Isaiah 43:2

This day,
this step,
this path:

you have set me here
so then here I will walk
at my best, to your glory.

Let the storms wash my soul clean,
let the fires be harnessed for warmth,
let the raging river inspire passion not fear

For the LORD is with me as I pass through the waters.
By God’s mercy, the river shall not overwhelm me.
Even in the reckless fires, I will not be consumed.


Holy Comforter, Living God, Healing Jesus,
I really wish your soothing comfort kicked in faster
like the immediacy of morphine or a fast-acting Tylenol.
There are days when I would prefer to eliminate the ache
of caring, the brokenness of loving, the heartbreak of seeing.

You too, God?

For a friend

In the year after your death, there were flowers and a new baby. Perhaps the flowers were nothing unusual, but still it was a surprise to see them — stars of purple and cobalt shining with hope through the gray fog of springtime in Maine. The new baby was hope, too, with bright eyes that captivated and distracted us from our mourning.

In the year after your death, we still cried — sometimes a quiet tear, sometimes choking sobs — but we laughed too. It’s always a miracle to discover laughter after death. Your death wounded us in such a way that we felt joy more keenly.

But still it was joy.

Most of all, O LORD…

Most of all, O LORD, forgive us…

for we have not learned the lessons of last year, let alone the lessons of our histories, and we are still aiming for the holy grail of self-preservation to the neglect of loving our neighbors.

Most of all, O LORD, be full of grace…

for those we injure and ignore because we are so certain that the best thing we can accomplish in the new year is to lose 10 pounds, update our wardrobes and secure a decent tax rate.

Most of all, O LORD, break our hearts…

for we have lost the collective discipline of weeping and gnashing our teeth, opting instead for finger-pointing and name-calling and gerrymandering for political popularity.