Singing Power

Even for Minnesota standards the cold of the last few weeks has been challenging. Schools have been closed more days than in anyone’s memory, not for snow, but for the sheer cold of the wind on young, fragile faces. It is a time that throws one’s privilege in the face. I have a warm home, a reliable car. I have enough food to eat and the clothes I have are designed to keep out the cold and keep skin safe. My mind and my prayers have focused on all those whose life circumstances do not hold such simple privilege. These are days when we must have great admiration for the weather. It is a force with which to be reckoned and we would be unwise to think differently.

On Monday evening my husband and I decided the cabin fever was creeping in too closely and we needed to do something to keep it at bay. So, we headed over to one of our local haunts where, once a month, there is singing, singing with a capital ‘S’. It seemed the right thing to do to shake some of the ice off our spirits. We were not disappointed. Not long after 6:00 people started pouring in to find tables, grab a little supper, and be ready to join voices at 7:00. These are sea shanty songs, folk songs, music that tells stories,makes people laugh and cry. No one is a professional but many have ‘their song’. Much like karaoke only without accompaniment. It is all sung a cappella and always in harmony. It feels a throw back to a simpler time.

As the intergenerational group sang, the words of the songs hung in the air. ‘For winter is here with its icy coat.’ ‘We’re singing through the hard times, singing through the hard times, living for the good times to come.’ ‘In that wee, dark engine room, where the chill seeps through your soul, how we huddle round that wee pot stove, that burns oily rags and coal.’ ‘Ring for the yellow daffodil, flower in the snow, all shall be well I know.’……On and on we sang the winter songs and lifted the hope of what was to come as people have been doing in similar landscapes and around the world for hundreds of years. It felt like an act of solidarity with one another, the ancestors and the survivors of winter everywhere.

There were many highlights of the evening that warmed my heart. One young girl, perhaps six or seven years old stood on a chair and led us all in ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down’, lifting her tiny hand at the chorus, singing ‘Everybody now!’, as the crowd of people joined her in harmony. I tried to image the affirmation, the power she felt at that moment. Her father stood just next to her giving support and her younger sister looked on with a love that filled her small, upturned face, perhaps dreaming of a time when she would be ‘old’ enough to sing so boldly and command adults to join in.

But it was the singing of the sea song, ‘Northwest Passage’, a song by Stan Rogers of adventure and hoped-for discovery in a new land that took my heart. It is a song I have heard many times,and know just enough of the lyrics to harmonize on the chorus. This was the song that the father of the young girl who had led us so ably sang. She sat in her chair listening intently to the complicated lyrics flowing from her father’s voice. But as the chorus came around, her eyes closed and she lifted her face toward some distant place as she sang:

Ah, for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea;
Tracing one warm line through a land so wild and savage
And make a Northwest Passage to the sea.

What was that young child seeing, thinking as she sang those words? Most of the songs sung on Monday were not ones to defy the cold as much as they were sung to bring warmth to the singer and hope to us all. Perhaps the single thread that wove them together was this knowing, this deep knowing that we were in this together and that we would get through it together. We left at the end of the evening full of hope and the warmth of the power of singing. And how timely it seemed to come home to learn that Pete Seeger, the man who taught so many the power of singing, had died. I thought of our experience that evening and it felt like a wake of sorts for the man, the music and the assurance that song is a powerful gift and a powerful tool for creating community and forging hope in the world.

In so many ways, we have Pete Seeger to thank for that. Rest well, good and faithful servant.



At least four days out of a week, I read my daily horoscope. This is the case because we only get the morning newspaper four days a week so this loose commitment is driven mostly by convenience. Though I am unsure what these daily insights really mean or where they come from, I always find them interesting, thought provoking and sometimes humorous. While I don’t plan my day by the message, the words often hang in my consciousness and so may have some impact on what actually happens in a day. Who knows?

Last week, on Thursday I think, these were the words that greeted me from the page:”You’re on to something big, and you can’t do it alone. Unfortunately, the right people are not paying attention. If you want to make a difference, you’ll have to wake someone up first.”

