Mercy beyond the Pale

“Ever let mercy outweigh all else in you. Let our compassion be a mirror where we may see in ourselves that likeness and that true image which belong to the Divine nature and Divine essence. A heart hard and unmerciful will never be pure.” St. Isaac of Syria For a long time now I’ve looked over the landscape of the world, this country, this city from the safety of my small, cramped…

The Wilderness Journal: Quiet

When I was a kid, late at night I’d lie awake in my bed and stare out the window of my room, counting the stars, listening to the wind, thinking. I had words and songs and fears running through my head. I remember, lying there, saying to myself, “stop thinking! You have to sleep!” as if there was another person upstairs in my brain operating some controls, and they just needed me…

Under Construction: St Ephrem of Syria

I’m grateful today to point you to Sojourner’s once again to read my short essay on St. Ephrem, construction traffic and my muddled brain. Rest assured, I am taking my daily vitamin supplements that promise right there on the package that they aid in failing memory* All in all, it’s been a strange couple of weeks around here, what with the random illnesses that come with a change in the odd Chicago…

Flesh and Blood: Making Contact

It’s been a crazy month or two, what with the last, lingering vestiges of the school year for my kids, finishing the manuscript for Garden in the East, adopting a puppy (the most adorable puppy ever) and finally making contact, in real life, with cyber pals at the Ancient Faith Retreat this past weekend. It’s always nice to see people I know only online in real life, to put flesh to a Facebook…

The Benefits of Doing it Wrong

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” –Frederich Buechner My writing style is sometimes described as “confessional” and that seems about right. I want to be honest and vulnerable in my work. When I sit down to put things to paper, I don’t hold back in that first draft. I put it all down there. The second draft is where I ask myself whether I really…

Mother’s Day Gifts

My youngest son, Miles, gave me a head cold for Mother’s Day. I felt it coming on last night as we sat together in the park near our home and watched a lighted parade of bicycles dressed as bison. My husband has a small non-profit street opera company called Opera-matic, here in Chicago and this odd, but beautiful parade was a part of a gathering they organized with the people in the…