Wherever they are, they have traveled far. Not at home, known and comfortable. Not on the road, exhausted from the journey. Arrived but unsettled. No room in the expected places, no welcome in the usual way. Whatever they expect, they can only imagine. Preparation leads to prayer's edge: picturing what might be, trusting what could come, unknowing until inhabited. They have seen the shift to parenthood from outside, but never for themselves. They cannot know until they arrive. However she feels, today is the last day like this. Feeling his kicks and squirms, marveling at the stretch of her skin, carrying the heaviest weight her body will hold. Tomorrow will bring transformation for both of them. Whatever she knows, control is not hers. Mysterious forces guide birth, and his will be the most sacred. Turns out the baby's lungs trigger labor, the pneuma within us, the Spirit wanting to breathe. However tomorrow looks, it will turn upside down. Scripture does not mention a … [Read more...] about the day before Christmas
The told story is not the whole story. We tend to grasp onto moments as the whole. In a culture obsessed with tiny tweets and shiny surfaces, it's easier to outrage or comfort ourselves with sound bytes that echo the thoughts between our ears, daily dulling our curiosity. We take the smallest sliver for the encompassing everything. But look closer. Deeper. Longer. What you see or hear or read is never the whole story. We hear this exhortation to empathy often now, in our dealings with loved ones and strangers alike. To remember that so much hides below the surface, that you never know the depths of another's struggles. But every story holds this same mystery. Take one small line from Scripture. Did you ever notice that Mary and Elizabeth spent a whole trimester together? The Visitation was not a mere afternoon or a split second of joy. It lasted three long months. Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. (Luke 1:56) A single … [Read more...] about the whole story
When we were dating, then engaged, then married, I used to catch a glimpse of him and think—God, please send us daughters. Because I had never met a man like him, so strong and gentle all at once, so humble and quietly confident, so genuinely kind and caring. I watched how he treated his mother, his sister, his friends, and me. And I knew—with all the women who suffer father wounds, who never learn that they deserve to be treated with respect by every single man they meet—that we were meant to have daughters. That he would be so good to them. That he would leave such a legacy of love to build them up for a world driven to diminish their worth. Then God gave us a boy. And another. And another. Then we were going to have two girls—two!—but they went home to God as quickly as they were here. And then we had another boy. Now we are having another son. I realized I was wrong about raising daughters. Not that it wouldn’t have been amazing, … [Read more...] about another, again, anew
A beloved theology professor of mine in college used to start each class with a simple prayer, repeating, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). One line spoken slowly, one word dropped each time until there was only "be." Years later, a favorite writing teacher did the same during a week-long workshop. Let us pause each day to breathe into the spaces between the words. I took their wisdom to heart, prayed these lines with children and adults. Always searching for more Scripture that can be stair-stepped with perfect simplicity. Now I've found another. . . . Beloved, we are God's children now. (1 John 3:2) The first Scripture I ever memorized, for an all-school Mass. The first time I ever got to proclaim the Word, second grade if memory serves. White mimeographed reading pasted onto construction paper. I had to yank the microphone all the way down and perch on pink saddle-shoed tip-toes, and even then I could barely see over the ambo. But the thrill … [Read more...] about beloved. be loved.