God looks upon us and perhaps he sees

a trembling leaf folding in the rain

He sees, in all of our capability, a fragility.

We are dying in clusters now, laying low

and allowing fear to make us mean and disparaging

toward one another, as we try to make sense

of the senseless, we try to give voice to our limping hope.

In the distant horizon is a sun-sized moon and remembrance

of when we could run and when we believed so big in ourselves,

thinking we believed in God.

I think I will stand before God tonight with all of my wrinkles,

with make-up off, and I will celebrate the end of me that is

the beginning of God; my weaknesses that lay bare like open

trees, my voice cracking and soft and devoid of meaning.

Perhaps we can become like prayer, vacuous sounds that rise up

into a blank sky, that tell us nothing, yet fill us and equip us

to accept and to love and to heal.


When you miss someone

and that feeling is new

you can pinpoint the hole left in the place of daily filling

acutely aware, no beauty goes without notice

breath and friendship not taken for granted,

your mind can move forward and back at grief’s bidding,

it feels like paralysis and flight all at once

Every day, the face of the Earth loses a speck

and gains another, but I do not. I gain much from my loss–

words already spoken, a faith now cradling my restless head,

the significance of ordinary things. Is it marking time?

Or is it grabbing the colors of a universe bent upon painting

and framing the eternal in each one of us? When you miss someone

your soul is on fire, you know life in a singular way

you pick up the pencil and you trace the shapes.



These two are those friends…

The ones who read your blog when no one else does.

The ones who drive over in the dead-end of night to help you through tragedy, who make Amtrak reservations because you just lost your parents in a plane crash and cannot bring yourself to get on a plane.

The ones who cry at your 25th anniversary wedding vows on a cruise ship to Alaska while the inebriated ship captain with the “Princess-bride” lisp mispronounces you “huthsband and wife.”

Those friends. The ones who invite your daughter, who is struggling at school, over once a week for sewing lessons. The ones who watch your baby for the weekend so you can attend a marriage retreat and baby pukes on their new carpet and they don’t mind at all.

She was the one who brought a basket of freshly-baked muffins to my house the day our oldest son left for college. They were the first ones to hold our youngest as a tiny preemie.

Once when I shared with her how disconnected I felt from my own extended family, and how painful that was for me, she labeled herself as my “sister” on facebook.

They are those friends, who have called each of our four children on their birthdays and sung them the “Happy Birthday” song every year of their lives since our kids lost their grandparents. The prayers for my children are like jewels strung from their hearts, now all the way to heaven, where I know she will still be praying for them.

When it comes to faith, I am confident that I possess belief in spades, belief that will endure no matter what. But these friends, these friends have more than that. Together, they were a dynamo of love together, full of grace and acceptance and humor and fun. They led, always, with their hearts. And they held on to you in such a way that you knew there must be a reason for everything and a God much bigger than reason.

They were our card-playing friends. Easy to laugh with. Easy to cry with. The only thing they ever judged was barbecue. Christ-like yet authentically flawed and human, always pointing to Him as their strength and reason for living.

You know. Those friends. Two of our greatest gifts. Today, we say goodbye for now to her.