In My Bones

I’m on my walk. It’s a 3 mile trail on a hill. There’s a huge section on the downhill that runs along what I think of as “the bracken”—wetlands-y, bordering the woods, lots of overgrowth.

Just as I enter the bracken, I see a man coming towards me. He’s about a football field away, which starts my heart racing because it’s not much time to plan.

Plan what, you ask? Ha! No you didn’t, because you’re mostly women here. You know exactly what I meant: I’m alone and here comes a man.

My first thought was I didn’t bring Dasher. Not that Dasher would save me from anyone, but only our family, friends, contractor, the pool guy next door, our neighbors and the kids down the street know that. To everyone else he looks like a German Shepherd tied one on with a Doberman. But I didn’t bring him with me today.

This is the moment I take a good hard look at the bracken to my right. Which, hey look at that, slopes downward. How have I never noticed that before? One good shove, and I’m off the path and into the blackberries. No one would ever know.

I’m not helpless, though. I can see him coming. He’s wearing sweats, a hoodie and sunglasses. I remind myself to strike for the soft spots. Then I sink into my feet, ready.

YOU GUYS. I am just walking on a Monday morning at 9:00 am in my own town, but I now have a plan for the man who is walking towards me on the path.

And it is only because of what he does next that I even spend one second of my day unwinding this moment.  

With at least 20 feet to go before we meet up, he swings wide off the other side of the path, putting a good 15 feet between us as we pass. I am so flummoxed by this that I actually think “Bit much, COVID dude” before I realize he did it to make me feel safe.

It shocks me. I’m not scared of much, but as I let go of all the ways I prepared to cross paths with him, I know that the threat I felt is ancient and generational, bred into my bones and reinforced by 49 years of living. Women are not always safe alone with a man. Vigilance is required. It has nothing to do with this particular man and he knows it, because he has a mom, wife, sisters, daughters. He doesn’t take it personally. But he does move to make me feel safe.

I’m telling you this thing that you already know as women because maybe we have forgotten that other people have ancient, generational instincts bred into their bones too, from other threats that also require vigilance.

We need to remember. We need to give people space for their vigilance, acknowledge that the vigilance is legitimate, and then earn each other’s trust. It’s not asking too much. It’s how we begin to fix what’s been broken.

It was the work of 10 seconds for that man to make me feel seen, respected and safe. We can do this for each other.

Did You Make Space for a New Creation?

We are coming out of a hot, spicy nightmare right now into a new creation.

Are we ready?

We should have been making space–space in our souls, space in our hearts, space in our time and relationships and jobs for the new creation that we are promised to flood into our lives.

Don’t tell me nothing really changed in the last year. How could that even be possible? All those prayers you threw up for time to fix and heal and get healthy and God gave you a year. You used it, right?

And even if you didn’t, you will, because we are not ruining the new creation with the old crap.

Let me give you some examples.

You know that side of the family you hate to see because they drink too much or they’re mean or racist or belligerent or their kids suck but you always invite them because…family? Well you haven’t seen them in a year, haven’t missed them and the basic family structure is still intact. Are you going to go back to loud, angry, drunken Thanksgivings? Heck, no. We don’t ever have to do that again.

How about that passive aggressive friendship with the mom from school where you hang out more because of proximity than kindred spirit and she makes you crazy anyway? Are you going back to weekly gossip coffee dates? Nope. Sorry, my schedule has changed and our kids have moved on. See you around.

How about money? Did you cut back on all the things to save money during job furlough or loss? When the jobs come back, are you just going to go back to living paycheck to paycheck so your family can have all the things again? No–we have a future to plan for. We lived without a lot this year and didn’t miss most of it.

What about that job that you now know you can do from home, and better. Are we going back to giving our whole lives to our jobs, working an 8, 9, 10 hour day because someone 70 years ago decided that was necessary and showed initiative? Thank you, no–we’re going to negotiate something better.

What about your kids and school? Was distance learning a relief for them? Like water on a thirsty plant, did it cause them to grow and blossom? Then are you going to send them back to the way we have always done things? Of course not–we have empowered our kids to learn from home.

(Not mine, though. Mine need to take all that angst and energy, walk right out the front door to the bus that will take them to the school where the person who manages all that angst and energy is well-trained, well-prepared and not me)

Are you going to pass that holiday phone from granny to auntie to uncle to cousin so everyone gets a chance to talk to the family out of state on Christmas? No way–you’re going to fire up that Zoom meeting, cast it onto the big screen and have dessert together from 2000 miles away.

