Serenity Now: A Prayer for Parents

Help me accept the things I cannot change
Grant me the courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
— The Serenity Prayer

The last time I saw my therapist, he gave me an assignment.  We’d already talked about family and life, and family life, when he turned toward his calendar in a way that I knew meant: “Time’s up”.  So we scheduled another appointment.  And then as I got up to leave, he said to me, like a priest assigning Hail Mary’s after confession,

Continue reading “Serenity Now: A Prayer for Parents”

Whose Heritage?

[based on research by Southern Poverty Law Center]

This was originally published a few years ago but recent events – repeated events – are causing me to dig in again, and I know many of you are too. When I take the short-view of Race in America – this week, this year, this decade – I respond with words like, “Shocked”, “Surprised”, and “Where did this come from?”.  With those responses, I no longer need to tell you my skin is white. You already know. 

Because none of this is a surprise to People of Color, as I’m hearing time and again.  My surprise doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening, it means I wasn’t listening. The re-post below (with some editing) written after a 2017 Unite the Right rally at a confederate memorial in Charlottesville, shows but a few more strands that look different when seen as part of the whole.  At least, I went into it thinking it was only a few strands… Continue reading “Whose Heritage?”

The Connecting River

As she drives from Atlanta, away from a city church in the city lights, the darkness frames a distant memory: stars.  Not just the dippers, but “stars between stars, a virtual curtain of stardust upon which the larger constellations were hung.” She’s following these stars to a one-room white clapboard church where she will become its first female rector.  She’s also driving away from a certain striving – which it turns out, will follow her anywhere.

LeavingChurchThis beautiful book by Barbara Brown Taylor (BBT) offers a rare transparency from a person inside the clerical robes.  The countryside speaks to her faith. Its pages are full of spiritual honesty and earthy appreciation, as if Henri Nouwen were lost on a nature walk with Mary Oliver. Continue reading “The Connecting River”

After It Ends

Yoga class, late sun in the window, glowing onto my face. I’m at work, of all places, in a bright conference room with chairs pushed to the walls. The instructor’s voice is quieting now. Lying back in Savasana pose, a screen of sunlight across my lower eyelashes is more blinding than enlightening. Squinting, I see the Sycamore trunk outside is dappled with patches of color like an oil painter’s melancholy palette.

It’s an ending, he is saying, every new beginning is. Yoga is the balance of opposites, and there is no moment like this one. As this practice ends, the rest of the evening begins, he says, and think about how you will live it.

To me, it’s bigger than an evening. I’ve been told I have just three months Continue reading “After It Ends”

Unbundling My Bias

“Let me first say that I am biased now and always will be,” Rob said, after I finally found the guts to call him.  It seemed safe to confide in him since he lived so far away.

I called hoping Rob would know how I felt – since he had also spent time in a close-knit Christian community that didn’t – on paper – approve of his daughter’s sexual orientation.  I was still in the early stages then, not yet talking locally about it but needing to know I wasn’t alone.

He did know how I felt, and talked me through it.  Continue reading “Unbundling My Bias”