“Oh,great!”, I thought. Am I on to something big? I didn’t think so but maybe that was the gift of the message. I am on to something big and I don’t realize it. Oh, great, again. There are many things up in the air right now. They could be big. Or not. But then again, in the course of any day in a human life, what isn’t ‘big’ if you are present to it? Even the laundry can send a person into a marvel if you really think about it. Pipes and hoses coming from machines. Water…..precious water…..drawn from distant sources….warm, hot, cold. Amazing. All those hands, not our own, who designed, sewed, packaged, unpacked, tagged, sold the clothes that are getting wet, spinning. Were the people whose hands touched these garments paid a fair wage? What are their lives like? Did my purchase of their work help feed their family? Beautiful, precious, invisible lines of connection. And we won’t even talk about dryers and the magic they produce.

Clearly, there is very little any of us can do alone. Our lives are too inextricably woven together with those we know and those we will never meet. Even in the little things and certainly in the big things.

The second part of this horoscope made me laugh. “The right people are not paying attention.” Ever felt like this? How many times in our lives do we try to get the attention of this person or that one because we believe they will be the only person who will see our point of view, take our side,validate our opinion, make everything happen? I know I have spent immense amounts of energy trying to get the attention of this person or that one because I hoped for some affirmation that would prove to the world that I was right….or brilliant….or at least smarter than the other person. It can be a vicious cycle of hope and despair placing that kind of affirmation outside oneself.

And finally the last part of the horoscope message:”If you want to make a difference, you’ll have to wake someone up first.” To this I say, impossible. I truly believe that all we can ever really do is create environments and circumstances where people wake up. But we can rarely, if ever, wake someone else up. These environments,like nests, are containers of care and compassion, kindness and hope, love and support where the awakened life is modeled but can not be required. Living the awakened life is each person’s own work, work that cannot be done or forced by another.

So, what to do with this horoscope? Perhaps the real gift of any of these ‘star readings’ that connect us with those born under our same sign, is that they provide questions to ponder rather than recipes to be followed. On this cold, January day, it has done that for me.

And you. What is your horoscope today? How will it lead you to a greater awakening of your authentic self? May we all be wise in our reading, gentle in our questions, and wise in our awakening.


Family Tree

“If what I say resonates with you, it’s merely because we are both branches on the same tree.”
W. B. Yeats

There are many times when I read someone else’s words or hear their story and something opens up in my chest. I feel an ‘ah-ha’ grow within me. It is as if something has been dormant and has come to life, quickly and with a certain purpose. Someone else’s turn of a phrase or personal insight allows a creaky door in my own inner life to swing open and I feel as if I have found something that has been lost to me. Until now. Until now.

In doing some reading last week, I came across this statement of W.B. Yeats and realized he was speaking of this very kind of experience. This resonating can come from an experience with someone we know well or a complete stranger. It can come from something we read or see, a film or television show in which we feel a pull toward a particular character. It can come from the words of someone we really like a lot and also, strangely enough, from someone who gets under our skin and makes us crazy.

Of course, we all want to be ‘branches of the same tree’ with those we really admire, those who inspire us with their wisdom. But one of the things I have been thinking about lately is how I am a branch on the same tree with those others folks, the ones who annoy me, those with whom I disagree, sometimes wildly so. This kind of resonating is not about agreement but about the other doors that are flung open within, those that allow us to see parts of ourselves that are less than pretty, less than kind, less than the wise one we hope we are projecting to the world. These are the folks whose presence creates a resonance within that can teach us something about ourselves that we may need to learn but wanted to keep the door shut on. Sometimes we know this. Sometimes we don’t.

Those of us who spend our time trudging through the scriptures each week have the opportunity to reflect on and argue with some of the characters that have given story-life to our faith tradition. These people, all brilliantly flawed in their own ways, are part of this ancestral tree we were either born to or chose. We are drawn to the stories of each for particular reasons and for particular times in our lives. The hope of those of us who plan worship is that something in the words or life of a particular character will resonate with the life experience of those who sit in the pew. The hope is that someone, certainly not everyone, will find wisdom to carry into the week from the life tentative call of Moses or the bold ‘Yes’ of Mary. This is, at least for me, one of the ways in which these ancient texts become the living word of God. Sometimes it happens. Sometime it doesn’t. We live and work in hope!

