My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as those who simply love to read. You will find eclectic snippets here—news of projects I’m working on, comments regarding books I enjoy, favorite authors, quotes, and reflections regarding my own experiences. I especially like to write about my dreams—those parables in the night seasons. Symbols and metaphors delight and intrigue me. You will find them here.
I came to understand that God hadn't lost me, even if I seemed for years to have misplaced God.~Kathleen Norris (From Amazing Grace, A Vocabulary of Faith)
My husband began reading my new book this week. He said, "You talk a lot about God. I could call you the God girl." I reflected on his comment and the labyrinthine course of my faith. For many years I "misplaced" Him, or perhaps more accurately, I detached from Him. Wanted no more of the fundamental principles I came to believe were associated with my faith in Jesus. I tried to leave the faith, but found that was impossible. How could I truly remove myself completely from the One who interceded in prayer for me, who promised never to leave me?
For decades my heart was caged in a belief system that was tied into performance-based, conditional love. I believed that the only way I could be accepted by God, loved by God, was performing well. If my behaviors fell in line, then I could receive His acceptance. But if not, I couldn't approach Him. It was all about keeping the rules. I could earn His love by my good behavior. Toxic.
My faith was like running miles around a track. Round and round the track I'd go, racking up miles, fine dust particles affixed to my Nikes, my calves muscular. My performance kept me strong. But there came a time, in a spiritual sense, when I could no longer muster the energy to run--to keep the rules, to perform. I believed I had failed God and He wanted no more to do with me when I was weak, when I was no longer fit and muscular. I was wrong.
I think this is the cry of my heart--to live in wonder instead of dread.~Journal entry, September 12, 2020
We were driving home from our weekly Walmart run for groceries. Billie Eilish on the radio--I'm in love with my future, she sang. The lyric penetrated my thinking, and resonated. I'm more practiced in anticipating dread. This kind of thinking, this weakness, this vulnerability is my Achilles heel.
This past week, though, it was almost as if God whispered in my ear and asked me to peer into my future, to lift my hands in childlike awe. He seemed to say, "I brought you triumphantly over the finish line as you completed your formal work life. Now look over your landscape. There's more to explore. I have so much in store for you. Dream with me about your life."
I said I love you and that's forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are~Billy Joel(From Just The Way You Are)
One has to admire the bravery of a 21-year-old. I'd just graduated college and drove my brown 1977 Chevrolet Camaro from Texas to California. I went to work as a writer for a magazine, my office nestled in the hills of the San Bernardino mountains, near Los Angeles. I was doing okay on the job, interviewing a variety of people and writing feature stories. My editor assigned me to what he called the "difficult people." He said, "They seem to tell you things."
But at 21, I was doing much better on the job than in my personal life. I had just been rejected by a man who had proposed to me, and then backed out of the relationship saying I was "too needy." I probably was. And I was sad. Brokenhearted. I kept berating myself for not being able to move on, for not being able to stop thinking about him. Writing the feature stories helped me to detach from the grief during the week, but weekends were lonely. Too much time on my hands. So I drove.
The mountains surrounded me, and often on Saturday mornings I'd get up early, pack a few sandwiches and head out just as the sun rose. My little car hugged the road as I wound myself up the mountainside. I'd turn my radio up and sing. Billy Joel's Just The Way You Are was a hit during that time, and I'd think, "Oh God, I want someone to love me like that...I don't want clever conversation. I never want to work that hard. I just want someone that I can talk to. I love you just the way you are.
Psalms 120-134 all begin with words "A song to take you higher" or "A song of ascent" or "A song of the stairway...One Hebrew manuscript titles them "Songs of the Homeward Marches."~Footnote in The Passion Translation
A time of reflection. Like I've ascended an elegant staircase, run my fingers over the intricate wrought iron as I've climbed up. I'm paused on a landing. Leaning against the banister, remembering the steps I've taken over the years.
How can it be that I'm at this place so quickly? Retirement. I've been thinking about all the people I've worked with, colleagues and patients alike. I've said a thousand farewells already. I've felt the exhaustion of endings. "Even good change brings loss and discomfort simultaneous with hope and glorious anticipation of new beginnings," I remind myself.
Around the age of eight my voice began to get itself knitted up. By the age of sixteen the jamming had got worse, and my shyness wasn't helping things. What does a parent do? My father said, "All right, let's do it together" and I loved him all the more.~C.R. Milne
I gazed out the window, the rain beginning to speckle the pavement, the sky moody. I turned from the window and felt my dangling silver earrings brush the sides of my face. I'd fastened them on my earlobes that morning as a way to dress up the day. I wondered if that was even possible, the rain now pelting the roof. Thunder bellowing in the distance.
My sleep had been poor of late, I'd told my husband. Waking several times in the night, that awkward time in the morning when it's too early to get up, and the mind seems almost too sharp, thoughts scrambling around vying for attention. Then the alarm sounds just as you've drifted off. Not even the sparkly earrings could brighten my face enough to diminish the shadows under my eyes. I'd heard from a number of readers over the last weeks, too, telling me of their skirmishes with life--random accidents that had caused injury and pain, another exhausted from care-giving an elderly parent, job loss, health concerns with family members battling COVID, the enormity of loneliness during quarantine. A hurricane barreling right toward them. My meager problems regarding preparing to retire seemed like nothing.