ways of ice and dying

My mom just called me. Again.

This is a woman whose grey-blue eyes can be as cloudy as mount Sinai and yet fill so swiftly with tears for another. I cannot keep up.

“Hennepin County just issued a thin ice warning. Don’t go driving out there tonight.” She’s good at that. Reminding me to be afraid.

I receive this instruction while reading some Proverbs.

 “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
“Cease to hear instruction, my child, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

 Okay. I will listen.
But this too…

“The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm”
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man. but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. “

So I’m wondering. What’s the formula? How much instruction is really to my soul’s benefit? And how much can I really logically plan everything out? Where should my greatest fears fall, my strongest allegiances lie?

Where my musing led…

 To the woman who carried me first, and forever holds me.
Yes, Mother. I am afraid.

Afraid for my life–that the sunshine of close friends, hot coffee, warm hands holding mind–  it will all be lost. And the comfort of a wooden church bench, a memorized dirt path, your own hands cupping my face,—lost too.
Yes, Mother. We are not talking about driving on ice, anymore.

We are talking about walking on water.

About moving forward, towards Him, the Man whose hand is always outstretched.
He tells me it will be okay, to hold His hand (tightly now) and walk to where he’s hewn a hole in the ice. He did it once, too. Plunged in. The pain of feet, and hands, and eyelids growing numb, your whole mind and soul screaming for breath. But then, (He knows it’s true) the wavering orb of light that you watch on the surface,
it  falls,
ignites into flame,
comes and crowns you
to see and smell and hear and feel, again. Or for the first time.

And to You, The Lover of my Soul, I say,
I find I cannot walk to you.
Even with the winds and waves suffocated beneath the ice.
I can see the circle you drew in the snow. And  I know you will do the carpenter’s work and carve it when I come.

And to Me, the Lover says,
I will hold you as
we descend.



Kill fear. check these out



This story could be about suffering or pain. To me it’s about rest. I pray we all learn to truly–body, heart and soul– rest.

 I will make them lie down…

My father sits with his head down next to the hospital bed. His hand rests lightly on my forearm. It is just us, so when he speaks of his mother—her restfulness in life—he allows his eyes to run over.

I can feel where the synthetic tubes enter and leave me, can feel the cold fluids pass into me, the constant thrum of pain behind my skin, in tandem with my heart.
I can also feel his thumb. Moving slowly, moving in circles on my arm.
He will comfort me. This man without a mother.
“I’m sorry,” he says, “for the pain.”
I cannot speak, so together, we weep.

Come lie down in meadows green. Come lie
as only lovers
and those dying do.

She dies when I lie, fever beating behind my eyes, face and neck and eyelids swollen to shine red. She feels the expand—this earth’s air—filling her lungs for the last time.
I am glad for her going.

I will lie here and let all my bones–all my strength and sorrow– melt into you.

I have a choice, now.  I can fight to speak, fight to swallow without shuddering. I can let  thoughts of golden streets distract me–so I am never really here, never really hurting.
Or I can slip out of my tattered facade, leave it in a heap on the floor and own
my heavy robe of weakness.
I decide.
Feel my body and mind unravel into His chest. Feel the fraility of my simple, changing frame. He is always true,
today, in weakness, I am too.
I find my rest.


Things on rest (that I love): Hibernation, thoughts on rest from a friend, AND
this great poem by Mary Karr