RESOURCES

FINDING A SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR

If you are interested in meeting with a trained spiritual director, please contact us and we will send some information and contact information for you. Ordinarily a spiritual director receives an honorarium or donation for their services. Usually you will meet once a month with a spiritual director.

Below is more information about finding a spiritual director.

CFDM Book Review of "Prayer in the Night," by Tish Harrison Warren

Written by Rev. Jourdan Turner                                                                                                       

Tish Harrison Warren clings to the Episcopalian prayer practices of Compline in a season of her life full of darkness and grief.  She posits that the prayers of the church give shape and foundation to our prayers and faith especially in times we are feeling the most grief, loss or darkness.  They hold us together in God.  “Faith, I’ve come to believe, is more craft than feeling. And prayer is our chief practice in the craft.” (pg. 8)  Warren expounds on various sections of the compline prayer and what they might offer in our modern era as the words take on new meaning. 

“Keep Watch”— Warren speaks here of the importance of God’s presence, especially in the face of pain and suffering.  She suggests that God explaining Godself might not actually be what we want, rather perhaps we just long for God’s presence.  We trust God to “keep watch” with and for us.  “God does not take away our vulnerability.  He enters into it”.

“Those Who Weep”— In this section Warren suggests that grief is not so much a season as it is an ever-present reality in our lives.  Yes, there are moments of acute and major grief, but we are all carrying sadness and struggle in us all the time.  “It is a real and right response to our vulnerability.” (39)

“Those Who Work”— Warren reminds us that work is part of God’s good creation from the beginning.  And our work ties us together- we need each other, and we need others to do their work as we do ours.  Work makes us interdependent and gives us a place to contribute to the common good.  “Our shared human vulnerability calls us to action—to work.” (67)

The book goes on to explore the entirety of the prayer in beautiful, practical and profound ways.  This book is deeply meaningful and helpful as a human walking through a broken world with the paradigm of faith.  It gives voice and permission to things we feel in the human experience and allows us to humbly embrace them.  At the root of it all is vulnerability and fragility.  Warren presents these as realities rather than points of shame and in doing so we breathe a sigh of relief.  Even for those who grew up in  traditions that use extemporaneous prayers,  you may come to love the liturgy and pre-written prayers offered, as I did. The gift that these prayers  can offer from prayer books, the psalms, tradition or even our own writing us when we are beyond words.  Often, we are too tired, too sad, too lost, too shocked or hurt to find words.  These prayers offer the gift of words when we can’t find our own.  Like Warren, I have come to value the structure and tether that they consistently provide.  This kind of prayer practice helps me as I continue to dig up the fallacy that I have to “conjure up” God’s presence somehow.  They help me rest in the knowledge that God is already present.  She describes how these prayers helped her to be “held by God” rather than trying to hold on to God.

 

This book also provides great ground for understanding and practicing Spiritual Direction.  It seems to me that most people come to spiritual directors feelings some portion of their vulnerability.  Perhaps that is not how they would describe it, but it gives directees a framework for understanding their humanity and our own.  This is a good place to start and to create space as we sit in direction.  We perhaps can imagine ourselves in the position of “keeping watch” with a directee.  Not that we are God, but we can be present with people in their vulnerability as they present their grief (weeping) and work, suffering, joy, and identity.  It also helps to remember this from Warren, “categories of human vulnerability—the sick, weary, dying, suffering, afflicted, joyous—are clearly not little boxes that we fit neatly inside.” (10)  Warren suggests that they all blur together but we pray for them individually.    Warren offers a beautiful and helpful perspective on one prayer that offers a foundation of our understanding of ourselves, others and the shape and value of prayer itself.

