Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I feel you in the wind. It licks my face and I hear your laughter. I feel your mischief. Unpredictable. Invisible.  Exhilerating. You play with me. You dance with me. I can’t help but open my arms sometimes, trying to fly, trying to surrender.

I feel you in the sky. Light or dark, I feel so small against it. I feel your peace. Enormous. Expansive. Mysterious. You shine on me. You smile on me. I can’t help but open my arms out sometimes, trying to embrace it all, trying to surrender.

I feel you in the light. It caresses my skin and reveals the world anew. I feel your vigor, your energy. Illuminating. Nurturing. Alive. You carry me. You reach out to me. I can’t help but open my arms sometimes, trying to reach back, trying to surrender.

Why do you care? Why do you surround me, fill me, move me with love? Why did you carefully craft my heartbeat, paint my cheeks with dots from your finger, breathe life into my swaying limbs? Why did you tenderly form the jagged leaves, fill the scattered blades of grass with light, kiss the edge of the world with the sunset? Why did you color us with the clay, destine us for greatness, give us everything we needed and more? 

Why do we turn away?

Your love shines all around us. In the wind, the sky, the light. In the faces of those we encounter, in the art of those who create, in the work of those who serve, in the majesty of the human condition—when we share, when we sacrifice, when we forgive.

You are in our deepest desires, our wildest dreams, our hearts. You are the reason we open them so wide sometimes, sharing our desires and dreams and hearts with others. Sharing ourselves.

You are the reason we encounter, create and serve—the reason we share, sacrifice, and forgive. You are the reason we breathe and live and move. The reason we give of ourselves. You are the reason we love.

Help us to feel you. Help us to see you. Help us to give you these wild dreams and desires, to trust, to forgive, to love, to heal. Help us to surrender.

Because when we surrender, we fly. When we surrender, we embrace all. When we surrender, we reach back.

I feel you in the wind, the sky, the light.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dear Washington DC: Here's to false first-impressions

Dear D.C.,

I didn't think much of you before moving to your coast. You were the land of pressed suits that melted in sticky humidity and young people who took themselves too seriously--a swamp of cutthroats, over-achievers, politicians, charismatic charmers...and mosquitos. There would be too many wannabe mature young adults, not enough wrinkled, weathered wisdom. There would be too much politics, not enough understanding, too much chatter, not enough silence, too many masks, not enough vulnerability. And your humidity? I had left that for four years, enjoying months of "good hair days" in Northern California. My fro had been tamed, thank you. Yet you landed in my lap, like a cat, and all I could do was go along with it. And buy more gel.

Dear D.C.: I was wrong.

You showed me another world. One that could be reached by brisk walks or squeaky varieties of public transit. One that had a color and scent for every season, coming at just the right time and revealing something more magical than the one before. One with free museums and art and monuments and baseball.

I skipped along your river. I marveled at your marble face. I cried in your shows and concerts. I danced to the jazz in your gardens.  I gazed at your weathered parchment and rotunda, felt small against your spangled banner, grasped your monument from my office window.

I walked on your mall in the daylight, visiting museums and participating in the occasional march. I played on your mall at sunset, hitting balls at passing cars. I sat on your mall at twilight--drinking tea and discussing life.

Just when I thought, D.C., that I had already known and experienced joy, that I had traveled and seen so much of the world, that I had enough beauty in my life to last me a lifetime, you one-upped me. You gave me more.

You gave me fireflies that trumped the mosquitos, blossoms that outgrew the bare trees, crisp sunrises outshining the darkness, love from friends that could bring me to my knees.

So thank you, D.C. I guess I owe you one.


p.s. I miss you

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dear friend--follow your path

               “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” -Maori Proverb

Dear friend,

I think your decision is beautiful. There's not much more I can say, but it's true. And actually, I don't think--I know. It's beautiful. And I just wanted to let you know. Your discernment astounds me. Your reflection inspires me. Your sacrifice sustains me.

We're all on this path together. And your decision about your future just affirms that. I've only "known" you for a little while, but I know you through our God--He is the lens through which I see you, the hook on which our painting is hung. It's powerful--sharing the love of our Maker, both on the narrow path towards Him, though in different ways. Isn't it beautiful, too? That we can reach Him in different ways? This does not detract from His glory, or from our own victory. Rather, it deepens it. It celebrates. It complements. And in doing so, we become who we really are.

So cheers to you, friend, for being on your path. It may seem bumpy, it may seem winding, it may have potholes and blockades. You'll get through them, not on your own, but with our help, with His help. Know you're never alone, even if it feels that way sometimes. You've got a long journey ahead of you. This is just the beginning of a new beginning. And you carry a lot of baggage with you, like the rest of us do. Toss the unnecessary stuff to the wayside, but never forget who and what made you who you are. Ask for directions if you need them. Stop at a rest stop too. Practice gratitude. Look at the flowers growing on the side of your path, look at the sunlight guiding you. In the dark, tiptoe on the light of the stars, skip in the glow of the moonlight.

Let us know how the road is. Send us a postcard every now and then. Drop some candy for us to follow and find. Invite us on some of the journey with you. Let us know when you need to be alone. We can't walk your path for you, but we can offer water when you need it, a shoulder to rest on, a laugh or smile to lighten your load.

We're here for you, beautiful friend. And we're proud of you.

Go get em'


true holiness

"True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; 
rather, it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life." 

 -Bl. John Paul II

Monday, June 3, 2013


My eyes look suspiciously at the creamer in our work fridge. I miss the thickness of the unpasteurized milk on the island.

I would have fed Claire and her calf that morning after Lauds, only once finding a garden snake in the fresh hay. I would have fed the Highlands after the dairy cows, giving them occasional pieces of sliced bread as a treat. They would forget their pride in those moments and come galloping towards the plastic bag I shook at them. They would be one of the last things I would see from my window as the sun descended over the 300 acre farm, basking in the golden glow and munching on fresh grass.

Claire's milk would be earthy and sweet--like the food I had fed her hours before. It would be delivered in the form of a small, denim clad nun at around 9pm every few days. It would pair well with Monster cookies, snickerdoodles and cereal.

Her milk would be a marvel. It would come to my glass because of delicate collaboration--man and beast--woman and caramel colored dairy cow. Watching Mother Therese or Mother Dilecta wring out milk from Claire's udders would be sacred. I would fear disrupting the magic with my wide, unblinking eyes.

Claire's milk would have left it's line on my upper lip most mornings and evenings. I would be like a child, wiping my mouth on my dirty work sleeve.

There we would be, Claire and I, sustaining one another.

Man and beast--spunky kid and gentle cow--we sustain one another.