After our twin daughters died, mothers from all over wrote to me. They had lost babies before birth, after birth, in childhood, and beyond. They wrote to me with love and compassion, empathy’s impulse to reach out in shared suffering, even to a stranger.
Before I had children, I had a hazy image of life with kids. I don’t think I idealized it as pure ease and smooth delight, but the montage of pictures that would flash through my mind looked much more like parenting’s “best of” reel.
I first heard of lectio divina when I started graduate theological studies. Thankfully, I was blessed to study with the Benedictines, who are steeped in this prayer practice (which St. Benedict wrote about in his Rule dating back to 500). So I learned from wise sisters and brothers how to make this “holy reading” of scripture part of my prayer life. And I’ve been grateful ever since.
I plopped the baby on the ground beside me, mail already scattered across the grass like clumsy confetti. He lunged for the letters; I snatched them up and sighed. A long, muggy summer afternoon; too-hot kids whining about everything under the sultry sun and still hours to go before dinner.
The baby grabbed the envelopes again. I gave in. Junk mail; who cares, he was happy. So I reached for the magazine instead.
I finally tossed the stack of papers into the recycling bin, the post-op instructions we brought home after surgery. That laundry list of every possible complication and horrific side effect, the worries you watch for like a hawk when you first come home from the h
I was 12 years old and away at summer camp for the first time. She was the counselor assigned to my cabin. I remember her long dirty blond hair, wavy and wild. Her weathered hiking boots and the lilac shirt she tied around her waist each morning.
Her birch-bark name tag read Marion, but we all chose French pseudonyms for our two-week cultural immersions.