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The Raggedy Man

My mom recited this poem to us from memory when I was a little girl. How I wish you could hear it in her voice! It must be read aloud. It really doesn’t make sense otherwise. Go ahead. I double dog dare you. Render it in the wide-eyed whisper of a little boy. Flavor it with an admiration and wonderment closely akin to worship. Not every Achilles is clad in gold.

The Raggedy Man

O the Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;
An’ he’s the goodest man ever you saw!
He comes to our house every day,
An’ waters the horses, an’ feeds ’em hay;
An’ he opens the shed — an’ we all ist laugh
When he drives out our little old wobble-ly calf;
An’ nen — ef our hired girl says he can —
He milks the cow fer ‘Lizabuth Ann. —
Ain’t he a’ awful good Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

W’y, The Raggedy Man — he’s ist so good,
He splits the kindlin’ an’ chops the wood;
An’ nen he spades in our garden, too,
An’ does most things ‘at boys can’t do. —
He clumbed clean up in our big tree
An’ shooked a’ apple down fer me —
An’ ‘nother ‘n’, too, fer ‘Lizabuth Ann —
An’ ‘nother ‘n’, too, fer The Raggedy Man. —
Ain’t he a’ awful kind Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

An’ The Raggedy Man, he knows most rhymes,
An’ tells ’em, ef I be good, sometimes:
Knows ’bout Giunts, an’ Griffuns, an’ Elves,
An’ the Squidgicum-Squees ‘at swallers the’rselves:
An’, wite by the pump in our pasture-lot,
He showed me the hole ‘at the Wunks is got,
‘At lives ‘way deep in the ground, an’ can
Turn into me, er ‘Lizabuth Ann!
Er Ma, er Pa, er The Raggedy Man!
Ain’t he a funny old Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

The Raggedy Man — one time, when he
Wuz makin’ a little bow-‘n’-orry fer me,
Says “When you’re big like your Pa is,
Air you go’ to keep a fine store like his —
An’ be a rich merchunt — an’ wear fine clothes? —
Er what air you go’ to be, goodness knows?”
An’ nen he laughed at ‘Lizabuth Ann,
An’ I says “‘M go’ to be a Raggedy Man! —
I’m ist go’ to be a nice Raggedy Man!”
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

*I have only included the stanzas I remember. You can see the whole of the poem HERE if you like.

Why Sometimes the Mommy Runs Away

“Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our lives are in danger. Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.”

~Henri J.M. Nouwen

Being a wife and a mommy is my favorite. It has been the primary focus of my life for nineteen years now. I adore my husband and children. I love making a home for them, listening to their stories and dreams and plans, welcoming their friends. I love hearing about their discoveries. I am grateful that they come to me in those moments when they are hurting. That they trust me. That they know I am safe. I hope they will always know that.

But every now and then, I run away from home.

Because I know…..to be the wife and mother I want to be…the friend I want to be…the person I was made to be…I sometimes need to be alone. I need silence. Outside and inside. I need to still the craziness around me, and the craziness that is me. I need permission to breathe slowly. To listen…to God…to my own soul.

My dear family has come to understand this about me. Whereas my children used to visibly grow uneasy when I left, they now encourage me to go. Not because they don’t like me. 🙂 But because they love me. And whereas I used to feel the need to defend these bits of solitude to my husband, he now pushes me to find time to get away. In fact, he is sending me away. Today. It is my birthday gift. Silence. Stillness. Best birthday gift ever.

So I will be off the grid for a few days. But I am leaving little gifts for you. Voices who sing silence into me, even in the midst of the craziness. Healing, nourishing, life-giving words. Pop back. I think you will like what you find.

~peace

 

Mangia

What if you had an uncle Nick who loved to cook? And what if  he stretched out long tables, covered them with linens and candles, and filled them with family and friends…and soon to be friends? And then, what if he seduced you for an entire evening with an endless succession of authentic Italian dishes, any one of which is worthy of an ode? And, imagine this: What if music had been his livelihood and he loved to belt out tunes while whisking his lovely bride around the dining room? Would you want to be part of an evening like that?

