Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Keep watch, dear Lord

And so the bedtime prayer begins. Both children are mostly grown, if anyone is ever mostly grown. I anticipate this begins a series of reflections, but then again, I never know. I, too, am mostly grown.

It is mostly a comfort
To ask this,
To name the One who watches:
To know Someone
Has Her equivalent
Of a baby monitor
Next to the bed.
She doesn’t need such things.
Her Mother’s ear is tuned
To the world,
Her Mother’s eye
Catches everything
In that way
Good mothers do.
She has eyes
In the back of her head,
And in front.
Her peripheral vision
Is next to none.
She invented peripheral vision.
Keep watch, dear Lord,
The way only You
Can do.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Unlikely dreams

When wonderful things happen that surprise me completely... I am glad not to be in charge. When terrible things happen that horrify me... I am also glad not to be in charge. But still... sometimes in the morning dreams, it seems God puts together so many disparate dreams that I am ready for what comes next. I cheer in the stands. I march in the streets. I protest what I must. I pray... through it all.

It seems lately
I wake up from a series
Of unlikely dreams.
They flow
One into another,
Not unlike this wakeful time
When unlikely dreams
Prove true.
I know they are true
Because there is protest
In the ranks,
And cheering
In the stands.
I could only hope
I could only dream
This succession of unlikely dreams,
But never
But never
Could have predicted

Sunday, June 28, 2015


So much happened yesterday that it took an extra day. It almost seems as though today will be dropped from the June calendar. Hard to explain... but there it is. 

It’s as if today
Got cancelled. As if today
Will come tomorrow.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Two Brothers

Jesus said: It's like this... two brothers, being asked to work in their father's vineyard. One said yes, and did not go. One said No, then reconsidered. Which one did the father's bidding? Not so hard to figure out what the right answer is... right? Two brothers, related by blood, related by blood. Still brothers after the yes. Still brothers after the no. Still brothers.

So many ways we have
To dismiss the world:
The real,
The potential real.
So many ways we say
Not now
Not ever.
So many ways we say
When we are really saying
Oh we who dismiss
So many things
In God’s name.
So much better to struggle with No
Then reconsider
And reconsider again.
Hard-won things
Are often heart-won things:
Meant to be held lightly
Meant to be cherished
Meant to be held up to the light
Meant to be understood now
Only in part
In a mirror dimly
And then,
Only then,
Fully known.

Friday, June 26, 2015


It is a huge pollen year, more than enough for all of us. Everyone I know... with allergies and without... seems to be afflicted. 

I wake up sneezing.
Pollen has been
The underlying thread
In this summer weaving
Of the whole;
The common denominator
In our body politic;
The unitive breathing in
Of that substance
Which would be better off
Doing the work
It is meant to do:
Flower to fruit
To food on the table,
Except now
We wake up sneezing,
More than enough pollen
For all purposes,
Even enough
To provide food
For conversation.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


My beloved's mother called last night: Happy Anniversary. Anniversary? my beloved said, looking at me. Oh, are we ever pathetic! I said. Simply pathetic. We laughed the rest of the evening.

There are so many things
To remember in June
My beloved and I
Forgot our twentieth anniversary
Both of us
Both of us.
It’s like we’ve been married
In a good way.
Married forever.
Maybe we’ll go bowling
This weekend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Brownie Wednesday

Thankful for frosted brownies.

It’s Brownie Wednesday
At the grocery store.
I find this out
As I check out,
My cart filled with produce,
Organic eggs
And dairy.
My beloved tells me
I wouldn’t like those brownies anyway,
They all come with frosting.
Frosted brownies
Are too much,
Doncha know.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Every Monday I receive Tiny House Swoon in my email. Tiny is appealing, even as I sit in my own not-so-tiny blue recliner from This End Up. I bought it almost thirty years ago now. It has seen me through A Lot, this chair. It is part of my Scratch. I do some of my best mining here.

I think I have to
build it all
from scratch.
is all I have anyway.
I stare at tiny houses
Think life would be so much better
Were I to live in one
I had built
from scratch.
Scratch is all I have.
Dig down deep:
Listen to the rain:
Sit in the blue recliner
from 1989
So much scratch
There is treasure there
A pot of gold
This side of the rainbow.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


I love such conversations. I am glad my beloved teaches at Northeastern IL.

