A Word about Suffering

Ok, fine– many words about suffering… A quick search on the topic of suffering brings out the heavy hitters– Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. Helen Keller Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. Khalil Gibran And that’s not even tapping into our massive supply…

Short Trip to the Edge: A Pilgrimage to Prayer

“And then I was standing at the edge. It would surprise you how near to home. And the abyss? Every shade of blue, all of them readily confused, and, oddly, none of this as terrifying as I had expected, just endless.” –Scott Cairns “Short Trip to the Edge”   Well, first off, I don’t generally “review” books. Let’s just be clear about that. Reviews can be so subjective, and what one person…

Poetry and Liturgy and Holy Week

  “Poetry is when language attains a degree of opacity, and you can’t see right through it.” This quote came from my pal, Scott Cairns when I asked him to talk about the intersection of poetry and liturgy. I was fortunate to have gathered a small posse of smart Orthodox poet-types and ask them questions at the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids . Much wisdom came forth from Scott, Gaelan…

Notes On Parenting: Everything works for five minutes

On the top shelf above my desk, I have a collection of framed photos of my husband’s family, my family, our family together. I see the curls Dave sported as a child echoed in my daughter’s hair when she was six. My own kid hair– straight as a poker– frames my middle son’s face in one photo. The pictures stacked one in front of the other so that when I look up…

Notes from the Road

I’m not going to lie. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to be a writer whose work is predominantly “spiritual nonfiction” in this day and age. I aim for the beautiful, even in the ashes. I aim to write about the struggle in such a way that we manage to find the path back to the road, even so. I want to find the road. I think most of us do. We know…

Love of the Beautiful

“Lord Jesus Christ, my God, You have said, “Apart from me You can do nothing.” In faith I embrace Your words, Lord, and I entreat Your goodness. Help me to carry out the work I am about to begin, and to bring it to completion. To You I give glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.” -Orthodox prayer before beginning any task My hope for this new year is to finally finish…

Blank Walls, Deep Wells, Resolutions

It’s not really blank, you know. There are variations in the paint, chips here and there, maybe a faded handprint, if I look real close. I might spend too much time looking at it real close, finding the variations, finding the handprint. I forget, in those times of looking close, that the wall isn’t the thing. I stare at that blank wall for a long time, thinking about how to fill it,…