A Beginner’s Prayer for Holy Thursday

Holy WeekHoly Thursday 2013.  I invited (dragged?) my now-husband, then-boyfriend to Mass without dinner.  The liturgy, full of chanting and processing, took three hours.  An argument, fueled by two, tired, angry, hungry people ensued.

With that memory in mind, I put together the Catholic Cliff Notes version of Holy Thursday.  If you’re attending a service this evening, it will help you navigate the liturgy. If not, it will help you commemorate this holy day on your own.  I invite you not just to read it, but to pray it.  I hope that the guide below will help you experience and appreciate Holy Thursday.  

Good and gracious God, send your spirit down upon me.  Quiet my heart and mind to hear your voice, see your movement, and feel your presence.  May your scriptures reveal to me your most perfect person and plan for our salvation.

  • The Institution of the Eucharist

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat, this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28; NRSV)

  • The Institution of the Priesthood

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.  He came to Simon Peter, who said to him. “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”  Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”  Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”  Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”  Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean.  And you are clean, though not all of you.”  For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord – and you are right, for that is what I am.  So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:3-15; NRSV)

  • The Announcement of the New Commandment

Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35; NRSV)

  • Jesus’ Prayer in the Garden

They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”  He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated.  And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.”  And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.  He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep?  Could you not keep awake one hour?  Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words.  And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him.  He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?  Enough!  The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Get up, let us be going.  See, my betrayer is at hand.” (Mark 14:32-42; NRSV)

If time permits, meditate with this Taize chant, or journal your reflections. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7GexIvX8HU

We praise you, Lord, for your infinite grace.  In becoming human, you experienced the incredible joys and pains of this life and this world.  We thank you, Lord, for saving and shepherding your people.  Please be with us throughout this Holy Week.  Help us to better know and appreciate your dying on the cross, so that we may better know and appreciate your rising from the tomb.

On Holy Week

Holy Week_1I received the reference book in eighth grade, from a dear family friend, for my Confirmation.  I turn to it when I have practical questions, not when I need spiritual encouragement.  I look to it for information, not inspiration.  I was surprised, then, when I recently stumbled upon a lovely little phrase.  The Triduum, it said, is that “to which all leads and from which all flows.”  The Triduum’s power and beauty, it seemed, had seeped into even the dullest, driest texts.

The Triduum, according to the Catholic tradition, refers to the three holy days before Easter.  It begins with sunset on Holy Thursday and ends at sunset on Holy Saturday.  It commemorates the Last Supper and the lengthy Passion, and it concludes as the celebration of the resurrection begins.  

For Christians, these events are truly “to which all leads and from which all flows.”  Each of them reveals a different component of Christ’s identity and our salvation.

The power and beauty of these events can seep into the driest, darkest, and dirtiest of hearts.  It can revive them.  It can restore them.  It can resurrect them.

After forty long days of Lent, I am eagerly anticipating the Triduum.  I am looking forward to meditating on these sacred events.  On each day of the Triduum, I will post a short reflection here on the blog.  I invite you to join me to more fully experience and embrace these highest holy days.

As that dry reference book stated, the events surrounding Christ’s dying and rising are “to which all leads and from which all flows.”  They are the core of our faith, and their commemoration can revive our faith.  My hope is that, come Easter Sunday, we will all better appreciate not just the power and beauty of these events but the power and beauty of our God.

The Radical Relief of Repentance

pexels-photo-54566Today, millions of men and women around the world will begin preparing for Easter by celebrating Ash Wednesday.  Christians from both the Catholic and Protestant traditions will line up to hear the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” They will close their eyes as the minister scratches a cross of ashes onto their foreheads. They will acknowledge their weakness and ask God’s forgiveness.

As anyone who has ever celebrated Ash Wednesday can likely attest, the service is surprisingly popular.  Its appeal, I think, lies in its counter-cultural message.  It shares with us a truth that we are desperate to hear.  It tells us that the God who created and controls the universe is good.  It tells us that the world does not rest on our shoulders alone.  It tells that we are unconditionally loved.

