Maybe they will think it is beautiful, too...

Last night the father of a colleague in ministry died - and today when we met for a lunch meeting HE brought ME lunch.  I didn't know about the death, of course, but it struck me again as I accepted his gentle hospitality that most of life is totally beyond our control.  At best, we can be present and show up for one another in love.

That struck me, too as I was making phone calls last week to some friends and partners in compassionate about whether they might be able to be present and share a few words of hope and encouragement during the 250th Anniversary Concert at First Church.  Each of the women I spoke to - women who are clearly partners and allies in the quest for the common good in this small community - were enthusiastic to be a part of the fun. In fact, their spontaneous support was humbling. It caused me to recall the time I met each one of them and how gracious they have been to me - and how valuable I hold them all in my prayers and gratitude.

I saw later that today would have been Lou Reed's 72nd birthday.  Something on Facebook put it like this:
I thought of the poem by Jane Kenyon:  "Otherwise."


I got out of bed
on two strong legs.

It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down

with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,

it will be otherwise. 

Tonight I will meet with a few dear people from my congregation at a small pub downtown to finish up my Sabbatical application.  It has been an emotionally demanding process - as any request for other people's money should be - but more so because the process has continued to rub at an as yet disclosed inner wound.  I like the way this Facebook offering put this whole day into perspective.
Soon it will be Ash Wednesday.  I read something last night about how everyone needs an Ash Wednesday - whether they are Christian or not - because it gives us permission to make room in our hearts for more love.  It is a house-cleaning of sorts that casts off fears and regrets and shames so that there is more room for grace and hope.

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