I was reminded again
Of the United Nations
My beloved teaches,
My beloved serves.
In the middle of the packed party
The woman
In a white hijab
Tells me falafel comes from
Saudi Arabia.
I have heard so many countries claim
I went to a church
And asked if I was welcome
She said.
I was told
Only people who love Jesus
Are welcome.
Oh well then
She said
That is fine.
I too love Jesus.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


For Sue, traveling the West Coast; for Lise, writing screen plays in Texas; for Anne, auditioning for plays in Chicago; and for me. 

I wondered what sixty
Would be like
It’s not what I imagined.
It’s better than I thought.
A friend takes a road trip.
Another writes screenplays.
Still another auditions
For plays.
I drive when I can.
I write when I can.
I try out
For new roles.
Sometimes I achieve things
It never occurred to me
I was trying
To achieve.
I wondered what sixty
Would be like.

Friday, June 19, 2015


Windows open, cat sleeping in the sun, cardinal singing his heart out, I wonder what evidence I will draw from today. I laugh at all the evidence-based therapy skills I have learned. I know they look different applied in my particular office.

Each one of us
Has her own interpretation
Of what she has learned.
We think
We apply it
There is no such thing
As pure
It’s a secret,
A not-so-well-kept secret:
The evidence is important
To be sure
But in its purity,
It’s only
Where we begin.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

In and out

Moving in and out... like the sun.

Watching the sun
Go in and out.
It is an in and out
Sort of day.
I make a list
Of people
Of things
Which call for a blessing
From me.
What do I notice
As the sun finds clouds
To hide behind
And then finds space
Between them.
It is an in and out
Sort of day.
Me and the sun.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Home in the rain

Today I see individual things and marvel at them. 

The elderberry bush
Has three clusters of flowers
Where last year
There were two.
The cat sits in a favorite spot
Under the rocking chair,
Absent the sun.
It is rain this morning.
I am home
An entire day;
To see the rain
The cat
The elderberry
Delight in it all.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Years and years

This is not a haiku, in the traditional 5-7-5 form, but then again 5-7-5 is an approximation anyway. I was going to write more, but this seemed to sum it up.

So many things take years and years.
All the while
We want it now.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


The fourth stage of change. I would name it something other than maintenance. I would much rather see it in terms of connection, of weaving it into the whole. This is perhaps a more spiritual way of looking at it, but then again, I am a priest, and this is the way I come at things. Maintenance is the final stage of change. I wonder if there should be a fifth stage which carries it even further.

What a boring term
For the final stage of change.
I would name it
Finding the place
In the warp and the woof
Where this change fits;
Finding the place
Where the weaving is not whole
Without it;
Finding the place
We would miss
Were it not present;
Finding the place
Others would say
Are not You
Without it.
This is way more than
Cookies and milk,
Way more than one or two
Atta boy
Atta girl
This involves
A whole community
Gathered around the table
Woven together.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Action. Stage three. The first stage others might see, even though we have been considering it a long while. This is the stage for which the world gives some credit. Action is the only stage which allows reimbursement of most any sort. Two cookies and milk. So much work already under the bridge, over the dam. So much work to be acknowledged. Two cookies and milk.

The first step
Outside the box 
We have been living in;
Or perhaps the first step
Outside the box
We have been dying in;
The first step other people
Might see
When they are watching.
Of course we started
So long ago
And now
And now
Perhaps we hear
A duet or a trio
Atta boy
Atta girl
Two cookies
And milk
And then
Keep coming back.

Friday, June 12, 2015


The second stage of change. Note that nothing has happened yet externally, yet really this is letting in the possibility of change. We all do this. All of us. All the time. Watch the questions come and go. Answer some of those questions, yet most will not be answered until we approach stage three.

Maybe things might be different.
What would they look like?
What would they sound like?
What would they taste like?
Smell like?
Feel like?
What if I fail?
What if nothing happens?
What if I succeed?
What does success even look like?
Sound like?
Taste like?
Smell like?
Feel like?
When do I begin?
What about next year?
Next month?
Next week?
Atta boy
Atta girl
Two cookies
Let’s meet next week
How’s next week for you?

Thursday, June 11, 2015


This is the first reflection in a series on the Stages of Change. The Stages apply to any change we make. It is often used in the addictions field, but really it's about any change we make. We are all recovering from something. We all begin here.

