(61) lines, boxes, a bush on fire

Theotokos (Mother of God/God-bearer) of the Unburnt Bush


We draw the lines trying to keep the dangerous stuff out.
Thick lines of what to do and mainly what not to do
It’s supposed to keep us safe
From all that bad stuff
From evil, from sin.

Or we put all the dangerous stuff in a box and lock it
and shelve it, really high up where it can’t be reached.
Out of sight
Out of mind.

But the real problem is not locked in the box
on the top shelf of an ignored but never-forgotten closet
or trapped securely outside the wide and tidy lines

The real trouble, the real danger is within my heart.


I want to live in the bright, open spaces
with a heart exposed to the light and holy fire,
with a heart empty of pride and resentment

where lines are erased and choices made
not because of rules, of lists of “do” and “do not”
but from within love and through love and for love

And in that broad place of love and brightness
I think I may also find the truth of holiness
a way of being that is like the burning bush in Exodus
like the Virgin Mary, who carried in her body the fullness of God
to be a dwelling place of God, to be on fire, yet not consumed.

Because it just is not all about the rules.




(44) live everything

“And the point is, to live everything…” (Rainer Maria Wilke)


Stay here with me, dear one. Stay here with me in this moment.

Hold still for a moment and allow those rogue tears to escape.

I am here to catch the tears as they fall.

Choose to be present. Feel the deep sadness.

Don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid of the anger at events beyond your control.

Feel the anger and let it go. When things are beyond your control, they are still within mine.

Don’t be afraid of the sadness that looks like an inky well without hope.

Feel the sadness and weep. Say goodbye with integrity, with tears.

Don’t be afraid of the loneliness, of sleeping on your side of the bed with emptiness beside you.

Be bold, be strong! My name is Emmanuel. I am with you.

Don’t be afraid that the little ones won’t remember you.

The moments you shared with them matter. Let the sweet memories become prayers.

Don’t be afraid to live everything.


You want to be strong, sensible and brave. But be brave with a heart wide open, beloved daughter. Don’t confuse emotion with weakness, Dearheart. Open your heart wide to receive and to overflow and to grieve. Grieve bravely. Live everything.

(2) let go

I had stopped praying for the miracle. I realized this while telling the story to my sister today. In the midst of all the learning related to health and disease for the course, I was also learning about control. That could be a topic for a wholly other writing moment. The short of it is, though, that while I want to control everything, I really control only very few things. And the truth is that, any control I appear to have is just that: the appearance of control. In the context of the course, the lesson was this: I could eat an organic vegan diet and exercise 4 times a day and still die of some terrible disease. And my precious man could continue smoking 20 cigarettes every 24 hours for forever and I still might have the blessing of living beside him until we are 90.

So I had stopped praying for the miracle.

But he was home sick and my heart was so heavy and I sat beside him on the couch and all of a sudden, there were tears. I just want to be honest, I’m not trying to nag, I just don’t want to lose you, I don’t want to see you suffer, I know I’m selfish, but I don’t want to spend my days beside your hospital bed, watching you gasp for air, I just love love love you, I can’t bear the thought of going on without you.

He was compassionate. He listened, as always. And said that maybe he would just try to quit while he was sick. I reassured him again that I wasn’t pushing, I wasn’t nagging, whatever he wanted…and I didn’t expect much.

Eleven and a half days later. He has smoked only 5 cigarettes. He bought a pack and then gave it away. He didn’t want it. He doesn’t want it. Oh my God, this is the miracle I had stopped praying for.

Please let me learn to let go and let You do Your thing. It is just so much better that way.