Modern American culture, as described by David Brooks in Bobos in Paradise, tells us something different.  It rewards us according to our accomplishments.  It values us according to our achievements.  Any failures can be catastrophic.  Failures don’t just threaten our social or professional standing; they threaten our very identity and dignity. The result is a generation of men and women low on self-worth and high on anxiety.

As Ash Wednesday attests, however, there is room for imperfection in the Christian tradition.  In fact, there is an assumption of imperfection.  

Ash Wednesday is a reminder that no accomplishment or failure can add to or subtract from our God-given worth.  

For those of us caught up in the relentless pursuit of perfection, Ash Wednesday offers immense and immediate relief.  We can to admit our shortcomings without risking our dignity.  We can confess our sins without losing God’s love.  

Acknowledging our weakness and asking for forgiveness does not mire us in guilt.  It washes us in grace.  

Repentance, as epitomized in Ash Wednesday, does not destroy; it heals.

The Ash Wednesday service I attended at noon today was crowded.  People were packed in the pews, standing and squeezed into the foyer.  Some were in suits.  Some in police uniforms.  Some in scrubs.  People of various ages, of various races.  All burdened by the pursuit of perfection.  All worried their worth was lost.  All seeking salvation from their sins.  And, in one voice they echoed the words of the Psalmist, “have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love.”

Amen.

 

Hosea and the Truth about the Love of God

Hosea is one of my favorite hymns… and one of my least favorite books of the Bible.

The hymn, by Gregory Norbet, is a short and sweet folk song with the beautiful refrain: Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.  When I sing those words, I imagine the Lord inviting, imploring me to return to His open arms.  

The biblical book, however, is much more complicated.  The promise of reconciliation, which the hymn highlights, is buried under a litany of psychologically and physically violent threats.  Certain passages are difficult and painful to read and process.  

This jarring juxtaposition, however, reminds us that the love of God, while unconditional, is not for the lighthearted.  He calls us not to a superficial but a serious relationship.

The Truth About the Love of God_1

The Book of Hosea centers around a rough analogy.  Hosea represents God and Hosea’s wife, Gomer, represents the people of God.  Just as Hosea and Gomer are bound by their marital vows, God and His people are bound by their vows at Sinai.  Gomer, like the people of God, commits one infidelity after another.  Gomer’s infidelities include sleeping with other men.  Our infidelities include worshiping false idols.  Hosea and God, having been betrayed, threaten various, violent punishments.  

These punishments, for all of their ugliness, stress just how deeply God desires a faithful relationship with us.  God is not the kinda-sorta boyfriend who forgets to text you, who delays meeting your parents, who dates other people.  God is the serious boyfriend who throws rocks at your window, who sends flowers to your office, who picks you up from the airport because he hates when you go away.  This is not a casual relationship.  This is a head-over-heels, Facebook-official, put-a-ring-on-it relationship.

Even in our most serious relationships, however, we have moments when we distance ourselves.  We doubt, we pull back, we question, we hesitate.  The responsibility of a serious relationship seems too demanding.  The vulnerability seems too dangerous.  

The Book of Hosea understands this.  It knows that human relationships are marked by periods of intensity and intimacy; of disinterest and distance.  Accordingly, the book does not follow a nice and neat linear structure.  It does not simply show Hosea and Gomer falling in love, falling apart, and then reconciling and recommitting.  Instead, it is a roller-coaster of highs and lows, sins and sorry’s, betrayal and reconciliation.  It’s not a straightforward story line, but it is a realistic relationship.

My own relationship with God has been similarly tumultuous.  Sometimes, I wander away and then make a beeline back.  Other times, I storm off in anger and then  return not so much out of desire but out of duty.  Each time, God welcomes me back.  Yes, with open arms.  Yes, with forgiveness.  But, not without acknowledging His disappointment in my distance, not without challenging me to come closer.

My favorite hymn is not wrong in singing: Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.  

God is, indeed, waiting for our return.  The biblical book reminds us, however, that His wait is marked by passion, not patience.

And, God, indeed, does offers us a new life in relationship with Him.  The book reminds us, however, that relationship with God demands responsibility, vulnerability, and fidelity.