__________________________________________________

A Book Review of "The Winding Path of Transformation: Finding Yourself Between Glory and Humility"

Jeffrey Tacklind

 

Review by Gini Downing

 

The Winding Path of Transformation is an invitation to think deeper, bigger, and broader, about life and faith and paradox.  Jeff Tacklind, a master storyteller, offers his life, his experiences, and his own questions to the reader as a gift.  One can almost imagine Tacklind sitting in a rustic chair by a fireplace, maybe even smoking a pipe.  As he considers a question, perhaps he blows a smoke ring or two, as he sifts through his experiences for just the right illustration to bring light to the conversation.  His eyes sparkle as he finds the memory he was searching for, and he begins the story.

Had I not met Jeff Tacklind prior to reading The Winding Path, I would have expected someone quite different – more like Gandalf, perhaps.  But no, Jeff is a young pastor of a small, unassuming church in a small beach community in Southern California.  In addition to pastoring his church, he is a devoted family man, a scholar, and a surfer.  And I am told he doesn’t smoke a pipe.  Even so, perhaps it is this conglomeration of abilities and passions that gives the book its character:  Gandalfian wisdom emanating from the pen of a long haired, bespectacled California wave-surfing preacher.  And in the context of this contradiction of terms, Tacklind is maybe uniquely situated to tackle some of the conundrums residing amidst the Christian walk of faith. 

Each chapter of The Winding Path invites the reader into the reality that the way of the Christ Follower is not a straight road.  Rather, the path is complicated.  Some of the subjects covered include the confluence of glory and humility, the importance and necessity of seasons of desolation, waiting and questioning, and the slow process of transformation in the midst of brokenness.  Tacklind uses rich metaphors and imagery of nature – of tree roots, rivers, and waves – to underscore the narrative.

The tension of being “in the world but not of the world” is itself an invitation into a larger way of thinking that encompasses not only our victories but our missteps as well.  With humility and vulnerability, Tacklind offers his own insecurities and missteps as an encouragement to those of us whose paths seem to be a series of trips and falls, but whose trajectories remain focused on the Christ we attempt to follow. 

In reading The Winding Path, you are not necessarily going to find answers.  Rather, you will be invited to stretch the borders of your understanding, to sit within the tension of paradox and gently dismantle the protective walls that have been constructed in self-preservation.  As Tacklind writes, we must not stay small.  Our hearts must enlarge.  And to that end, Tacklind offers questions to ponder.  Perspectives to consider.  Paradoxes and tensions to contemplate.  In fact, this is not a book just to be read – it is a book to be mulled over.

__________________________________________________

A Book Review of "Shades of Light"

 

I commend to our CFDM community the novel Shades of Light written by Sharon Garlough Brown. You may know this author from her Sensible Shoes series. This book is not part of that collection but a few of the characters from those stories are also present here. The main character in this story is Wren Crawford (already I liked her with that last name!) who is a social worker, an artist and a person who has endured anxiety and depression throughout her life. Wren is especially sensitive to the needs of others and to the suffering she sees in the world.

 

Sharon Garlough Brown has written an honest account of mental health issues which several of the people in this engaging story live with and struggle through. There is recognition that the easy solutions from Christian friends and co-workers often don’t help. Well intentioned phrases- “pray your way out of it”, “memorize more scripture”, “anxiety and depression are all about a lack of faith” hurt more than help. Fortunately Wren has a Pastor who knows how hard her journey is and who walks with her patiently, wisely, and lovingly. She has a good Therapist and ultimately medications which are beneficial.

 

In the Church we are coming to an increased awareness of mental illness and learning helpful ways of accompaniment. This novel describes how anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and panic attacks affect a person’s life. We see the difficulty of managing these and as we come to know the people in the story our compassion increases. We see the real struggle with darkness, fear and uncertainty as healing is sought from God and from mental health services.

 

There is a true picture of how families seek to understand and deal with a loved one who is suffering. We can identify with the desire to help and the sadness when we are not able to fix. There is theological wrestling with God in the midst of it: Why would God allow this suffering? Why is God not quick to heal? We see the power of the cross as witness to Jesus, our companion in sorrow.