One of the things that keeps me going each day, that keeps me heading into difficult conversations, that keeps me awake to this precious walk of life, is the deep belief that we are all branches of the same tree. All of us. Those like me and those who appear very different. Those with whom I agree and those whose lens upon the world has created words and phrases on their lips that make me cringe. It is often a difficult task this being human but this belief that we share a family tree helps keep me honest in my dealings with my fellow branches. Some days I am better at it than others.

It is a another cold day in Minnesota. As I look around the map, that same frigid air is connecting us with others around the country. It would be easy, and natural,to pull up the hoods on our costs and allow our shoulders to cover our ears as our faces stare down at the icy ground. But we are traveling this path with those who are meant to be our teachers and we would be wise to look up every now and then. Look up and listen. For the word or phrase that just might open a long closed door within us. A door that might mean all the difference in the world for the day. Or the week. Or the next year.

Our family tree is calling to us.



I am a city-dweller. Sometimes I forget this. There is a place deep inside me that still thinks of myself as a small-town, rural gal. But I have lived among concrete and high rises for longer than I walked streets without sidewalks, for longer than I drove on unsaved roads that kicked up dust in my wake. Mostly, I have a comfort level in the city though I know that it is the experience of the gifts of wider, wilder spaces that feeds my soul. It is to these places that I am drawn when my heart hurts, when my spirit lags, when I need grounding in the wisdom of what is truly important. Everyone is different in this spiritual longing but this is my truth.

This past week while driving across Montana in late afternoon, I had the unique experience of being suspended between the setting sun and the almost full moon. The moon’s brilliant whiteness was pulling us forward toward home while through the rearview mirror I could see the sun slowly painting its final light on the horizon behind me. A rich red and russet orange swirled around the purple mountains silhouetted in the western sky. Frankly, it was almost too much to take in. I felt like my focus was in a tug-o-war with the very Universe. Where to look? How to breath it all in? How to honor the beauty and the gift of it?

I thought of the psalmists and their ability to give words to such feeling, such experiences. Rather than sitting with their mouths hanging open, they gave speech to the awe:

Praise God!
Praise the God from the heavens;
praise God in the heights!
Praise God, all angels!
Praise God, sun and moon;
praise God, all you shining stars!
Praise God, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of God,
for the Holy One commanded and they were created.
They were established forever and ever;
And were fixed in their bounds, which cannot be passed.

Of course, I wanted to say something eloquent like this but I couldn’t. The words just didn’t come. I just kept scanning the horizon, behind and before me, trying to move my head in owl-like fashion. Spin, look. Spin, look. Knowing that I was in the presence of something extraordinary that happens every day, I was filled with a sense of comfort in being a part of it all. The sun would set and rise again. The moon would rise and set again. And this human’s only role was to be present, observe and be dumbfounded.

The truth is that we are suspended every day between these risings and settings. As city-dwellers we seldom are aware. But in the big skies of the west that balancing act is an every day occurrence. My prayer is that those who live there and view it daily never take it for granted. Perhaps they are better psalmists than I. Perhaps they are shouting their praises with wild abandon. At the red sunsets and billowing clouds. At the saucer moon and brilliant stars. All visible. All the time.


Gentleness Alert

We are surrounded by signs that tell us what to do, what to avoid, how to behave. Many come in the form of commands. Stop. Yield. Slow. Turn this way. Don’t turn that way. Others are meant to protect the vulnerable. Children playing. Beware of animals. The animals vary depending on the part of country. Horse. Deer. Bear. These are the signs we see mostly while driving or riding along highways.