I still cringe when I read certain parts of the Book of Hosea.  Not only because some of the language is disturbing and shocking.  But, also because I am keenly aware that I have so frequently distanced myself from a God who loves me, who desires me, who cares for me.

So, in the words of Hosea, “Come, let us return to the Lord” (6:1).

 

A Lesson in Political Discourse from Psalm 19

A Lesson in Politics from Psalm 19_1

The house is squeaky, shiny, eerily clean.  All the clothes are washed (even the scarves that required hand-washing and line-drying).  The floors are swept and the bathrooms scrubbed (even the stubborn stone in the shower).  Everything for the dog is washed and brushed (even the dog’s bed, the dog’s blanket, and, of course, the dog).    

As is to be expected these days, I blame President Trump.  

No, no, I kid.  Well, sort of.  Let me explain.  

Some of my loved ones voted for Clinton; some of my loved ones voted for Trump; some of my loved ones abstained from voting.  In the months leading up to the election, I had lots of difficult conversations.  Then, in the months following the election, I had even more difficult conversations.  Unsurprisingly, the events including and surrounding the Inauguration have filled me with a wild nervous energy.  Surprisingly, that energy has erupted into a mad cleaning frenzy.  Armed with those classic chemical weapons known as Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, and Bona, I’ve spent full days attacking the dust, the dirt, and, of course, the dog hair.  

As I wage my war, I fret frantically about the future of our country, the future of the church, the future of my relationships, and the future of this blog.  How should I respond personally?  How should I respond professionally?  These questions ran round in my mind a few afternoons ago, as I attacked some stubborn soap scum in the shower.  Then new words wandered, unbidden, unexpected, into my mind: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

A Lesson in Politics from Psalm 19_3

I imagine I heard this concluding verse of Psalm 19 throughout my childhood.  Not until seminary, however, did it work its way deep into my memory.  Some of my peers and professors prayed the verse before every sermon, and I suppose, over time, it started to stick.  And then, on that afternoon a few days ago, as I inhaled the noxious fumes of Scrubbing Bubbles, the verse surfaced again.

Its reappearance seemed timely.  I was anxiously wondering what to feel, what to think, what to say about recent political events.  Could there be a more important time to pray that my words and thoughts and emotions “be acceptable to you, O Lord?”

When I consider this verse, I linger on that vague word “acceptable.”  Surely, it cannot mean only saying nice things in a sweet voice.  Nor can it mean only saying disruptive things in a loud voice.  It must mean saying certain words in a certain tone at a certain time.  It must mean crafting all our words with care, prayer, and charity.  It is a simple verse, but a complicated task.

Fortunately, Psalm 19 offers us more than this singular verse.  It describes how God communicates to us through creation: “Day unto day pours forth speech/ Night unto night whispers knowledge.”  It describes what God communicates to us, emphasizing the beauty and benefits of His will: “The law of the Lord is perfect,/ refreshing the soul.”  The Psalmist asks for assistance in listening to and adhering to God’s law.  The Psalmist asks for pardon when we fail to follow God’s will.  And only then does the Psalmist offer that beautiful prayer that “the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable.”  This lovely prayer, which I heard during the introduction of so many sermons, is actually a conclusion.  Only after reflecting on how and what God has communicated with us can we hope to acceptably communicate with others.

A Lesson in Politics from Psalm 19_4

There are more difficult conversations ahead.  There will be more words, more thoughts, more feelings.  Some moments will call for compromise and compassion.  Some for righteous anger and resolution.  Some for silence.  

To discern between those moments, I pray the words of the psalmist, of my peers, and of my professors.  I pray that both the content and the delivery of my words bring us closer to wisdom and peace, rather than dissension and fear.  

There are, of course, moments when I know that my words, my thoughts, and my feelings are unacceptable.  I reflect on the Republicans or Democrats or executive orders or Cabinet nominations, and I fill with bitterness, pettiness, and spite.  In those moments, my reactions and responses do not embody the radical love and law of God.  So, I grab my cleaning supplies and pull on my rubber gloves.  I scrub the shower tiles and I repeat again and again, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

The Importance of Silence in the Political Process

The Importance of Silence in the Political ProcessI was born and raised on the Virginia-side of the DC metro area.  Since moving away a few years ago, my love affair with the Capital City has only intensified.  So, in late 2015, when the presidential primaries started up in earnest, I dove eagerly into the election news cycle.  I listened to the 538 podcast on my Monday evening commute.  I raced home from Sunday Mass to catch Meet the Press.  I inhaled the local features of the Tampa Bay Times and went down the rabbit hole of the Washington Post (because if you don’t get it, you don’t get it).  