 

Wren’s favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh. From an early age she has been inspired by his paintings and loves to read his letters to Theo, his brother. This connection to Van Gogh is a major theme throughout the story. Those of you who have read Learning from Henri Nouwen and Vincent Van Gogh (A Portrait of the Compassionate Life by Carol A. Berry) will be fully alert to Van Gogh’s influence on Wren. It is a great companion book to this one. Wren reflects on Vincent- “He had been a master at finding beauty in the ordinary, beauty in the suffering, beauty in the broken and the poor, in the wounded and the neglected, in the forgotten and the discarded. Vincent knew how to see.” (pg. 50)

 

For those of us who are pastors, spiritual directors, leaders in spiritual formation practices, this story has lovely and helpful images of how spiritual practices can be part of everyday life. The Pastor and Spiritual Director use visio divina, imaginative reading of scripture, prayer of examen, breath prayer, the teachings of Julian of Norwich in very natural ways. None of it seems forced but all is explored as pathways to draw closer to God. Scripture and Communion are present as gifts of sustenance and hope.

 

We read of family dynamics, close friendships, healing from trauma, mother-daughter relationships, art as therapeutic, the hardship of loss and grief. There is darkness and there are shades of light. Sharon Garlough Brown, a Pastor and a Spiritual Director, has written a beautiful story where our humanity and God’s creative love for us are woven together. Not many novels are as rich for us as followers of Christ.

 

At the conclusion of the book are resources:

For Mental Health

For Grief and Spiritual Formation

For Art and Spiritual Formation

For Vincent Van Gogh

 

She has also written a sequel, a novella about finding our way to the cross called Remember Me which follows up the story of Wren and Kit (a spiritual director and director of the retreat center). In this brief book Wren paints the stations of the cross and explores with Kit the meaning of Christ’s suffering. It includes the paintings and questions for each station. It is a perfect book for Lent.

__________________________________________________

Poetry Place

 

We invite you to share your original poems with the CFDM community. This season has inspired some of us to express ourselves through poetry. We will post a few each month for inspiration and reflection.

Please send to Marilyn Crawford.

__________________________________________________

Visio Divina

Visio- Latin for vision or seeing

Divina- Latin for divine or sacred

 

In Visio Divina we look at art in all varieties...Paintings, Sculpture, Photographs, Creation, as a way of seeing God and considering personal invitations from the canvas or page or tree.

 

"What might God be teaching me?"

"What new thing might I see which speaks to me?

 

Join others today who are finding God’s healing, forgiveness, and love through Visio Divina.

Visit the Visio Divina page to watch some Visio reflections which Care Crawford has offered for worship at Bel Air Church.

Keep checking back on our events page for more details of a day with Visio Divina.

CFDM Book Review of "Prayer in the Night," by Tish Harrison Warren

Written by Rev. Jourdan Turner                                                                                                       

Tish Harrison Warren clings to the Episcopalian prayer practices of Compline in a season of her life full of darkness and grief.  She posits that the prayers of the church give shape and foundation to our prayers and faith especially in times we are feeling the most grief, loss or darkness.  They hold us together in God.  “Faith, I’ve come to believe, is more craft than feeling. And prayer is our chief practice in the craft.” (pg. 8)  Warren expounds on various sections of the compline prayer and what they might offer in our modern era as the words take on new meaning. 

“Keep Watch”— Warren speaks here of the importance of God’s presence, especially in the face of pain and suffering.  She suggests that God explaining Godself might not actually be what we want, rather perhaps we just long for God’s presence.  We trust God to “keep watch” with and for us.  “God does not take away our vulnerability.  He enters into it”.