Welcome to Mangia Nashville!

Mike and I shared a table with Jen, Cathy, Scott, and the Presbyterian pescatarian. (Someone at the table misunderstood when he said he was a pescatarian and thought he said Presbyterian. We had so much fun with this, I have forgotten his actual name. Sorry!) We laughed and told stories and oooed and ahhhhed over each delectable creation as it came to us.

ANTIPASTI: We began with beautiful roasted red peppers graced with balsamic reduction and golden raisins. Then, against the gentle sweetness of the peppers, we were served fried olives stuffed with cheese. Crispy, salty, and wonderful. When our waiter delivered the mozzarella carrozza (mozzarella in a carriage) we all stopped eating and just gazed at it. Mouths watering. Crunchy breadcrumbs were the perfect counterpoint to soft, warm, rich mozzarella. An ornament of marinara completed the delirium. A table favorite. Finally there was Bruschetta served with Tuscan white bean dip. *Hint: if you still have red peppers, they are yummy with this.

INSALATA: A very good, authentic Caesar salad seemed almost anticlimactic after all this. But the arugula with citrus and shaved Parmesan was noteworthy.

PASTA: The rigatoni with beef short-rib Bolognese was delivered with a reminder to “pace yourselves”. This was the dish Scott had been most looking forward to, and it did not disappoint. The sauce was rich, but with an artful restraint. Then. Oh, then! Homemade potato gnocchi in pecan basil pesto cream sauce. I am salivating even now as I type the words. This was the dish Mike and I had both been dreaming of. Oh! My!! Soft little pillows of heaven so light they almost seemed to be made of vapor. Delicious vapor. Decadently dressed in a sauce that only added to the illusion you were eating the stuff of the gods. At this point I defied any dish to compare.

Perhaps I spoke too soon…

ENTRATA: First up of the entrees was a lovely rosemary lemon chicken that might very well be the star of most culinary explorations. But, you understand our palate had been so elevated by this point that we were quite snobbish. We sampled. We liked. But we had become serious about the pacing thing. Besides, we knew what was next… Veal osso buco over polenta. If there was a single pinnacle of the evening…and it seems almost blasphemous to even say that…this would be it. Every particle of the veal had been infused with the braising liquor. Even the bone marrow was scrumptious. Tender flesh against creamy rich polenta made for bites that had to be contemplated slowly. Lingered over. Treasured. Our pescatarian was, of course, happy to see the shrimp scampi. Jumbo shrimp in a refreshing lemon butter sauce made for a nice close to the savory portion of our meal.

DOLCE: It is lovely to be able to see the dishes as they line them up on the counter. You can begin feasting with your eyes before the rest of your senses get in on the action. Perhaps the most delightful to contemplate from afar was the St. Joseph’s pastry, a special offering that night in honor of the feast day of San Giuseppe (husband of Mary, earthly father of Jesus). Lighter than air pastry filled with cool, subtly sweetened ricotta. Yum! And finally, hot, fragrant zeppole served in a bag of confectioner’s sugar, just as you would buy them on a street corner in New York. I read a suggestion that this makes them a convenient take-home offering. Yeah, whatever.

Other bits and pieces: The Godfather plays soundlessly throughout dinner. At any time, if Nick is visiting your table, you can ask him to recite the dialogue and he will kindly, and passionately oblige. We asked. He obliged. He was fabulous!! We sang. We clapped. Mike and I were toasted because we were celebrating an anniversary. And in case your Italian is rusty, mangia means “to eat”.

Mangia Nashville is an experience. An experience of culinary artistry. An experience of family and friendship. An experience of joy.

Saturday nights only. Service is family style. Beginning in April, price will be $40 per person. Bring your own wine. Corkage fee of $5 per bottle. Make reservations by calling 615.538.7456 or email MangiaNashville@gmail.com. Every Saturday in March sold out, and the 26th is completely booked. So plan ahead. 🙂 Read what the Nashville Scene and Williamson a.m. had to say HERE and HERE.

