Dorothy has an orange tree in her back yard
Ripe and ready last week
The tree groans and shrugs under the weight of full, ripe, juice-running-down-fingers oranges pulling nutrients from within her aged spine of a trunk
A giving tree.
Loving our neighbors means sharing our oranges
Because when we have an abundance of fruit, why let it go sour in our back yards?
Dorothy loves her neighbors
Dorothy is a sweet orange
And her sweetness extends beyond the last morsel of citrus – there is always more, and next year the tree will be full again
Sharing the sweetness of our gifts is not a rotten pursuit
Dear future partner,
We haven’t met yet, or maybe we have and time wasn’t ready.
We need to talk. Now. Before I fall in love with you, before you fall in love with me.
Because I don’t want my disease to cause you to leave me.
Too often I see sad posts in online support communities for severe disease groups. Like this one:
“My spouse just asked for a divorce after 25 years of marriage. She said she could no longer handle being married to my condition. I work full time, I do chores, I am a great partner and parent. I just can’t hide when I’m having such bad pain. I feel so alone. Can someone share how they got through this? How can I be in another relationship if I know my disease could cause someone to leave?”
These posts wrench my stomach. I cry, “Another one?” And I have two reactions: hope and fear. Continue reading A Marriage of Sickness and Health
Dear human family,
This past Sunday before church, a child in the pew behind me asked his mother why there was purple cloth over the cross. She said,
“Um, well that probably has something to do with the fact that it’s Lent.”
His mother and I both struggled with the proper words to explain Lent. Neither of us used Jesus language. We didn’t say that Lent is a somber period of time prior to Jesus being murdered and then resurrected three days later. We didn’t talk about Satan testing Jesus in the desert for 40 days. Instead, we explained that we cover crosses as a reminder to be introspective and thoughtful during the time before Easter. I offered that it’s a time to think about how we can make ourselves better people and the world a better place. Afterwards I thought about how, instead of filling this child’s head with jargon that he may remember but not understand, we sought to explain Lent in terms that anyone can understand – Christian or not, kid or adult, politician or constituent. This child can grow up and be or become who or whatever he feels called to be, whether that happens to be Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Wiccan, Agnostic, or Atheist. The list goes on.
I realize Christians, especially Episcopalians, do things that sometimes appear silly, even to ourselves. We drape crosses in purple fabric. Swing incense. Smear ashes on our foreheads. Drink wine or grape juice and call it Jesus’ blood. Yet, these symbolic or theological rites that have been in practice for millennia have powerful meanings that carry great significance in our spiritual journeys. Yet, I argue, it isn’t our rites that make us Christian, but our hearts. And we all have hearts no matter our religious identities. Continue reading The Human Family Is Bigger Than Religion
Underneath all the layers
A girl sits
To find a smile on her shoulder
The mirror tells her so
It does seem odd
Amid the haunted laughter of her mother
To see a smile there