Of course there are other signs for our indoor awareness, those to guide our indoor behavior. In the library, we are reminded to shhhhh…..keep quiet. This is a reminder that seems to be ignored more and more. Many buildings display signs to remind us to keep an eye on our belongings….purses, computers, children. There are also the indoor signs that point us in specific directions. Things like ’emergency exit’ come to mind or ‘no entry’.

This past week I was walking on one of my treasured landscapes on Whidbey Island near Seattle. This place, Greenbank Farms, is one of those truly beautiful, magical places that has drawn me back over and over again. It is a plot of land smack in the middle of the island hosting an organic farm and a small cafe that bakes amazing pie. The beauty of the place is that you can stand out in the field above the gardens and be able to see the water that surrounds the island on both sides. When we are visiting the Seattle sons we always try make our way there. This week was no exception.

As we started our walk past the gardens that, at this time of year, only held cabbages and the green, leafy trees of kale, we marveled that these things were growing. The frigid landscape of Minnesota was still ringing in our bones. But there they were…..hardy vegetables that stick to the ribs and offer up their healthy, green nutrients.

Just past the cabbages, we noticed a sign on a sandwich board standing at the beginning of a trail that leads through the field. It was not a sign that urged us to stop or beware. Instead, it was a ‘Gentleness Alert’. The laminated paper was probably placed there for a New Year’s celebration of some kind but its encouraging words seemed to transcend that particular holiday. They seemed words we all might be able to begin each day with. This sign encouraged a reflection on the ways we all need be gentle with ourselves and others. It went on to remind the reader that everyone….everyone…is simply doing the best they can and that this being human means being fallible. This is true for all of us not just some. So, the sign encouraged……be forgiving and be gentle.

Standing on this beautiful spot of land I was aware of how the land itself modeled this gentle behavior for we fallible humans. It stood muddy and without much to offer in the way of a productive life with the exception of the kale and cabbages. Signs of past harvests lay like brown clumps looking more like garbage that the fullness of what they had been or might be in just a few short weeks. The grasses underfoot, also brown and flattened by the nearly always present rain, looked out at the water with the same expectation of ‘something more’just as we humans do. And yet the land itself welcomed us without apology, opened its arms wide enough to draw us in and urge us to rest in the rhythm of the water that lapped at the shores on our right and our left.

The sign placed there by humans to alert walkers to the wisdom of a gentle walk into the new year continued to sound its message. Walking, I was reminded of the people I may have been less than gentle with in the year past. I felt a tug of guilt and sadness at my grace-less behavior. In the next steps, I thought also of the times I am probably too hard on myself for one thing or another. Being a fallible human being can be a nasty business at times. That is why it is good to remember we are all of us doing the best we can. Day after blessed day. Cabbages and kale are wonderful,leafy green vegetables but do not a steady diet make. The land that makes a home between two bodies of water will soon yield goodness beyond imagining as will we all.

Gentleness be upon us.



Precious….Of high cost or worth; valuable…..Highly esteemed; cherished….Dear; beloved.

Precious. Last week someone sent me a text message asking for prayers for a mutual friend who was having some tricky medical tests. In the message she remarked that, most likely, things were going to be fine but ‘life is precious’ and so we just never know. Life is precious. For some reason her words, no doubt zapped off in a hurry, caused my eyes to fill with tears. Life is precious. Her words, read on my impersonal smart phone, carried the weight of our deep humanity.

Since then I have been surrounded by many of life’s precious moments. Perhaps it was her words that has heightened my sensitivity to each of these experiences. I don’t know. All I do know is that I have been confronted over and over again with how precious, how full of beauty and fragility,this life is. More than once the tears have again sprung up to mark the moment. Its sacred nature. Its fleeting character.

Yesterday I sat in a coffee shop I do not know well. I found myself at the end of a work day with some time before an evening meeting and nipped into the warmth of this place,my novel in hand, ready to unplug for a while. Sitting next to me were two fathers and their middle school aged sons. Coffee and computers were spread out in front of them as they carried on a conversation. One young man played a video game and periodically interjected something into the adult conversation. Another boy intensely studied some homework on a sheet of paper. At one point one young lad approached the other and asked to be quizzed on the content of the pages.