Buon appetito!!

Remembering…

It was twenty years ago, today.

We were somewhere in the middle of the Kansas plains. Snow had fallen during the night, and dawn was breaking on an endless sea of white. We had been driving for hours. From Nashville to Denver to visit Mike’s brother and his family.

We were station surfing when we heard the announcement. In the mountains just outside San Diego, a private plane carrying members of Reba McEntire’s band had gone down. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. We stopped at the first pay phone we passed (you remember those?). Mike called home and there was already a message. Our friend Chris was gone.

Chris who shared my occasional cravings for fried bolgna sandwiches. Chris who played tennis every week with Mike. Chris who helped us muck out our basement when the water heater ruptured. Chris who was crazy mad about his beautiful bride, Trisha. Chris who seemed to see the whole world as a gift waiting to be unwrapped.

Chris who never said goodbye. It astonished me at first. We would be talking on the phone, and suddenly he would just not be there any more. Perhaps we had finished what we were talking about but…well, you know…that tell-tale sign that the conversation is over…yeah, he never used that. He would just be gone.

Ironic, I suppose.

We said goodbye to him on a bright, windy day. Cherry trees threw an exuberance of blossoms against an Appalachian sky. We could see for miles from his resting place high on a hill in Boone, NC. The service concluded with a song Chris had written. It was a fitting tribute to a man who had lived his short life well and had engraved himself eternally on our hearts. The chorus says this:

So let’s drink from a cool mountain river,
And make love ‘neath a blanket of snow.
If we make a lot of memories
as we’re growin’ old
We will take a lot of memories when we go.

 

We remember, dear friend. Always.

 

Band Tribute from Starstruck Entertainment on Vimeo.

Gift…

I have a “keep it forever” box. In it are gifts. Drawings and early scribbles from my babies. Love letters. Notes from my students. Cards from friends. Bits and pieces of one’s heart placed lovingly on paper and given to me. To an insurance adjuster it is worthless. But to me, it is priceless.

Today my husband and I have been married for 24 years. I would like to give him a keep it forever something. Last year I said thank you for the gift he has been to me. I thought this year it might be time to give something back.

So baby, these are my gifts to you:

I give you the gift of being heard. Your hopes, your dreams, your worries and hurts, your stories and jokes, your Snapple facts 🙂 … Share these with me. I’m listening.

I give you the gift of belief. Belief in who you are and who you can be. Belief in endeavors you wish to pursue. Belief in you as husband, father and friend.

I give you the gift of shared adventures. Whether racing up some mountain, navigating strange foreign cultures, trying crazy new foods, running all night, or something so wild we have not dared to imagine it yet, these I share with you.

I give you the gift of kind words. Words to you and words about you. I promise to be your biggest fan. Not blind. Not oblivious to challenges or faults. But honest enough and intentional enough to choose to acknowledge all that is good and true about you, to you and to others.

I give you permission to speak. Permission to speak hard words to me when needed. I do not promise I won’t be hurt. Nor can I assure you I won’t lash out at you. But I say to you that I need your input in my life. So if you are courageous enough, and I believe you are, say on.

I give you permission to not speak. 🙂 I give you the gift of long silent hours shared on the porch, or the beach, or a run, without the need to say anything.

I give to you my vulnerability. My hopes and dreams, my fears and worries. Not so you can fix them. But so you can know me. I trust you with me.

I give you the gift of years. Years to know one another better. Years to add to the deep well of our shared experiences. Years of laughter and tears. Years of sunsets, and chocolate, and dinners with friends. Years of watching our children build lives of their own. Years of playing with grandchildren. Years of ripening and deepening and becoming.

Happy Anniversary, Mike. I love you!

P.S. The chocolates at the top of the post are yours as well. 😉

So This is Love…

Love…the raw, earthy, sustaining sort…takes many forms. Recently, on a single weekend, several of those bumped up against one another in a most poignant configuration. I was so arrested by the beauty of it, the range, that I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Here, a snapshot…

Friends gather to shower my lovely daughter and her little one to be with gifts, with wisdom, and with love. Laughter. So much laughter. Knowing nods from young moms as she is given an enormous coffee mug. “Oh yeah, you’ll need that!” Cheers and amens for the gripe water. Ooos and ahhhs over ruffles, and pink, and soft, and sugar and spice.

