Waking Anxious, Underwater

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7   I woke up feeling anxious. It happens like this sometimes. I go to bed feeling fine. I sleep well. I might even stumble around after waking for a few minutes,…

Always Standing

I am getting familiar with the words so I am sitting down. In fact, I am sitting on my bed in the middle of a sunny Sunday afternoon, avoiding doing anything I had on my long list of things to do after Liturgy. I tell myself it’s a “day of rest” and all that. It feels legit. I pick up a prayer book given to me by a friend and begin to…

Running

Remember when I said I don’t like to run? I mean, there’s a whole chapter in Garden in the East on exercise in which I make it super clear that I don’t like to run and that I am NOT going to run. I do other things. I enjoy Pilates and weight training. I’ll even sign up for Flamenco classes if the mood strikes, but I don’t like to run. Oh. Um.…

Sentinel

The task of wisdom is to prompt the intelligence to strict watchfulness, constancy, and spiritual contemplation. -St. Hesychios My back hurts thinking of standing at the door and watching. The pain resides in my lower back and climbs up my spine to the upper back. My shoulders round forward, protective. I want to roll forward, stretch that spine, fall to the floor, take a nap. When we stand, though, and train ourselves…

Gathering In

In a few weeks, we’ll say goodbye to our house in Tennessee. We bought it back in 2005 after selling our bungalow in Chicago for more money than we could imagine. It was the height of the real estate market, just before the bubble burst. We decided to slow down our lives a little. The kids were small and we felt like the city was closing in on us. The place in…

Context and Spiritual Insecurity

“Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity.” ―Thomas Merton This quote comes up in my Twitter feed almost weekly. It always seems to catch me when I’m in a grumpy mood. That said, these days I’m always cranky when I read Twitter. I need to change my feed– or I need to change my habit of checking Twitter. This quote is out of context, and as such, it conveys a terrible message…

Inquiry Seeking Wisdom

The first piece of creative non-fiction I ever had published appeared in Saint Katherine Review. The journal was new and the editor at the time was my friend, Scott Cairns. Back then, though, we didn’t know each other very well, so the fact of our acquaintance didn’t hold much sway. And, in truth, I didn’t send that piece to SKR because Scott was the editor, I sent it because Kathleen Norris was…