• Cancer,  death,  Grief,  Life,  Love

    On Time and Presence

    “If you’re still listening, if this still means anything, please, help me to be present.” I sat on my bed, suitcase flayed open beside me as a familiar harbinger. We’d just seen the scan that showed a new and inoperable growth. Mom’s brain cancer was spreading. The clock ticked loud and cruel. I wanted to squeeze time like a lemon to get all the juice out. I wanted to stretch it into eternity like taffy, keep rolling it and rolling it to make more because she was running out and I had barely found my stride. And here I was, stumbling, racing toward the edge of a cliff after the…

  • Cancer,  death,  Grief,  Life

    Open Handed Hope

    No alarm told me to creep downstairs while everyone slept and beat the Easter morning candy rush. But my dog was on my mind and I needed to get eyes on him. If he’d died, I thought, I would want to get him outside before the kids came down. I’d want to wait until after they had their morning fun before I told them. I’d want a minute to cry with him before sharing the grief with my children. I rehearsed it, just in case (which I do a lot, but the cases rarely unfold according to my script). He’d been sick the night before. The kind of sick I’ve…

  • Cancer,  Faith,  God,  Grief,  hope,  Love,  Motherhood

    Love Notes

    “Maybe Jesus knew you’d read the word ‘beagle’ today!” I say to her after sounding it out and our remembering that those two matching beagles just walked by the house this morning so she got to hear this strange word. “Or maybe the owner just wanted to walk his dogs…” she says, empirically, with all the rational exposition 300 years of Enlightenment Thinking can produce in its youngest prodigies. I laugh and nod, “Both things can be true, you know.” Because the question I am convinced is built into the factory settings, is Are you there and do you care? That is, is there a “you” to care at all…

  • Beauty,  Faith,  Family,  God,  Grief,  Life,  Love,  Motherhood,  Poems,  Poetry,  Worship

    Beam Hallelujah

    The beams reach high—to you As if you are not here, in the pew But you don’t mind it You come how we’re able Hallelujah The cross up there reminds me of the ones you put all over Torture as a decoration, hallelujah Like the one you pained for me at that pottery shop When I got myself baptized And Grandma Betty thought it was a waste You were my sanctuary—are? Do I still get to say that? While I learn to stand on the legs you knit for me in your womb? Which sort of makes them yours, I guess And I like that thought, hallelujah And I hope…