At first, I loved being constantly surrounded by the sights and sounds of home.  But, as 2016 stretched on, I became disappointed (and nauseated) by many of the candidates and commentators.  Rather than abstaining from the news, however, I kept drinking it in.  I read more, listened more, watched more.  I searched frantically for some wisdom that would tell me what to think and what to do.  

Clarity never came.

The Importance of Silence in the Political Process

So, in the days following November 8th, I began tuning out.  My fast from political news was neither intentional nor pious.  I simply started turning off my podcasts and commuting in silence.  At home, I switched out NPR for Christmas music.  I put the newspapers directly into the recycling bin and began re-reading Harry Potter.  Only after I shut off all the noise did I realize how malnourished my gluttonous media consumption had left me.  I could not think straight, much less speak thoughtfully, much less act faithfully.

Edward Schillebeeckx once wrote that, “Without prayer or mysticism politics soon becomes cruel and barbaric; without political love [and action], prayer or mysticism soon becomes sentimental or uncommitted interiority.” 

You don’t need me to tell you that America’s political discourse has, in many ways, become cruel and barbaric.  Last November, as I tuned out of the constant news cycle, I realized that I, too, had become cruel and barbaric.  Rather than listening graciously, I assumed the worst of every voice on Facebook, Fox, NPR, or NBC.  Rather than looking for points of agreement, I looked for holes in logic or shortfalls in empathy.  Rather than thoughtfully considering the opinions of others, I envied and resented their certainty.  I spent so much time listening to all the voices on the radio and the TV and the Internet that I forgot to listen for the voice of God.   

The Importance of Silence in the Political Process

As the Inauguration of our 45th president fast-approaches, the voices are multiplying. Everyone, it seems, is eager to tell us what to think and what to do.  I am trying, however, to begin in silence.  To begin in prayer. I am trying to seek the still, small voice of God before listening – much less adding – to the many voices of man.  I am trying find that sweet spot between prayer and politics.  I am trying to navigate that tight wire between Christian and citizen.  I am trying to be neither sentimental nor cruel. And, I am hoping that, in the sacred silence, I will finally be able to make sense of – and peace with – all the voices.

Finding Real Hope After A False Start

 

Finding Real Hope After A False StartAs it does every year, the New Year begins with an ending.  Later tonight, just a few miles away from our house in Tampa, Clemson and Alabama will conclude the college football season with the National Championship. College football is a tradition (religion?) in the South; and, on each Saturday throughout the fall, Sean and I routinely (faithfully?) woke up with ESPN, carefully followed the midday games, and fell asleep to the West Coast match-up.  

During one such weekend, as I sorted laundry in front of the TV, I heard an announcer bemoan a false start penalty.  “Oh geez,” he said in that smooth, southern voice, “we’ve got another false start here.”  As any football fan knows, the all-too-common false start takes place in the few seconds after the players line up on the field but before they start moving the ball.  According to the NCAA’s Rule 7, improperly flexing your elbows, dipping your buttocks, or twitching your thumbs can earn you a false start flag.  When I half-heard that announcer call the false start, however, what came to my mind had nothing to do with dipping buttocks.  Instead, I imagined that deep drawl commentating not on a football game but on my life.  

Finding Real Hope After A False Start

 

All of us, I imagine, have committed false starts.  In relationships.  At work.  With health and finances.  This blog is perhaps my most notable false start.  When I started it last summer, I had such good intentions and grand plans.  My reasons for not continuing with it are many, but, for now, I’ll just say that, while I knew the play, I lacked the skill and the stamina to carry it out. Before long, I felt like I had failed too greatly to begin again.  That announcer’s misplaced commentary, however, broke through the failure I felt, and something finally, mercifully, clicked.  

