Summer Journey Map
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors.”
I am signing off the blog for the summer to study, to write, to rest, to recalibrate, to find new inspiration, to go on family adventures and fill my cup with joy. This has been quite a year and now it’s time to refill my tank. There is a reason “Keeping the Sabbath” is a commandment. Sometimes we have to step away, to find our way! Below is a map of my summer journey. Barbara Brown Taylor once said, “Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars.” Following a year of much fear, loss and darkness, it is high time we recovered our sense of awe and wonder for the goodness of creation and our place in it. My plan is to return to you with a renewed sense of purpose, reconnected to myself and God, and full of new dreams. I hope this prayer from The Pocket Cathedral will encourage you to carve out your own time for sabbath over the summer.
Lord of the Sabbath,
You were the first to proclaim a day of rest and mark it as holy—
Relief from a world that rewards labor, busyness, but rarely holiness.
Teach me to step away from the fragmented,
and much too loud earthly existence
for a holy repose.
Sabbath is Your invitation to let go of the “work” of being human:
the stress, the fears, the doubts,
the expectations, the responsibilities, the relentless race—
And honor the needs of my soul.
It is in these moments of stillness and rest that You impart
reconcile and renew,
heal and illumine,
And remind me how sacred my life truly is….
Have a blessed summer!
If you had told me eighteen years ago, camped on the pediatric oncology floor at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in NYC, that I would be blessed with eighteen years with my first-born son Charlie and see him graduate from high school, I’m not sure I could have imagined it, or even allowed myself to hope for it. There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to Dr. Kushner (“Special K”), Connie, my family, friends, teachers and strangers. They made hope our reality. I also want to thank God for giving me the courage to choose life over fear, and raise Charlie to open his arms as wide as humanly possible to the world. “Make your life count!” This has been our family motto and the words I will say again as Charlie fledges my nest and finds his way in the world.
This summer I will be a full-time student at Vanderbilt Divinity School. I am two classes away from completing my Masters of Divinity with a specialty in Theology and the Arts. I am particularly excited to study the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Both artist theologians used their art as a vehicle to wrestle with and reveal the mystery of God. This week, we explicated Dickinson’s, Poem 466. I especially love her final stanza:
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise—
I am in my third year of beekeeping. Unfortunately, during the pandemic I lost all my hives. I tried everything, even resorting to an emergency order of two Queen bees from Hawaii. Not one to throw in the towel, I am starting over with four new hives. I am like a new mother checking on my babes multiple times a day, even playing music for them. This will not be a year for “milk and honey,” but of rebuilding—an apt metaphor for our own journey after the pandemic.
Fingers crossed I will finish my new book this summer. The idea for Soulful was to be a one-stop-shop for spiritual reflections, a resource for encouraging quotes from remarkable thinkers, poets and theologians, an activity guide for claiming more peace and joy in your life and a reservoir of delicious and easy recipes to serve at your gathering table. The design, photography and illustrations will knock your socks off!
“And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.” These words were spoken by John Muir, the naturalist extraordinaire. This past year has forced us all to live on “high alert.” With intentionality, we need to carve out some “Sabbath” space to find again our peace and grounding. On a trip West to visit grandparents, I hope to incarnate Muir’s words.