Morning Moon

This morning, the moon glows round and full through the French doors and I lean my forehead against the window, watch as a slow-moving cloud glides over the shine. My breath is a vapor, condensing on the cool of the glass, and isn’t this what James tells me I am? What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
I press my thumb in the middle of that beading bit of moisture. My thumb leaves a wet hole in the midst of that cloud.
I can touch this misty life.
As sure as there is breath moving in and out of me, the vapor of it leaves a residue on my fingers. I leave fingerprints on this world.
This morning, I am reading the Beatitudes. Barclay has a lot to say about the poor in spirit. But it is the bliss of the broken-heartedthat whispers beauty into this cracked vessel today.

 “… The Arabs have a proverb: ‘All sunshine makes a desert.’ The land on which the sun always shines will soon become an arid place in which no fruit will grow. There are certain things which only the rains will produce, and certain experiences which can only come out of sorrow … when sorrow comes, we are driven to the deep things of life, and, if we accept it aright, a new strength and beauty will enter into our souls.”

I can make a choice to accept it aright. I want to. For I know, this is where God comes close. Even James said it—humble yourself before the Lord. This surrender, this bending of my vaporous life … this is where sorrow and grief touches this broken world and leaves fingerprints that are not easily wiped away.
The morning moon watches as my breath makes white lace on the window. This mist—this life—it tendrils out into the world, settling into the low places, the dry places, wherever the shadow falls. Bent low, leaving behind only the holy that God wills.
With Jennifer today:
 And Emily:


It was a terribly awful Sunday and I cried on and off all afternoon and into the evening when Jeffrey asked me if I would come up early to tuck him in so we could snuggle for a while.

You never snuggle with me anymore.

So I put aside the hurt I felt and climbed the stairs to enter into soft boy-skin and a tangle of legs and arms. We snuggled.

Do you want to say the prayer tonight?

I asked it because I hoped he did, because thinking about God made me cry again, and my heart felt tender still from the fresh wounding.

Okay, he said. And he did. And this is how he started:

Dear God, he said. Thank you for all the blessings and even for the bad things because we know they’re here for a reason. Thank you for today…umm…we all had a pretty good day of it. (Really?) Yeah, pretty good.

And he went on, asking for blessings, giving thanks, praying from his heart. I was silenced by his beginning, but it gave me hope so I asked,

What do you want more than anything in the world?

He didn’t even hesitate.


I looked at his white face shine in the dark.

Are you just saying that because you know I want you to?

He giggled.

No. Then he reached both his hands to the ceiling as if he could reach heaven. Because, without God, what are we?

He silences me again with his words, but I’m still skeptical.

Okay then, what would be second?

No hesitation, God.


He giggles again.


Then he stops and see the wheels turning.

Well, he said. After God there is something else.

What is it?


So I gulp it in big mouthfuls and discover that I am still breathing and I look at this wonder-boy and kiss him goodnight and when I go to bed I say a prayer of my own.

Dear God, Thank you for all the bad stuff. I want you—I need you like air. Amen.


They haunt me.

I see them walking on the street. Or driving past me in a car. Mowing the grass. Shopping.

These things I know they once did with ease. But now their bodies or their brains will no longer cooperate with these once taken-for-granted-activities.

Some days, the stories of my patients ghost around inside of me and won’t let me be.

The knowledge that I am, at least for now, able-bodied/sound-minded—tenders my heart to this life.

I treasure these two legs that hold me up with ease. I revel in this brain that sees (most of the time) clearly my environment and that of those around me. My health, my family, my life—is intact.

At least for now.

This does not make my life more valuable than theirs.

If anything, it is the other way around.

Sorrow leaves a mark. Grief sets apart.

I sit before this man who recently lost a child…and I have no words. No words to comfort. No letters strung together that can make sense of this situation.

The loss etched in his eyes…around the corners of his mouth…

It makes my soul ache.

But we continue to breathe in and breathe out.

What if we all wore our sorrow so openly?

What if our heartaches were written on our faces for all to see?

Would the world be a softer place?

Would we treat each other tenderly? We would be more willing to touch and hold each other? My arms ache to comfort. My heart beats to the sound of sorrow.

Psalms 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

I feel Him there. I see Him in their eyes.

But, so many times, they do not.

There are people hurting all over the world today.

All I can do is offer these hands. I offer this heart.

And pray that they see Him in me.