Easter: Honest doubt and militant hope

“Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never more than a single grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But […]

Lent: Suspended in midair

“There comes the moment when you must let go and trust that you will be caught.” That was one small part of the description a friend gave of her training for the trapeze. Doing the training fulfilled a bucket list item for her. She is not a circus performer. She’s a nurse. In her talk […]

Lent: Unlearning parenting, Part 2

My role as a parent has changed significantly over the 33 years I have had the job. I am no longer on duty hour by hour. Instead I am more of a relief pitcher, called in when my particular skills or experience are needed. But it seems I am always on the bench, warmed up […]

Lent: Unlearning parenting

The idea of unlearning keeps coming up for me during this season. Unlearning involves so much: letting go of old and comfortable ideas and stepping into something new. That involves relinquishing control. Well, I don’t really relinquish control. I relinquish my illusion of control. Unlearning parenting is one of the hardest for me for two […]

Lent: Remembering MY impermanence

I have written about impermanence for two days now. It occurred to me this morning that my writing has been about the impermanence of others. I, too, am impermanent. Several years ago I read a book, A Year to Live, an interesting book about how you might approach your life if you had only one […]

Lent: Remembering our impermanence, Part 2

When I was a psychotherapist, we had staff meeting discussions on several occasions over the years about the relative merits of time-limited therapy and open-ended therapy. This pertains to Lent, but some background is needed. Because the Counseling Center served a population of 40,000 students and the demand for our services was always high, we […]

Lent: Remembering our impermanence

A few years ago I was given the task of burning the palm leaves from Palm Sunday. The ashes were to be used for the next year’s Ash Wednesday service. Growing up Southern Baptist, I did not know of that tradition. “Cool, I’ll be happy to,” I replied. So on the Wednesday evening after Palm […]

Lent: Palm Sunday, unlearning greatness

Today is Palm Sunday. Christian churches everywhere will be commemorating the day Jesus and his followers entered Jerusalem in what we have come to call his “triumphal entry.” Children will process down the aisles waving palm branches, the organ will play loudly, and congregants will sing. Despite the legends we have built around this event, […]

Lent: Intentional grieving

An idea I used in my grief therapy when someone felt stuck and unable to access their feelings of grief was to suggest “intentional grieving.” I suggested they not wait for the sadness to hit, but to do some things that invited the sadness. I encouraged them to do something that would put them in […]

Lent: Shedding our skin

Experiencing leg aches as I described a couple of days ago is an apt metaphor for the necessary pain of physical and spiritual growth. The world of entomology provides the most helpful metaphor to me: an insect shedding its skin. Insects do not have internal skeletons. Instead they have an exoskeleton, a hard outer skin […]