“Those Who Weep”— In this section Warren suggests that grief is not so much a season as it is an ever-present reality in our lives.  Yes, there are moments of acute and major grief, but we are all carrying sadness and struggle in us all the time.  “It is a real and right response to our vulnerability.” (39)

“Those Who Work”— Warren reminds us that work is part of God’s good creation from the beginning.  And our work ties us together- we need each other, and we need others to do their work as we do ours.  Work makes us interdependent and gives us a place to contribute to the common good.  “Our shared human vulnerability calls us to action—to work.” (67)

The book goes on to explore the entirety of the prayer in beautiful, practical and profound ways.  This book is deeply meaningful and helpful as a human walking through a broken world with the paradigm of faith.  It gives voice and permission to things we feel in the human experience and allows us to humbly embrace them.  At the root of it all is vulnerability and fragility.  Warren presents these as realities rather than points of shame and in doing so we breathe a sigh of relief.  Even for those who grew up in  traditions that use extemporaneous prayers,  you may come to love the liturgy and pre-written prayers offered, as I did. The gift that these prayers  can offer from prayer books, the psalms, tradition or even our own writing us when we are beyond words.  Often, we are too tired, too sad, too lost, too shocked or hurt to find words.  These prayers offer the gift of words when we can’t find our own.  Like Warren, I have come to value the structure and tether that they consistently provide.  This kind of prayer practice helps me as I continue to dig up the fallacy that I have to “conjure up” God’s presence somehow.  They help me rest in the knowledge that God is already present.  She describes how these prayers helped her to be “held by God” rather than trying to hold on to God.

 

This book also provides great ground for understanding and practicing Spiritual Direction.  It seems to me that most people come to spiritual directors feelings some portion of their vulnerability.  Perhaps that is not how they would describe it, but it gives directees a framework for understanding their humanity and our own.  This is a good place to start and to create space as we sit in direction.  We perhaps can imagine ourselves in the position of “keeping watch” with a directee.  Not that we are God, but we can be present with people in their vulnerability as they present their grief (weeping) and work, suffering, joy, and identity.  It also helps to remember this from Warren, “categories of human vulnerability—the sick, weary, dying, suffering, afflicted, joyous—are clearly not little boxes that we fit neatly inside.” (10)  Warren suggests that they all blur together but we pray for them individually.    Warren offers a beautiful and helpful perspective on one prayer that offers a foundation of our understanding of ourselves, others and the shape and value of prayer itself.

__________________________________________________

A Book Review of "The Winding Path of Transformation: Finding Yourself Between Glory and Humility"

Jeffrey Tacklind

 

Review by Gini Downing

 

The Winding Path of Transformation is an invitation to think deeper, bigger, and broader, about life and faith and paradox.  Jeff Tacklind, a master storyteller, offers his life, his experiences, and his own questions to the reader as a gift.  One can almost imagine Tacklind sitting in a rustic chair by a fireplace, maybe even smoking a pipe.  As he considers a question, perhaps he blows a smoke ring or two, as he sifts through his experiences for just the right illustration to bring light to the conversation.  His eyes sparkle as he finds the memory he was searching for, and he begins the story.

Had I not met Jeff Tacklind prior to reading The Winding Path, I would have expected someone quite different – more like Gandalf, perhaps.  But no, Jeff is a young pastor of a small, unassuming church in a small beach community in Southern California.  In addition to pastoring his church, he is a devoted family man, a scholar, and a surfer.  And I am told he doesn’t smoke a pipe.  Even so, perhaps it is this conglomeration of abilities and passions that gives the book its character:  Gandalfian wisdom emanating from the pen of a long haired, bespectacled California wave-surfing preacher.  And in the context of this contradiction of terms, Tacklind is maybe uniquely situated to tackle some of the conundrums residing amidst the Christian walk of faith. 

Each chapter of The Winding Path invites the reader into the reality that the way of the Christ Follower is not a straight road.  Rather, the path is complicated.  Some of the subjects covered include the confluence of glory and humility, the importance and necessity of seasons of desolation, waiting and questioning, and the slow process of transformation in the midst of brokenness.  Tacklind uses rich metaphors and imagery of nature – of tree roots, rivers, and waves – to underscore the narrative.