You don’t lose a game because of a false start.  The guilty player doesn’t get thrown off the field.  The team loses five yards.  Only five – out of one hundred – yards!  They don’t even lose the chance to make the play again; they just make the same play five yards away.  Football fans, don’t hate me.  I’m not belittling the potential damage of multiple false starts.  I’m just saying: don’t confuse a false start with a full stop.  It’s not the end of the game.  It’s just the beginning of the play.

So, I’m going to give it another go.  I am five yards (and about a year) farther from the goal line, but I have a renewed sense of humility and hope.  

Here’s the good news: last year, the University of Alabama made 6.5 penalties, including false starts, PER game and they STILL won the National Championship.  Our lives may be full of false starts, but they are also full of grace.  

And, here’s more good news: after losing to Alabama 40 to 45 in last year’s National Championship, Clemson will play Alabama again in tonight’s Championship.  They earned a second chance.  

Finding Real Hope After A False Start

 

At first glance, the New Year appears like an appropriate time to look back on our false starts. Upon further reflection, however, the New Year seems more like an appropriate time to consider that moment after the false start.  The players jog back onto the field, find their place in the formation and dig in their cleats.  They hunch their backs, clench their thighs, bow their heads, touch their fingertips to the turf, and then hold perfectly, breathlessly still for those few sacred seconds.  Only then do they snap the ball and begin again.  After all, the false start is just the penalty.  The second chance is the prize.

(Holy) Water, Water Everywhere

The water is everywhere in Tampa.  A wide river winds through the city, slipping by skyscrapers and McMansions.  Brief bridges span the little inlets and lakes scattered throughout the city and suburbs.  The big bay stretches to the horizon, and, just beyond it, the cities of Clearwater and Saint Petersburg stand tall and proud before the Gulf.  There, the sand is white, the sun hot, the water cool, and the daiquiris delicious.

Holy Water, Water Everywhere

And, yet, I am always forgetting about the water.  Even though it surrounds me as I run errands, commute to work, and go out to dinner, I forget about it.  I don’t enjoy it or appreciate it or even notice it enough.  Instead, I get distracted and then consumed by the anxious voices in my head.  I worry about money (how will I ever pay off my student loans?!?!) and housework (what if we buy the wrong chair for the guest room?!?!) and health (am I getting enough folic acid?!?!) and family (I should call my Grammy more often) and friends (I need to mail that bridal shower gift) and so on and on and on and so forth.

These are not frivolous concerns; family and finances and health and home are important.  They deserve serious attention.  They do not, however, deserve compulsive worrying, and my anxiety surrounding them ultimately hurts more than it helps.  The concerns clutter my mind, like towering stacks of old magazines, appliance manuals, and campaign leaflets.  They pile up and stand between me and the water.  I can’t see or hear, much less feel, the waves, even when they’re lapping at my feet.

(Holy) Water, Water Everywhere

 

***

So it is also with the divine.  Revelations of the divine are everywhere in our daily lives.  They, like the water, wind through the world.  A long conversation with an old friend.  A good book.  A beautiful song.  A breath-taking sunrise.  A life-giving sunset.  A hot cup of coffee on a cold, early morning.  Dare I say a frozen strawberry daiquiri on a hot, humid day?

(Holy) Water, Water Everywhere

 

None of these things are to be seen, much less worshipped, as God Himself.  Rather, they are simply examples or perhaps even proofs of God’s ever-present grace and love.  In the words of the Andrew Greeley, they are “the Holy lurking in creation.”

These revelations surround me, but my worries prevent me from seeing or hearing, much less feeling, them.  Instead, I repeatedly echo the Psalmist, asking, “why, Lord, do you stand afar and pay no heed in times of trouble?” (10:1) or begging, “do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress” (102:3).  Here I am surrounded by water and God, but I feel dry and deserted.  Here I am talking with friends, reading books, listening to music, and watching the sunrise and still I shriek, “How long, Lord?  Will you hide forever?” (89:47).