The first stage
Is thinking about thinking about
The possibility
Of change.
Everyone starts here.
Is it worth it?
We ask
Is it really worth it?
Everyone starts here:
At the beginning.
This first stage requires
A very quiet
Atta boy
Atta girl
A smile
Perhaps a cookie
So the beginning

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New brain

Three days of continuing education. I am home with a new brain, having met several new people, spent time with a cross-section of addictions counselors and people in recovery. I learned that CMA does not only stand for Country Music Awards, but also Crystal Meth Anonymous. I have also now been trained to administer Naloxone by auto-injector in case I am with someone ODing on opiates.

I am home
With a new brain.
I feel like Scarecrow
In the Wizard of Oz,
Given that diploma
Of possibility,
Head still stuffed with straw.
Beckoned me
Off the pole
In my particular cornfield
To dance with friends
Down the road.
Now I am home
With a brain
Still stuffed
With straw
But also
New with possibility.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


I couldn't figure out what to name this one, so I settled on Wristband. It might just as easily been Designated Driver or Special. Saturday was the Craft Beer Festival at Morton Arboretum, part of the birthday gift for my beloved. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow was, is and will be continuing education. I do not know what color the wristband will be today or tomorrow. I do know the CADC crowd is special, just as everyone is.

I wore a red wristband
On Saturday.
It allowed me to drink
Designer soda,
Be the Designated Driver
On the way home.
I felt special.
Yesterday I wore a red wristband
Like everyone else.
It meant we all were eligible
For lunch.
Today I expect
The same
All of us with our wristbands
Will eat lunch again.
All of us

Monday, June 8, 2015

Full day

Today holds a conference, new faces, perhaps some old; a client; and a closing birthday dinner for my beloved. Right now it holds coffee, cat, flowers and sun. A good beginning.

I face a full day
The cat
The flowers
The sun
Call me forth
Into the promise.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Some days it feels like my heart grows, like the Grinch, at least three sizes. Sometimes way more. It's not one thing that does it, but several, some things I can name, some not.

My heart grows,
Sometimes it feels
I wonder where things
Will fit
With a bigger heart.
I wonder
When I sit in back at church
See baby faces smiling backward
Check the restless children
Feel the Spirit move
Watch everyone raise an arm in blessing
Myself included,
Hold the hand of my beloved
As we pray the Lord’s Prayer.
My heart grows.
I wonder where things will go
From here.

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Sometimes I wander, and sometimes I am content to watch the wanderings of friends.

I ponder my friends
Peripatetic and me
Finding the world through them.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Coffee with a friend

I'm not sure what vehicle I am riding these days. Certainly it varies from day to day. Coffee or lunch with friends, old and new, is a treat, always, no matter if I am driving, walking, or sitting still. Next year? Really? I have no idea where I'll be next year.

Coffee with a friend
Last fall:
In my perspective:
We must do this again
Next year,
She says.

All of us
Ride different cycles:
Some with too many wheels
To count,
Hamster wheels maybe.
Some walk endless treadmills
Wait for a power outage
So they can stop
Finally stop.

Coffee with a friend.
We must do this again
And again
And again
Before next year
Before we die.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Discovering more and more what is meant for others.

We never know
If what we hear
Is meant for us
Or perhaps
For someone else.
This is distinct
From giving advice.
This is different
From naming the mote
In our neighbor’s eye.
This has nothing to do
With defining the thunderclap
As a sign of God’s wrath
Against someone else.
We never quite know
If the purple columbine we see
Is meant for us
Or perhaps
To be shared
And then shared again.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


This is a haiku (sort of). I am stunned at the rapidity of change in the acceptance of gay marriage (in Ireland!) as well as the growing acceptance of the reality of transgender folk who encompass the same wide range of sexuality we all do. Today the sky is bluer than it's ever been.

On certain fronts
The weather changes faster
Than others.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Day off

Although my work structure has changed into something more fluid, I well remember the "day off mode." 

On the days
He’s not supposed to be there
He parks on the street
And locks the door.
He does not dress
For work,
But works instead
In his gardening clothes.
We all play like this
As if God will not notice
Our transgressions,
Find out we are working
On our day off.
We all play like this
As if there is such a thing
As hiding from God,
As if God does not understand
On Her day off;
As if God does not always work
In her Garden clothes;
Even on the Sabbath
She is available
In Her Garden clothes.
We forget sometimes.
We park on the street.
We lock the door.