learned that I am not enough.  It was in that season that I learned that provision is made.

Even when I can’t tell what’s coming.

I know that tomorrow’s celebration is coming.  I am washing napkins, tucking “happys” into baskets and preparing for a family gathering.  But in my heart, I’m holding on to the darkness, because I know that depth and glory are found in waiting.

Our hearts are restless

By |2016-10-19T14:20:36-04:00April 23rd, 2011|Art is Life is Art|3 Comments

Lessons from the garden: on brown wrappings

Her:  “Did you consider that it might be protection?”
Me *sniffling* “mmm…what?”
Her:  Maybe there is purpose in that situation ending.

On that day, I just wanted to cry… but yesterday down on my knees, with the damp earth seeping through my jeans, the words of my wise friend echoed in my heart.

It might be protection.

There is purpose.

new mums small

I get so excited for this time of year in the garden ~ the spring clean-up after the fall clean-up.  The fall clean up is a tucking in, but this, this is like opening a package.  Like welcoming a new baby.  Old growth, left for winter interest, is making way for the new. Like a deep breath of air right after it rains; all feels fresh, crisp and clean.

Ubiquitous cup of coffee in hand, I took inventory.

* Leaves & trash out of beds
* Move trellis
* Trim the crape myrtles
* Too much to do in one day, just start…

And then it was time… to tend and be in the quiet of birdsong, earth and thought.  As I gently pushed back crunchy brown leaves to uncover the seem-to-be-dead-but-not-really-perennials, I heard her again, “Did you consider it might be protection?” The wind blew, and I continued lifting leaves, like little blankets, off of the truth that, the scenario I thought was breaking my heart, was simply a cycle.  One that I can welcome not fight.  Situations fall to the ground and feel like death.  The tears are real, but the endings circle around to the next beginning.   I love uncovering the buds and bits of green because it’s like uncovering my dormant heart.  Those little buds infuse me with hope.  “Maybe there is purpose in the situation’s ending.” Maybe, oh, maybe…

new growth small

Winter is ending ~ Spring is coming.

I am new growth in a brown package;
hope wrapped in last year’s fallen dreams.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:37-04:00February 27th, 2011|Lessons from the garden|7 Comments