And finally, a prayer. Hands on. Hearts open. Interceding for mom, dad, and baby. And my daughter is reminded that she is part of a community of women who have her back. Who are seeking God on her behalf…on behalf of her daughter. Who promise to be there for her, with her.

This is love.

Just after I return from the shower, we load up the fam and head for the airport. Bennett, Kali and Kaleb Green arrive this day. They will sleep this night in their forever home. It has been a long journey. Longer than the thousands of miles from Ethiopia to Nashville. For them. For their new family. Arduous. Costly. And completely worth all of it.

Love has done this.

Before ever I saw Rafik, I knew him. His was one of those names that showed up over and over as Kelsey talked about her first trip to Malawi. His was the solemn, cherubic face that somehow made it into so many of her photographs. The first time I saw him running toward us on his tiny little legs, I understood why. Ken Morris, the missions pastor who has led so many teams to Malawi, has this to say about little Rafik:

For the past three years, this child, this person with the purest of loves, did more to disarm teams of reticent, apprehensive, cautious Americans than any other single person in Adziwa. Rafik would quietly walk up to any team member who had empty arms. He would get their attention and then, with the warmest eyes and biggest smile, fling his arms over his head. Without saying a word his actions announced to the American guest, “I’m so glad you’re here, I really want to be your friend. Please pick me up!”

On February 18th, in the Lilongwe Central Hospital in Malawi, 4 year old Rafik died. Cause of death: “sores in the head”. Cause of death: Poverty.

Ken Morris again,

More than once I thought of Rafik and wondered what God had planned for this special young child. Would he be a teacher, a pastor, a community leader? I thought, “As we watch him grow up, there are some of us who could help him dream and consider options he otherwise would most likely never imagine.” Today I see that God had it in mind that Rafik would be the one to help us dream and consider options that we might not otherwise consider.

For many of us in America, the poor and vulnerable people of the world are little more than a statistic. For some of us, God has used Rafik to grab our hearts and connect us more deeply and personally with a community of orphans, widows and caring families who daily battle the many threats of poverty.

This too, then, is love.

Love is costly. Always. It is a cost worth paying. Always.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
~I John 4:7

 

*Shower photos copyright Angela Davis

Godspeed

Godspeed

Dusk is falling on the snow out of doors. It presses against the windows in shafts of deep indigo. Flames flicker in red glass before the icons. The stillness is deeper than night. We two are alone. He and I. A pillar burns at his head and at his feet. And I read…

Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!

I see him in other days. Reverently standing before the icons. His body weary with years, but his countenance radiant. Illumined from within. I hear his gentle voice in the liturgy, “For Thou art a good God Who lovest mankind and unto Thee we ascribe glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.” And I read…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

I remember him sitting across the table, eyes twinkling, as he recollected his childhood in Austria, and his vagabond days as a young man traipsing across Europe and India, collecting stories and seeing God with new eyes. I read…

I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

I did not know he was a potter. An iconographer. I wish I had known him better. This I do know, he was a man of great humility. Softly he moved among us.  I read…

He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.

For almost twenty-four hours someone has stood where I stand, reading the words of the gospels over him. A last gift to this man who has given so much. Standing with him…accompanying him on his journey…to the Presence of God.  I read…

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

In a couple of hours, the church will be packed with mourners. Six priests, some from neighboring parishes, will pray the funeral service over him, assisted by a host of deacons. We will sing of memory eternal. Then we will file before him one last time. We will bow before him as he has so many times bowed before us. We will kiss his hands, his face. Speeding him on to the great cloud of witnesses who beckon to him.

Godspeed, Father Seraphim! May your memory be eternal.

Father seraphim
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. ~Psalm 116:15

*Unattributed Scripture quotes taken from Luke 24 and the first 6 chapters of John, the portion it was my privelege to read.

