I was a pebble, small but strong.

From where I sat, I clearly saw my place, and

those around me knew me, as I did them—

as light as song and as sure as breath.

It was community,


a fixed place in a wide world of opportunities.

But time went on, moment after day after year, and the view widened ever more.

It became harder to see the edges as light blurred.

Waves beat and wind blew.

Some pebbles shifted right and left, front and back, up and down, and soon

familiar was a memory and

distance seemed farther away.

Did I get smaller and smaller, or did context get bigger and bigger?

The bigger has swallowed me up—my pebble self is a grain, unimportant and invisible in this big, wide world. And I thought all along I mattered.

Maybe I was never important.

Maybe there never was a mission, because for now I have become a mere placeholder that no one sees anymore.

I am but a breath—a grain of shifting sand, a whisper on the wind, a phantom in the land. Show me, oh my Lord . . .


Psalm 39:4-7 (NIV)

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.

“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
    in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you.


Psalm 90:12

Teach us to number our days,

 that we may gain a heart of wisdom.



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Darkness Moves

The darkness moves toward morning—sun and moon in their cycles,

and I in my bed lie awake with the constant thrumming of words in my head.

My body tosses and turns; my words toss and turn, and

sleep is an enemy, crouching far off, taunting.

Pain is magnified in the dark with no distractions. And

the aching in my head beats rhythm to the beats of my heart and the beating that I am giving my soul for regrets as

darkness moves toward morning.

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A Preface to My Profound Political Speech (Keeping It Real!)

First, thank you to all my fans and the planted vocal support placed throughout the crowd to give the illusion that I have more going for me than I do.

I would like to thank my speech writers for the rousing, articulate diatribe I am about to recite. As politicians from the last century and this can testify, without you, the world would know that my handlers think I am incapable of presenting cogent arguments on this stage, let alone present truths that are worthy of electing me to the power and position I so earnestly crave. Of course, if they plagiarize the content, I have plausible deniability since I only saw the speech last night, and my views are so fluid they assume I will need to include material that has already had a favorable hearing.

Thank you also to my handlers who coached me as to when I should raise my voice, sweep my hand, and shed a tear. The subtle pinch I give myself at various points is a very effective way to generate a tear without feeling that much emotion. (Pulling out nose hairs works, as well, but is harder to do in public.)The tight knot in the tie at my throat enables me to get very red-faced and sweaty at moments of righteous indignation.  The “pause for effect or laughter” notes on the teleprompter are also a great help in reminding me to give space for my “plants” to insert the proper response, and by imitation and inspiration, influence the innocents around them into brainlessly jumping on this popular bandwagon.

Please know that if I had to write my own material, I would not have become this successful, so join me in giving credit where credit is due–as long as they do not get my substantial paycheck and as long as they also take all the blame for any errors in construction and content. And now to begin . . .


It is with great humility and transparency that I accept your rallying support, adulation, and finances on this historic day! . . .

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It Doesn’t Take Much

It doesn’t take much to shake confidence.

Brick by brick, you structure a world with truths and practices you trust are best—


guaranteed with positive outcomes.

And then the slight shift,

the murmur of doubt.

It doesn’t take a crushing blow—only the soft winds of uncertainty,

the weighted air of disappointment. And collapse threatens.

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A Little Bit About That

It is much more comfortable to make my own decisions.

When others make them for me,

even if I would have come eventually to the same conclusions,

there is a pain and a sense of betrayal in having been decided for. In having been shaken loose and rearranged.

I prefer to hold on till the discomfort helps me decide to let go. But

this prying away by sudden force feels like

violence. And I hurt.

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Hope Spreads Wings

Life and death balance on a tenuous thread— the start and the end of things, the start and end of every moment.

Birth sparks and hope spreads wings.

Each moment by moment breath of life steadies itself on a mix of potential and conclusion, and then


life dwindles, and each cell pushes for that last glimmer; then,

hope spreads wings.


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I Wonder

Do you ever wonder about all those people you have crossed paths with, crossed wills with,

and do you ever wonder what it will be like to spend eternity with them—those who pressed all your wrong buttons and abused your good nature?

They believe the same as you—except for all the details of doctrine where you are right and they are wrong.

But that should not keep them out of heaven, right?

It’s easy to segregate from the unfaithful, of course; that us-them thing works much more efficiently there. But it’s the faulty faithful I have trouble seeing alongside me as I walk on blissful shores. It is much more comfortable to see them in my mind’s eye punished for all the insensitivities, the lies, and . . . I think they were lies.

But then again . . .

Do you ever wonder when you accidentally meet up in a shop or accidentally stalk their Facebook page whether or not they have changed—whether they are sorry for the wrongs and whether they are properly chagrined at how they refused to value your wisdom and gentle spirit?

Do you wonder how God could love them the same as He loves you when their diminished character kind of makes you ashamed to call them brother and sister?

I wonder as I blunder.


“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8


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My Book of Uncommon Prayers: Numb

There is a numbness after so many shootings,

so many senseless deaths, so much brazen brutality.

How many lives,

how many more mayhem moments?

So much fear. But

it is like you have to distance yourself from it to feel secure. It was another state, another city far away. It was mostly Hispanics and blacks, and I’m not. It was mostly gay people, and I’m not. It was in Florida, and I’m not, so

I will it to feel other

so I can believe that my little world is still safe.

But is it? When they come for one, they come for all.

When one suffers cruel injustice, we all do.

Lord, help.


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I Process with My Pen


149 - Copy

I process with my pen,

its inky laughter and tears spilled in vowels and consonants and grammatical scraps.

Through fingertip to paper, the thoughts pinging off the inside of my cranium find

form and voice; and

if it were not so, the thoughts would escape disjointed and be lost,

part of the myriad muffled conversations in the universe that buzz and buzz—

the white noise of life.

It’s like living under high voltage power lines. So I write

to capture the meaning of things,

to process the jumble of my mind that keeps me thinking,

waking and sleeping,

and try to make sense of it all—well, maybe not all,

but at least me.

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The You That’s Me

There is a grieving for opportunities past, opportunities lost. It’s like the world moved on when you just stepped off momentarily to take a quick look—and it’s gone. Not the world,

but the world you thought you knew.

There is a grieving for the identity you had carefully (or maybe not so carefully) nurtured—okay, it kind of just happened,

but the happening seemed real and sure until one day you woke, and you realized you are not important anymore. Well, maybe you weren’t before, but at least you thought you were. Didn’t the world somehow revolve around you?

You are patronized that you can do some things well—and at your age!

When you are young, those things you do well are fuel for an ever expanding future—the first step to a waiting, dazzling world, begging for your grand entrance with its greatest hits.

But those same skills and gifts at 60-something are quaint, anomalies in a fading body and aching mind.

You have had to step aside for all the young, pushing from the rear—

because the utilitarian you is now seen as an impediment to the dreamers closing in.

And you are known more for your aches than your art—

more for your halting step than your racing mind.

Wisdom is underrated by the young; but

for all you have lost, that you have indeed gained,

but there is something muddled in this system when you finally have a substantive message but have lost your audience.


II Corinthians 4: 7-8, 16-18:

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.

 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

[new blog–>]

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