We are going to live stream football games and volleyball games and plays and concerts and recitals. We are going to live stream church services and baptisms and First Communions and weddings and funerals. Being forced apart taught us how to be closer, it pushed us past boundaries we didn’t even know we had, it made us innovate. And it is just the beginning.

The sorrow and struggle were real, as were the cost, which has been folded into our collective subconscious. We cannot forget the lessons the last year have taught us.

But the new creation is here and it is God’s Providence, to make all for our good. We just have to put away the things of yesterday, open the door and step out into the light of a new day.

How to Pray

I’m reading The Art of Prayer for my class. Written in 1957, so I’m kind of 😴.

Then this. Now I’m awake because YES.

This is the prayer people like me HAVE TO LEARN. We want to decide, intervene, plan, control, dictate.

We cover it by saying we are hoping, inventing, inspiring, leading and guiding. But really, in our worst moments, at our most angry, threatened and afraid, we are asserting our ego at God and other people in a desperate scramble to get back to solid, predictable ground.

God made us this way, so he is not surprised when we come for Him with our blueprints and list of demands. He loves us still.

He waits for us to surrender to the only plan that matters: HIS plan. And when we do, when we can pray with open and obedient hearts that His will be done, then we can be free of our need to control.


How do we walk with the Lord on His journey, especially in this year of so much change and uncertainty. Surrender. Endure. Grieve. Resurrect.

Easter: Resurrect

We are all Mary Mag on Easter morning.

We have surrendered, and followed.

We have endured.

We have grieved.

We have been promised a resurrection, but we don’t fully understand what that means. And we’re not sure how the dead guy, the one who did all the miracles before, is going to be able to help himself.

We are all Mary Mag.

When she woke up on that third day, she knew the prophecies, and she knew what Jesus himself had said. But the world looked the same, and in that world, Jesus’ burial needed finishing. So she gathered her oils and one or two other women and off they went to do their work.

She witnesses the empty tomb in all four of the gospels. In John’s, she runs to get Peter, who comes back with her, sees the empty tomb and flees. Flees. Mary stands her ground, in tears. She thinks his body has been stolen—“They have taken my Lord away and I do not know where they have put him” (20:13). She still doesn’t understand that in this moment, everything is new.

Jesus is new—the Risen Christ, the promise fulfilled.

The world is new, saved.

Mary is new, so new that Jesus names her again: “Mary”.  And in that moment, she sees the Truth.

This is the promise of the journey, friends. There is a point to our suffering, there is a reason for our sorrow and it’s this: if we do the work, we will die to our old life and rise again in truth.

Let’s don’t go “back” to normal.

Walk your surrender.  

Endure your trial.

Grieve your reckoning.

And rise again in truth.

Happy Easter!


How do we walk with the Lord on His journey? Especially in this year of so much change and uncertainty. Surrender. Endure. Grieve. Resurrect.

Day #3: Grieve  

Listen. This step is the hardest one of all.

Grieving is worse than enduring. When we endure, it is happening, and we put one foot in front of the other and try to stay in our skin. When we grieve, it has already happened and we are left to count the things we have lost. This is the reckoning.

Past the initial stages, grief becomes more intangible, and we think we can push it away. And we can push it, but not away. Twenty years later, that grief will knock on the door and demand to be heard.

Men especially struggle with this because since forever, it has not been ok for men to cry or admit they are sad. Both of these looked like weakness, and God forbid a man appear weak.

Today, there’s more awareness in the world that when we are weak—when we sit inside our grief and heal from it—we are strong. But not enough. We are still learning that lesson in reaction, instead of proactively teaching it to our kids.

Which brings me to the Apostles.

We’re not wholly sure where they spent the second day. John tells us that once Mary Magdalene found the empty tomb on Sunday morning, she ran to tell Peter, and that he and “the other disciples” went to the tomb (20:3). It’s safe to assume they were together, as they had been for three years, but we don’t know for sure.

What we do know is what they were doing: nothing, because it was the Sabbath.

In the Church we say they were “waiting”, and we liken it to our waiting here on earth for what comes next.

But I think it’s no mistake that God made them sit in their grief. No escape. No excuses. Just sit in the grief and feel it.

We have to do this too. We have to. And not just for death. For the lost graduations, weddings, trips of a lifetime, jobs, homes, sports seasons, church community—everything we lost in the last year. All the traumas in our lives. We have to surrender, we have to endure and then we have to grieve what was lost. We have to reckon the cost.

I hear a lot of talk about resilience, most of it in a “suck it up”” kind of way. But true resilience is the result of walking ALL the steps. True resilience is the provenance of the fully healed.

And there is no healing without grief.