The two boys moved from their fathers and stood right in the middle of the tables and chairs. Gently, with kindness, one boy asked questions and the other answered. Sometimes his answers were incomplete or lacking and the other boy, without condescension, helped lead him to the fuller picture. The material they were studying was completely foreign to me but I was so struck with the way in which they worked together, honoring both question and answer. My heart was warmed by them.

At another table an older couple sat, laughing, talking and seeming to discuss a book they had opened before them. I did not mean to eavesdrop on their conversation but their clear love for one another was difficult to ignore. As I tried to focus my attention on my book, I heard the gentleman say, ” Oh, wait!There’s the sunset. Let’s go look!” They abandoned book, coats and purse and simply walked out the door to watch as the sun painted its now predictable winter show of oranges and hot pinks.

These two experiences and many others have nudged me to remember the precious nature of this life. My friend’s medical tests did indeed turn out just fine. But there are others I know for whom this is not the case. I would venture a guess that you also know of folks who are vulnerable and frightened, those who may be teetering at the edge,unable to find steady ground. Perhaps you are one of them.

Life is precious. Too precious but to do anything but be gentle and kind, to stand with a friend and hear them into whatever answers they are trying to find a voice for. Too precious to not drop whatever we are doing and notice a magnificent sunset. Too precious to not hold onto the blessings of each day, each moment, each breath. Too precious to not be present in the gift that is this day. This very day which will not ever be ours again.

May we walk the earth gently today murmuring, repeating, shouting:”Life is precious!”

Cold Gifts

All over the country temperatures are colder than normal. It has been particularly frigid in Minnesota with schools being closed and people who are blessed to have shelter staying in and hunkering down. Temperatures have plummeted and the wind chills have been staggering. Mostly, we like to wear this weather like a shield of honor. It seems to be a birthright or at least an adoption-right of those of us who call ourselves Minnesotans. I saw this written on the faces of those who showed up at church on Sunday. Proud, red, ruddy faces.

There is something wonderful about this cold weather if we are privileged to see it so. Take for instance the way the deep cold changes the sky at sunrise and sunset. Have you noticed? I have no idea why it is so but I am sure the science-minded among us could give the reasons. All I know is that the painting of the beginning and ending of day seems more brilliant, the colors more vivid. The sky has been striped with bright red, hot pink and a deep purple that seems nearly impossible. How does it happen?

Even the out put of factories and buildings working overtime to create warmth for their inhabitants is more colorful than usual. In my drive across the High Bridge in St. Paul, I can see the enormous puffs of smoke and steam, normally a billowing white over the Mississippi River, now creating a pale blue or a gentle pink, like smoke signals from a proud new parent announcing a child’s birth. What an amazing thing the cold air can do!

For those of us blessed to have enough layers on to keep us safe, there is much to notice. Ice crystals float in the air, almost imperceptible, not snow, just there, floating like tiny fairies. The sun, more brilliant and welcomed than usual, glints off the icicles that hang from gutters and wires, amazing lights that rival their Christmas decoration impostors. Even the bare branches of the trees offer a kind of blessing as their darkness creates lacy patterns against the icy, blue sky. Have you noticed?

The fact that these noticings are a privilege is not lost on me. These are observations of someone who has a warm home, a car that works well and is well maintained. They are made by someone who has enough warm clothes to keep skin from freezing and enough food to fuel the body. I pass plenty of folks along the way who are not in the same situation, those for whom observation would not only be a luxury but perhaps dangerous. May they be blessed with warm places of shelter this day and night and may a warm meal offer a respite from the difficulty of life I can only imagine.

On Monday, when schools and many businesses were closed, I was snug in my house taking the opportunity to catch up on paperwork, read and just stay put. It was a day that shattered temperature records and there was not much action up and down our street. Few cars ventured forth. But at one point of the afternoon, a car pulled up in front of our house. I watched as a man got out of his car and started, I thought, walking toward our door. But, instead, he turned and made his way to our Little Free Library. I saw he had two books in his hand. He opened the door of the library and gazed into it. He then placed the books inside and closed the door. I smiled and felt a warmth move through me.