The tension of being “in the world but not of the world” is itself an invitation into a larger way of thinking that encompasses not only our victories but our missteps as well.  With humility and vulnerability, Tacklind offers his own insecurities and missteps as an encouragement to those of us whose paths seem to be a series of trips and falls, but whose trajectories remain focused on the Christ we attempt to follow. 

In reading The Winding Path, you are not necessarily going to find answers.  Rather, you will be invited to stretch the borders of your understanding, to sit within the tension of paradox and gently dismantle the protective walls that have been constructed in self-preservation.  As Tacklind writes, we must not stay small.  Our hearts must enlarge.  And to that end, Tacklind offers questions to ponder.  Perspectives to consider.  Paradoxes and tensions to contemplate.  In fact, this is not a book just to be read – it is a book to be mulled over.

__________________________________________________

A Book Review of "Shades of Light"

 

I commend to our CFDM community the novel Shades of Light written by Sharon Garlough Brown. You may know this author from her Sensible Shoes series. This book is not part of that collection but a few of the characters from those stories are also present here. The main character in this story is Wren Crawford (already I liked her with that last name!) who is a social worker, an artist and a person who has endured anxiety and depression throughout her life. Wren is especially sensitive to the needs of others and to the suffering she sees in the world.

 

Sharon Garlough Brown has written an honest account of mental health issues which several of the people in this engaging story live with and struggle through. There is recognition that the easy solutions from Christian friends and co-workers often don’t help. Well intentioned phrases- “pray your way out of it”, “memorize more scripture”, “anxiety and depression are all about a lack of faith” hurt more than help. Fortunately Wren has a Pastor who knows how hard her journey is and who walks with her patiently, wisely, and lovingly. She has a good Therapist and ultimately medications which are beneficial.

 

In the Church we are coming to an increased awareness of mental illness and learning helpful ways of accompaniment. This novel describes how anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and panic attacks affect a person’s life. We see the difficulty of managing these and as we come to know the people in the story our compassion increases. We see the real struggle with darkness, fear and uncertainty as healing is sought from God and from mental health services.

 

There is a true picture of how families seek to understand and deal with a loved one who is suffering. We can identify with the desire to help and the sadness when we are not able to fix. There is theological wrestling with God in the midst of it: Why would God allow this suffering? Why is God not quick to heal? We see the power of the cross as witness to Jesus, our companion in sorrow.

 

Wren’s favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh. From an early age she has been inspired by his paintings and loves to read his letters to Theo, his brother. This connection to Van Gogh is a major theme throughout the story. Those of you who have read Learning from Henri Nouwen and Vincent Van Gogh (A Portrait of the Compassionate Life by Carol A. Berry) will be fully alert to Van Gogh’s influence on Wren. It is a great companion book to this one. Wren reflects on Vincent- “He had been a master at finding beauty in the ordinary, beauty in the suffering, beauty in the broken and the poor, in the wounded and the neglected, in the forgotten and the discarded. Vincent knew how to see.” (pg. 50)

 

For those of us who are pastors, spiritual directors, leaders in spiritual formation practices, this story has lovely and helpful images of how spiritual practices can be part of everyday life. The Pastor and Spiritual Director use visio divina, imaginative reading of scripture, prayer of examen, breath prayer, the teachings of Julian of Norwich in very natural ways. None of it seems forced but all is explored as pathways to draw closer to God. Scripture and Communion are present as gifts of sustenance and hope.

 

We read of family dynamics, close friendships, healing from trauma, mother-daughter relationships, art as therapeutic, the hardship of loss and grief. There is darkness and there are shades of light. Sharon Garlough Brown, a Pastor and a Spiritual Director, has written a beautiful story where our humanity and God’s creative love for us are woven together. Not many novels are as rich for us as followers of Christ.

 

At the conclusion of the book are resources:

For Mental Health

For Grief and Spiritual Formation

For Art and Spiritual Formation

For Vincent Van Gogh

 

She has also written a sequel, a novella about finding our way to the cross called Remember Me which follows up the story of Wren and Kit (a spiritual director and director of the retreat center). In this brief book Wren paints the stations of the cross and explores with Kit the meaning of Christ’s suffering. It includes the paintings and questions for each station. It is a perfect book for Lent.

