Lit a candle for Little Story, our miscarried baby, today during communion. Granted, I was leading worship, so yes, I lit his candle, but meanwhile I was explaining to the congregation how they could take these wooden incense sticks, light the end, then touch the tip to a tealight in memory of their loved one, after which I would be available at the altar to pray with them. I guess that’s part of being a pastor — you’re sort of worshiping, but sort of just helping others worship.
Today brought tears. Some of the tears were from worrying about how to survive the newborn stage in just a few weeks’ time. Some were from remembering Little Story. And some were probably just fatigue. But I have a good husband who is not afraid of my tears and doesn’t try to transform them into happiness. So as All Saints Sunday draws to a close, I feel spent but content.
“I’ll never ‘get over’ my miscarriage. I’ve stopped wanting to. I’ll carry it, instead. I’ll carry it and carry it and never put it down.”
– Beth Ann Fennelly, Great with Child, p. 98
Last Sunday in worship, we wrote down what we needed to leave behind, let go of, before we could take the next step Jesus is calling us to. I wrote “anger.” There has been resentment wearing away at my heart, for a couple months, and I know I can’t keep letting it rot in there.
Of course, several times this week — while thinking, while cooking, while showering, while driving — I picked the anger back up again. I told myself, “You left that on the altar. Don’t pick it back up.” But old habits die hard, and thought grooves get worn down in our brain, ’til those neural pathways are hardened arteries.
One thing that helps is doing a breath prayer, which I started right around the time the resentment began. I breathe the word “mer-cy,” one syllable per inhale, the other for ex. So when I tense up in anger, I remember I’ve already left it behind, and breathe through the prayer word instead.
I have about an 8% success rate.
I know it’s Lent, not Advent, but we just performed this song live on March 2 and I thought it could be worth sharing:
These lyrics were written in the hopeful early days of thinking about a child and expecting one. I would get up early each morning, go down to the basement, sit on the floor, and sing.
I watched a grandmother take her toddler granddaughter up for ashes. The priest said, “From dust you came, and to dust you shall return.” Afterward, the little girl kept wiping her eye. Some black dust must have fallen in.
I watched the grandmother carry the girl, wiping her eye, back to their seat.
“We are creatures destined to die,” says Stanley Hauerwas. And mothers consent to give birth to such creatures.
from Madeleine L’Engle’s beautiful memoir Two-Part Invention:
The Story of a Marriage
Which is worse — murdering someone, or refusing to forgive someone? I think she and George MacDonald might be right.
Should you put an app on your phone that will remind you, five random times a day, that you will die?
Just finished this essay by a man who installed the app to finally gain power not over his life and death, but over his iPhone. It achieved all of the above.
“And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”
– Jesus, Luke 12:25
The sermon is based on John 9:1-7. The title is “Everything Happens
for a Reason.” If you, too, are done with that saying, click here to listen to the person who inspired me to delete that phrase from my vocabulary.