We sleep eight hours straight. No one wakes us. I rise on my own to soft sunlight, hearing birdsong. No hungry cries. I drink a glass of wine with dinner. I eat whatever I want. I never throw up. Spicy food makes no baby fussy. We didn't have to buy a new car. Or rearrange the boys' bedrooms. I spend Saturday at the coffee shop, evenings at yoga. I never have to time my plans to nurse a newborn. I get to spend a week writing at one of my favorite places on the planet. I am diving deep into a book project I have long wanted to finish. I have all the hours I need, the company of colleagues, the prayer of monks, delicious meals, long walks in summer woods, peace and quiet. I have all these things that at some point I desperately wanted. . . . Ever since I read my friend Christie's wise, rich words on grief and loss, I have been turning her phrases over and over in my head: Once, I was confident that our good God never causes the bad thing that is pain. But I … [Read more...] about to have and have not
Today I got to share our Waiting in the Word Advent Study on Relevant Radio's Morning Air! (Here's the link to the show if you missed it - I'm on for the 1st half hour.) As part of our conversation about preparing for the season of Advent, I mentioned that a few years ago, I decided to make some Advent CDs for our family. One benefit of having fellow theological nerds on Facebook is that when I asked for favorite Advent hymns, I was flooded with suggestions from liturgist friends from graduate school. I took their advice to heart, grabbed a bunch of tracks from iTunes, and voila - an instant Advent album for our family! Advent has such beautiful hymns that can get lost in the endless blaring of "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Winter Wonderland." So I'm always looking for new ways to keep Advent music alive in our home (and car drives). In the past few years we've added a few favorite albums to our Advent collection. The kids love "Gentle Night" from the St. Louis Jesuits, … [Read more...] about Advent music: what’s your favorite?
My mother sang while hanging clothes The notes weren't perfect, heaven knows Yeah, but heaven opened anyway This I knew was true ~ Carrie Newcomer, "Leaves Don't Drop (They Just Let Go)" It was a year ago that I spent hours listening to her music in the kitchen. Swirling my hands through streams of soapy water as I washed bowl after bowl, pot after pot. Putting up the summer harvest was part of my healing after losing the baby. Doing something concrete for my family. Saving something good from the soured summer. Looking ahead to a time when it all might not hurt so much. I blanched brimming bowls of beans. I cut corn from piles of cobs. I stirred so many pots of soup and sauce, all of it spooned into bags and stacked into the basement freezer. With love, I suppose, but also longing. For what was and what wasn't and how I had no control over any of it. So for weeks I listened to Carrie's albums on repeat: gentle, soothing, pulling me away from myself. There was so much light and … [Read more...] about a summer of paradox
The boys and I have been playing lots of piano lately. (Or I should say: I play while one bounces on my lap and the other bangs on the bass or slams on the treble, depending on his inspired accompaniment.) During the day we play all the old favorites, the childhood standbys: This Old Man, The Itsy-Bitsy Spider, every tune Woody Guthrie ever dreamed up. The toe-tapping, hand-clapping, doesn't-matter-if-mama-messes-up-that-key-change-we're-rolling music that I always dreamed would come when we had a piano in the house. But at night, after the winter sky sinks dark and the boys are wrapped in bed, I've been sneaking down to play alone. Foot pressed down on the damper pedal so I don't wake them, I settle into my own old favorites: the Beethoven and Mozart of high school, the Rachmaninoff and Chopin of college. A practice equal parts delightful and frustrating; nothing so humbling as seeing how quickly skill slips away without careful attention. If I want to sit down and race through a … [Read more...] about lentissimo