__________________________________________________

Poetry Place

 

We invite you to share your original poems with the CFDM community. This season has inspired some of us to express ourselves through poetry. We will post a few each month for inspiration and reflection.

Please send to Marilyn Crawford.

__________________________________________________

Visio Divina

Visio- Latin for vision or seeing

Divina- Latin for divine or sacred

 

In Visio Divina we look at art in all varieties...Paintings, Sculpture, Photographs, Creation, as a way of seeing God and considering personal invitations from the canvas or page or tree.

 

"What might God be teaching me?"

"What new thing might I see which speaks to me?

 

Join others today who are finding God’s healing, forgiveness, and love through Visio Divina.

Visit the Visio Divina page to watch some Visio reflections which Care Crawford has offered for worship at Bel Air Church.

Keep checking back on our events page for more details of a day with Visio Divina.

Poems

Enjoy the creativity of these poems written by the CFDM community!

The thoughts began with asking God, "What do you want me to say to you? What do you want me to say to you?"

 

Here's what I desire, Abba- that I could/would move through each day as though your kingdom, your Presence, is an ocean, and I am a fish, surrounded by it- traveling carelessly through it. 

The fish are not aware of the water, and yet they would not survive without it. They move through it without ever thinking about it- without comprehending it. 

I want to be the fish that rolls, and spins, and twirls in the water with delight, because I am beginning to understand all that it is to me. 

I want to be immersed in your love!

 

Will Bredberg 

Question and Answer

 

Lord, what will be our 'new beginning’? 

And yet, has it already begun? 

For those who have not been so changed by loss, 

For those who by fear had not yet been tossed, 

It is this moment now, and not the one yet to be 

That I can know You are with me. 

Oh, awake in me that which you wait to both hear and to speak. 

Right here, right now, Your faithfulness is a provision that we share. 

No public plague or public fear hinders your loving care, 

Nor stops Jesus’ teaching on how to live here. 

Steven Allen 

Yet

Hardly quiet, inside anyway, YET, yet You have invited me to a different rhythm this day.

 

I listen, to water in a cairn fountain, the graced trickle over marble green.

 

I look, to hummingbirds flitting on the blossom of an ancient lemon tree, still producing its gifts of yellow skinned juice, sour and sweetness both she upholds.

 

I feel, fatigued and energized, my divergent self, caught in the pressure of the week and spurred by the pen of poet and psalmist.

 

I hear, the gentle voice of care and wisdom which is You, through another voice I know well, my sister’s gentle articulations and insights.

 

I smell, a faint aroma lingering from the night blooming jasmine, not finished with her work into the daylight, surprised essence.

 

I taste, my cool carafe of iced tea and relish the hint of mint, fresh herb, tiny leaf flavoring my quenched thirst.

 

Disorder in the midst of loveliness, Your Holy “and Yet”, beckons a new ordering, promises a new hope.

 

Small wonders abound. Gift, grace, too often missed. Invite me to more, spur me on Oh Lord, to live as an “And Yet” one, even when my heart is rendered heavy and torn.

 

And yet...thy kingdom come, and on earth.

 

Yes, to ‘And Yet’.

 

Yes.

 

And.

 

Yet. 

Care Crawford 

Contemplative Prayer

Such a lovely invitation-

Imagine myself sitting on a slope of a hill near a river

as I turn to God in prayer.

A gentle voice encouraging me to take thoughts which distract

and place them on small boats going down the river.

 

What a peaceful prospect, such a calm voice.

 

But inside me the voices are not calm!

“To do” lists- You go on a boat

“Shouldn’t have said that”- You go on a boat

That judging thought- to a boat

That stressful demand- to a boat

That random idea- down the river with you.

 

Oh no...my boats are crashing into each other.