A Blessing Unsolicited

It is not at all the way I imagined it would be…in those moments…when I dreamed for my daughter…recklessly…without bounds.  It is not the way I dreamed it for myself.  I always envisioned myself as an obnoxious grandmother…of the sort who would relate, in excruciating detail, each moment of the pregnancy, birth and childhood….to my long-suffering friends, as well as to blog readers, mere acquaintances, seat mates on planes, unfortunate cashiers….   Instead, we have eased into it…with fragility, and uncertainty…timidly feeling our way…one…step…at a time.

My daughter is having a baby.  She is eighteen.  She is not married.

I grieve for her.  I grieve for the fact that sadness and regret have wrapped their murky tendrils around a moment meant to radiate white-hot with joy.  I grieve because raising children demands so much of you in the best of circumstances.  And now, it will demand more.  And I grieve for her dreams.  Dreams that must be amended…or postponed…indefinitely.

And yet…..

Life is a gift.
ALWAYS.
Unanticipated. Perhaps.
Not asked for.
But Wanted.
Oh, yes!
Most assuredly
WANTED!!

And JOY persists…nudging, warming, and sometimes erupting into glorious raptures.  Because we have made a space for it.  Because we have learned, through follies of our own, that God takes a peculiar pleasure in transforming what seem to be impossible situations into vibrant displays of His glory.

I watch my precious daughter as she becomes particular about caring for her body to protect the baby.  I watch her dream and study.  I see her unfolding…like a blossom…the sweet, fragile beauty that has been clasped so tightly…unfurling.  I see the intensity of her love for this tiny one who she has never met growing her…stretching her.  And I know this will continue to call something out in her…will help her to find things in herself…she does not even know exist…yet.

I am not naive.  I know this will demand more of her than either of us can imagine.  But I keep asking myself my friend Gail’s favorite question, “What does this make possible?”  And, I confess, I find the possibilities exhilarating.

Friends and family members have exceeded our wildest imagination in the extravagance of their grace and love.  It has been good to see the people of God walk in their roles as lovers and redeemers.  It is another lesson in the power of community and in the futility of living alone.

So, we embrace our unsolicited blessing.  We see it for the marvelous gift it is.  We dream, and we giggle, and we indulge cravings, and we buy stuff, and we celebrate.  Be fairly warned; you have not heard the last of this little one.  I have a whole lot of obnoxious to make up for.

Little bit is to be a spring baby, due April 14th.

Meet my new love:

Baby

On Christ Without the Church

A number of years ago, Anne Rice–famous for her Vampire Chronicles series before vampires were all the rage–made the startling announcement that she had returned to the Catholic church, exchanging atheism for a life of faith.  Recently, she again surprised readers and fans, as well as the faith community, with this post to her Facebook fan page:

“For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”

IMG_3431

She makes a number of compelling arguments in defense of her decision in a recent interview with Christianity Today.  Though I respect her integrity in following her convictions, and though I identify with a great many of her frustrations, I find I cannot embrace her solution.

There was a time when I thought I could…when I very nearly did.  Several close friends and family members had been trampled upon by arrogant, thoughtless church leaders leaving them wounded and weary.  I had personally known deep disappointment in a community into which I had poured myself for years.  I began to see the Church as an impediment; something standing between Christ and me.

It has been a painful lesson, but I have come to understand that God uses “quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious” people in our lives for our salvation, just as He uses us for theirs.  They help that which is hidden in us bubble to the surface.  It’s not always pretty.  But, the Church provides a “safe” place for us to bump up against one another.  “Like iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Prov. 27:17)

I also find myself challenged, inspired, and nourished by the lovely folks in my local parish.  We feed one another.  We care for those who are hurting.  We rally around those in crisis.  We are family.

If I reject Christianity, with it’s contentious, judgmental, angry, abusive members, I also reject the thousands of believers who rush into disaster situations serving, feeding, clothing, building houses.  I reject organizations like Compassion International and World Vision who sustain and empower, one child, one family at a time.  I reject teenagers who work extra jobs so they can go love on kids in Africa.  I reject families who labor tirelessly to help orphans find their forever homes.