These, of course, are not frivolous questions.  Oftentimes, (and sometimes it seems like every time), God does not provide the help I request in the manner and time in which I request it.  He has not, for example, clarified exactly how I should pay off my student loans.  Nor has She enabled me to effortlessly remember to make time to call my Grammy.  As the Psalmist indicates, there will always be times when God, and even that divine grace and love, feel incredibly distant.  Those times, however, seem less frequent for me when I see my loved ones and lovely things as revelations of the divine.

All those colorful sunsets and good books and best friends are reminders that God is not hidden.  God does not stand afar.  God does not hide His face.  Even when we hear only our own anxious voices, God is still speaking to us.  Even when we see only our own problems, God is still appearing to us.  Even when we feel only our own fears, God is still present with us.  Just like the waves lapping at our feet.

Holy Water, Water Everywhere

Welcome

Welcome to my little piece of the Internet!  I like to imagine it as a bright room with several open windows with pale sunlight and a warm wind slipping in.  The walls are painted Pottery Barn blue, and there are fresh-cut flowers on the coffee table.  The air smells slightly of spice cake, the kind with raisins and cream cheese frosting.  Please, take off your shoes, have a seat on the sofa, can I get you anything?  Water?  Coffee?  Diet Coke?  Wine?

Welcome to Faith, Hope, Love, and Wine

I want to ask you all about your job, your family, your recent trip to Costa Rica.  And, after a few minutes of chatter, you inquire, so sweetly, so kindly, about the cake.  Well, I giggle, the cake is not quite ready.  Actually, it is nowhere close to being done.  I haven’t even started mixing the frosting yet.  Haha.  And I selected a recipe that has two frostings, one for in between the layers and one for the outside.  I know!  It was a crazy ambitious move!  I thought I had more time.  Or, rather, I knew exactly how much time I had, because I am constantly checking the clock, but I underestimated the time it would take to measure the ingredients and preheat the oven and run to the grocery store for the raisins.  So, I hope you have a few hours to sit and chat and laugh and cry, because, yeah, if we’re being honest, the cake went into the oven about two seconds before you reached my piece of the Internet and after it bakes we have to wait for it cool before we can divide it into layers and frost it.  Which reminds me, have you ever frosted the sides of a layered cake?  That sounds kinda difficult, but I’m sure we can figure it out.  We’re smart girls.  We know how to read directions and watch YouTube tutorials.  We’ll do just fine.  I’m so glad you came over.  These things, all things, are so much more enjoyable with a friend.

The sunny room on the Internet might be in my imagination, but this story is straight from real life.  January first of this year, actually.  My husband and I had friends over for a college bowl game and I waited until they arrived to start making desert.  It was actually a pie that, to my surprise, was supposed to chill overnight.  They were good friends with good manners, so they ate it half-congealed.  Lesson learned.  I wish I could tell you that I handled the whole fiasco with the grace of the amazing women who’ve gone before me, but that’s not true.  Thanks to my ever-present anxiety, it took me exactly 25 days to clean out the pie plate, which sat patiently in the freezer, half-eaten and then, completely freezer-burnt.

Fear not.  This is not a cleaning blog or a cooking blog.  I won’t (be able to) tell you how to effortlessly throw a dinner party or get your dream job or solve AIDS in Africa, even though I care very deeply about all those things.  Instead, this is a blog in which I try to hold myself accountable to a new way of living.  After a lifetime of struggling with anxiety and flirting with depression, I want to practice seeing and appreciating the holy in everything.  I believe that God reveals His grace to us every second of the day, if only we have the lens through which to spot it.  I believe that God is providing us with answers to the most perplexing problems of our day, if only we are tuned into Her frequency.

WelcomeI’m by no means the first or the last to embark on this lifestyle.  The Jesuits refer to it as being “a contemplative in action” or “armchair mysticism.”  There is a long line of saints behind us who tapped into the spirit outside the sanctuary, who regarded their entire lives as liturgy.  This blog is part of my humble effort to do the same.  I’d be honored for you to join me on the journey as we try to see the Holy One in wonderfully new ways in our incredibly ordinary lives.

And, if you stick around long enough, we might both just might get a piece of cake.

Welcome

 

Scroll To Top