Spread the Care

Fight the urge to withdraw, to fold in on yourself, as if your pain is contagious and might infect someone else. We are here to take care of one another; the care is what’s catching, spreading person to person to person. So take — and give — care.

KEEP MOVING.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 71

Photo: Bluebell Trail, Bull Run Regional Park, Virginia, April 8, 2021

Truly Good News

The truly good news is that God is not a distant God, a God to be feared and avoided, a God of revenge, but a God who is moved by our pains and participates in the fullness of the human struggle.

— Henri J. M. Nouwen, You Are Beloved, p. 105

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 2, 2021

Love With Skin On

We are being shepherded beyond our fears and needs to becoming our actual selves. This sucks and hurts some days, and I frequently do not want it or agree to it. But it persists, like water wearing through a boulder in the river. Hope springs from realizing we are loved, can love, and are love with skin on. Then we are unstoppable.

— Anne Lamott, Dusk Night Dawn, p. 190-191

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 30, 2021

Love Out of Proportion

Trust me on this: We are loved out of all sense of proportion. Yikes and hallelujah. Love reveals the beauty of sketchy people like us to ourselves. Love holds up the sacred mirror. Love builds rickety greenhouses for our wilder seeds to grow. Love can be reckless (Jesus is good at this), or meek as my dog, or carry a briefcase. Love is the old man in the park teaching little kids to play the violin: much time spent tuning, the children hearing their way into the key he is playing. My parents heard the key as success, security, moving expeditiously, and living as expected. But love lumbers like an elephant, it naps on top of your chest like a cat. It gooses you, snickers, smooths your hair. Love is being with a person wherever they are, however they are acting. Ugh. (A lot of things seem to come more easily to God.)

— Anne Lamott, Dusk Night Dawn, p. 190

Photo: Above Gundersweiler, Germany, April 22, 2000

Gifts of Each Season

Each season has its gifts. What did my life’s hardest season give to me? Most of all, belief in my own ability not only to come back after a long winter but to grow stronger, more alive. Belief that change makes everything possible. Belief in my own spring. In the meantime, thanks to the bare trees, I can see more sky. It’s a beauty emergency — all that blue through the branches.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 55

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 27, 2021

God With Us

Again and again you see how Jesus opts for what is small, hidden, and poor, and accordingly declines to wield influence. His many miracles always serve to express his profound compassion with suffering humanity; never are they attempts to call attention to himself. As a rule, he even forbids those he has cured to talk to others about it. And as Jesus’ life continues to unfold, he becomes increasingly aware that he has been called to fulfill his vocation in suffering and death. In all of this, it becomes plain to us that God has willed to show his love for the world by descending more and more deeply into human frailty.

— Henri J. M. Nouwen, You Are Beloved, p. 93

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 26, 2021