I confess, it is considerably more palatable to relate to a Savior who never snaps at you, who doesn’t wag on over dinner, who is not self righteous or needy.  But Christ made it rather clear that we have a responsibility to one another.  And, in his last recorded prayer, that tender lament in John 17, His fervent desire is that we be one.  It is impossible to become one with another while living in isolation.

So I’m in.   For the long haul. Do I wish we more accurately reflected Christ in EVERY action? Most assuredly!  But I hope I will always be humble enough to learn from those around me.  They have so much to teach me.

I close with words of another literary figure who had his own issues with the church.  An observation from C.S. Lewis:

If there is anything in the teaching of the New Testament which is in the nature of a command, it is that you are obliged to take the Sacrament, and you can’t do it without going to Church. I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off.

I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.


*All bolds in the post are mine, used for emphasis, including those in both quotes.

Forgiveness

Love8

Candles flicker.  Lights are dim.  The fragrance of incense hangs in the air.  And my priest bows…TO ME.  “Forgive me, a sinner.”  The humble dignity of this moment is too much for me.

The triumph of sin, the main sign of its rule over the world, is division, opposition, separation, hatred.  Therefore, the first break through this fortress of sin is forgiveness: the return to unity, solidarity, love.”
~Alexander Schmemann

A father kneels before his young daughter, standing next to me.  “Forgive me, a sinner.”   “God forgives you, and I forgive you.”  They embrace.  I realize I have forgotten to breathe.

Across the room, I see one sister stand before the other.  I can’t hear the words, but I know what they are saying.  I don’t know the stories each of them carries of the other…the hurts, large and small, known and unknown.  But the radiance in their faces as they hold one another, and as smiles turn to sweet laughter, say that the slate is clean…that all is as it should be.

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  ~Jesus  (Matthew 6)

My dear friend stands before me.  I think of all the ways I have failed her…all the ways I wish I had been a better friend.  “Forgive me a sinner.”  It feels so small…so simple.  Her eyes tell me all was forgiven before I even asked.

My Tuesday morning Bible study ladies…  As I approach each of them, I think of the prayers, the laughter, the tears, and the truth we have shared.  I am honored to bow before them.  They are my heroes.  “Forgive me…”

This evening’s Vespers ushered us into the Orthodox Lenten season.  It happened before our eyes.  The priests and deacons changed their outer garments to purple, and precious little girls put purple cloths under the icons.  The tones of the hymns became somber.  We were reminded that just as Adam and Eve were exiled from the garden, we are exiles.  We are far from Home.

But we are journeying.  Together.  Toward the Kingdom.  Toward Home.  We begin…clean.  Tonight, in one of the most moving services I have ever been part of, each person in the church bowed before every other person, one by one, and said, “Forgive me, a sinner.”

Who could know all the stories that lay under those words?  The hurt feelings, suspicions, misunderstandings…  But tonight, we humbled ourselves and proclaimed, one to another, I am sorry for my sinfulness.  I am sorry that I hurt you.  Please, forgive me.

It was astonishingly beautiful.  I couldn’t stop weeping.  I thought of how my heart grieves when my children hurt one another, and how sweet it is to see them reconciled.  I imagined God looking down upon so many of his children tonight as they were reconciled.  His heart must be glad.

“I pray for them…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  ~Jesus  (John 17)

We closed the evening singing a Paschal hymn. “Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.”  We sang it in hushed voices, knowing there is yet a long, treacherous journey ahead of us.  But the words fill us with hope.

I want to travel unencumbered by unsettled business.  I am asking myself, “Where are the other relationships in my life where I need to ask forgiveness?  And who have I not forgiven?”  Forgiveness is a gift I can choose to give, even to someone who has not asked for it.

How about you?  Is there a name that has already popped into your head?  Someone with whom you need to have a difficult conversation?  Today.

Forgive me.

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