Thursday, December 22, 2011


On the first Sunday of Advent, my new pastor read a quote from Quaker writer Parker Palmer,
"The insight at the heart of nonviolence is that we live in a tragic gap - a gap between the way things are and the way we know they might be...we must learn to stand in the tragic gap, faithfully holding the tension between reality and possibility." 

I have learned this year, perhaps for the first time, that Advent is a season of profound longing. 

I have one friend whose newborn baby has a rare, aggressive form of cancer.
His tiny fragile body must soon undergo chemotherapy.
I read my friend's updates on Facebook, and I stare at the screen and weep. 

I have another friend whose 22-year-old son died suddenly of an aneurysm last weekend. 
His funeral is tomorrow, and I will be there alongside my parents as we watch our precious friend bury his son.

I sit with the horror of this pain, knowing it reflects so much more of its kind, worldwide.

And I know I speak for many when I cannot help but ask, Why at Christmas, of all times?

And the answer comes back, over and over, because this is why God became human in the first place.
This is why we enter into Advent.
This is why we wait.

Jesus was born into a world where the king wanted to kill him, and therefore ordered the slaughter of all male children under the age of two.
Mary and Joseph were trapped in a lonely cave with livestock, without their families or friends, devoid of rejoicing voices.

This is the same world that God created and entered; the one that He passionately believed to be worth saving.

We cannot reverse what has gone so horribly wrong.
We can only cry out to the One who makes Restoration possible.

Even if our prayers are bumbling and threadbare at best...

I'm SO angry, and so terribly sad, and I don't understand any bit of this primordial stew of suffering.  
But please, please help. 
We need the comfort, love, and peace that only You can bring. 

Friday, December 16, 2011


Post a picture of the following and explain:

1. Yourself.
Do you like having your picture taken? Why or why not?
Do you have a "good side"?

I don't generally enjoy having my picture taken, no. 
Unless I'm taking it myself. 
And yes, there are angles and "sides" that are much more flattering than others. 
Any angle or viewpoint I can find that hides my raging double chin? That's a winner. 

2. Your pet(s).
What are their names?

I live in a house with pets, yes. 

I wouldn't say that they're mine, necessarily, but I do love them as my own. 
Pippin is the dog, a Maltese whom I sometimes believe is the Cutest Thing on Earth. 
And there are two cats, Peg-a-leg (she's got 3 legs) and Pumpkin, the latter of whom is ordinarily very shy, but has somehow warmed up to me. 
She stands at my door and meows when she wants attention and cuddles. I love it. 

3. Your favourite vacation spot.
Describe exactly where the picture is taken.
What's special about this place?

Myrtle Beach, SC in 2009 was the best vacation I've ever had. 
The photo above was taken at dawn on the first morning of our visit, from the balcony of our condo on the 11th floor. 
I had never been to the ocean before, and felt therefore mesmerized by its beauty, its sounds, its sheer magnitude and overpowering presence. 
Plus, my niece Emma was the most adorable beach babe ever. 

4. Your bedroom or favourite room in your home.
Explain or tell a story about some of the items in the room.

My favorite "room" is actually the backyard patio + garden. 
It's a beautiful and tranquil spot, ideal for reading, writing, visiting with loved ones and summer soirees.
I have written many a poignant word in this garden, and hope to write many more. 

5. One of your favorite pictures of all time, whether for artistic or sentimental reasons.
Why is this picture special to you?

This is Emma at Camp Lake Louise, and I love it so much because it captures an evening that was so special, so precious; one I shared with my dear friend Robin and my family.
The sun was just lilting downward in the sky as we walked out on the sandbar.
My brother Josh threw sticks out into the lake for the dogs to fetch, and Emma ran after them too.
We laughed so hard we cried, the dusky cornucopia of color enveloped us, my soul swelled with Love, and my heart fell prostrate with gratitude. 


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