Hope and heartache on this side of the grave

I understand that my death could come any day. My own life experiences have etched this understanding into the channels of my heart. I carry a consciousness of my mortality into all my ordinary actions. Knowing that the potential of death looms nearby influences what I think about, dream about and do with my days.Continue reading “Hope and heartache on this side of the grave”

The familiar, the new and discernment for daily living

I’ve been wondering: is anything ever totally new? Some say that every seven years we have new bodies — all new cells. The saying, though, is a myth: brain cells aren’t replaced; we keep them our entire lifetimes. No matter what’s new, and no matter what’s familiar, when our world shifts and moves, how do weContinue reading “The familiar, the new and discernment for daily living”

Wonder in the wilderness

Over 25 years ago, I was a bruised and bug-bite-dotted scrawny girl, wonder-eyed and singing loudly in the middle of an Iowan prairie with a crowd circling a glowing fire. The day was dimming around us, crickets chirping through the tall blades of grass, the stars slowly becoming visible in the navy-blue night sky. ThenContinue reading “Wonder in the wilderness”

Teilhard in the age of Trump

I was first introduced to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s cosmology at a bar in Wisconsin. I was a recently graduated senior out to eat with my parents, drinking a beer in public for the first time. I was still 18, but in western Wisconsin the legal drinking age is as obfuscated as Teilhard’s arduous writing.Continue reading “Teilhard in the age of Trump”

Compass

i’d like a compass with you at the north and my sisters in the west   i’ll keep it in my pocket and take it out for direction when i can’t remember the skin i’m in or the rhythm of my own song   to the south are the mountains, pink rhododendrons and sweet teaContinue reading “Compass”

Redefining faith on El Camino

Since high school, I’ve been teaching the Christian faith to others. In parishes, classrooms, and while camping in the woods, I’ve taught songs, explained Bible stories, instilled virtues and asked students to memorize definitions and lists. And, occasionally, over the years, a thoughtful youngster in one of those settings would interrupt my enthusiastic lectures andContinue reading “Redefining faith on El Camino”

Praying with my feet: called to El Camino

For over a thousand years, millions of pilgrims have walked across Spain to the Catedral de Santiago (Cathedral of St. James). During Holy Week, I will become one of those pilgrims. This Lent, much of my energy and prayer has been focused on preparing for this pilgrimage. During this, I have found that God hasContinue reading “Praying with my feet: called to El Camino”

Trains in heaven: Embracing the mystery

About a week before I professed my final vows, in the summer of 2015, I had a crisis of faith. During a private retreat in a quiet cabin, I was tucked into a recliner, blankets snuggled around me. I stared out a wide window toward a vast lake — not a lake I know well;Continue reading “Trains in heaven: Embracing the mystery”

Lessons learned from my students

A few weeks ago I saw my first “Back to School” flier of the season. In the past several years, such fliers stirred up emotions of stress and panic for me, along with excitement. As a teacher, back to school sales served as glaring reminders that I had a lot to do. This time, theContinue reading “Lessons learned from my students”

His church and mine: A love story

“So, you’re Catholic, but you’re married to a Lutheran pastor. How does that work?” I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been asked this question in my seven years of marriage. Depending upon the inquirer, I have a few canned answers that easily roll off the tongue, but the simplest and most genuine is this: “ByContinue reading “His church and mine: A love story”