Wait..are some of them racing?

 

Now, what was my centering word?

Oh shoot, I sent it down the river on that pretty blue boat.

 

Next time, no boats. Thoughts go straight in the water.

Marilyn Crawford

At the Threshold

I stand in a threshold

      the earth behind

      and glory beckoning

 

And yet I resist

      for the love of a shoe,

      or a flower,

      or any sparkly thing

 

So I stretch, trying

      to pull the world in

      with me

 

But it doesn’t fit

      the me I am becoming.

 

It seems too big

      but in truth, it’s

      too small.

Oh how I resist

      transforming

      into what I am, really

But in this threshold

      I am simply

      silly putty stretched thin.

 

My face distorts

      as I am pulled

      by a heavenly tension

      that will not let go.

 

The brave thing

      is to relax my grip

      and surrender in humility

      realizing

 

I don’t know best.

 

I don’t know

      much at all.

 

Surrendering, I would receive

      all that’s good,

      all that matters,

 

And be complete.

© 2018 Gini L. Downing  

Stigmata

And so it ends,

      all hopes and joys on a cross impaled

      and a body battered and bruised,

In agony, life spent and yet

      in its anguish an unexplainable beauty.

Blood mingled with tears

      and dripping rivulets form and fall.

A last gaze, eyes torn and bloodshot

      wander pain-hazed, and for a moment focus

      on me.

I stand transfixed, unable to turn

      or look away.

I am frozen in time, me seeing him seeing me

      and I am a flood of tears and sorrows.

A raindrop falls, then another.

Still I stand, unmoving

      yet moved to my soul’s center.

His eyes have closed.

The pain has stopped

      as life slips away in a final sigh.

A whisper, really,

      belying the violent end, in peace.

Another drop falls, and this one

      into my open palm,

      not rain, but blood.

My wound from his

      And his wound for me.

I am marked for eternity.

© 2018 Gini L. Downing

WhiteWash

The walls of my home have been white washed,

--the teal of the entry way 

washed white,

--the azure of the powder room 

washed white,

--the buttercup of the master bath 

washed white.

 

The family room, wood paneled cabin-feel, now a white, airy cottage-feel. 

Pretty. Yes, 

“A white canvas for a new owner,” explained our agent/son.

Ahh. But,

“All touches of me erased with brush strokes of white.”   

 

Twenty-five years ago, this home enfolded us.

 

Here we celebrated:

A daughter’s wedding, a granddaughter’s birth, a mother’s 90th birthday.

 

Here we fellowshipped:

Friend’s enjoying meals, sated by conversation, circled in prayer.

 

Here we welcomed:

A son struggling with illness, a daughter and family in transition,

 sojourners in need of temporary dwelling.

 

Here I have sat:

At breakfast table, eyes on the mountain-rimmed horizon, 

God’s Word, open before me, inviting,

Morning by morning.

 

Here I have listened:

In backyard, ears filled with bird-song, 

the Spirit’s whisper, gentle like the rustle of leaves, ever-present\year after year.

 

Here I have rejoiced:

On sofa, heart content with chatter and laughter of family,

the Son’s beauty, evidenced all around me, promising hope

in days to come.

 

Good-bye dear home;

May those who reside within your ivory walls

receive this blessing of embrace.

 

 

                  Denise Ahern April 2021

Psalm 122:7

Security

Stay busy.

Be occupied.

Push troubling thoughts

Deep down

Under long lists.

 

Let “what ifs”

Of night dreams

Mist into

“What to dos”

of day tasks. 

 

Working,

Ever-working,

With ankle chained

To fear

Of not enough.

 

“Oh, merciless

Taskmaster,

Be gone,

Unchain from

My beloved.

 

“Come,

My child,

Upon my back.

Between my shoulders

Rest your head.”

 

Breathing slowed

Into the cadence

Of His steps;

Head pillowed

On His strength.

 

Denise Ahern Apr. ‘21

Deuteronomy 33:12