As the man returned to his car, I thought of all the beauty birthed from this cold. The brilliant, colorful skies. The light hitting snow and ice, just so. Warm bowls of soup and fleecy blankets. Fires jumping in fireplaces and cats curled up in front of them. Children nestled on sofas with books and games and cups of hot chocolate. And people, strangers, who offer stories to keep us through the worst of the weather.
Even the cold has gifts, to give and receive, if we we have the eyes to see.


Availability & Vulnerability

These cold, cold days have provided ample time for curling up under a blanket and making my way through the stacks of books in the ‘to be read’ pile. These are the books that are not as urgent as those that are cycling through the monthly book club sessions. They are also not the ones that must be read for the information needed for a meeting, sermon or class I have some responsibility for. Instead, these are the books whose presence seems to grow at certain times of the year, those that have a scrap of paper stuck in a particular page that houses something I want to ‘get to later’. A thought. A quote. Something to enlighten, to argue with. Something to remember or to inspire.

Over the last year I have read a daily devotional that I believe I have mentioned in these pages. It was given to me by a friend for my birthday and I have so enjoyed its daily thoughts and the way it keeps me honest in daily scripture reading. But I had never spent much time looking at the book’s introduction which outlines the devotional’s contents and intention. The enforced hibernation of these days has allowed me to get to this kind of reading.

The devotional book was put together by the Northumbrian Community, a faith community that finds its home in the northeastern most part of England and along the Scottish Borders. They find their inspiration and grounding in the stark terrain of this landscape and the frigid waters of the North Sea. It finds its theological heart in Celtic Christianity and the wisdom of St. Aidan and St. Cuthbert. Not a community in the traditional sense of folks who live near one another, it is a dispersed community of people who are held together by following a rule of life that is present in monastic communities across the globe. I have heard of a small gathering of faithful people following this rule who live in and around the Twin Cities.

In my under-the-blanket reading, I learned that the central precept that guides the community, its Rule, is one of availability and vulnerability as their way of living. This really captured my imagination! What might it mean to follow a daily practice of availability and vulnerability? Can you imagine it? To awake every day and to walk into the world wearing an openness to being available to others, to oneself, to the needs, the joys, the sorrows, the hopes that come our way. What might that mean for embracing the world, for seeing the Holy in the midst of every encounter?

Of course, it seems to me that this rule of availability would be impossible without its other half, vulnerability. Mostly, we have been trained from an early age against vulnerability. We equate it with weakness. But they are not the same. At least to me, to be vulnerable implies a heart that welcomes, without judging, whomever and whatever crosses my path, to see myself as the small, yet significant, part of Creation which I am. Vulnerability and humility are dance partners and we might all do well to join in the music.

If a life lived with availability and vulnerability weren’t enough, these faithful folks are also called to a life of “embracing the heretical imperative”. Big church-speak alert! Basically what this means is they are called to live a life that challenges assumed truth. For some people, we have just stepped into some dangerous territory. But for these folks who are working every day to make sense of their 21st century lives and the ancient wisdom that has guided the communities that birthed them, they are available and vulnerable enough to challenge doctrines and rules that provided structure and form in the past but may no longer do so. In walking the path with a God who is ever-creating, ever-imagining, they are willing to be available and vulnerable to a God who encourages letting go, change and a new way of being in and seeing the world. They are willing to see the doctrines created by their faithful ancestors for the wisdom they were for their time but not be bound by them for living a life that is still being shaped by the Holy.

These are all thoughts that are warming my spirit and giving me hope in this new year. I am praying for a faith, for a community, for a church that has the courage to live by a rule of availability and vulnerability and that challenges. For those of us in the Christian household, it seems we have a pretty good model for this rule of living.



“There is within each of us a potential for goodness beyond our imagining, for giving which seeks no reward; for listening without judgment; for loving unconditionally.”
~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

And so another year begins. I have never been much for the practice of New Year’s resolutions. I probably have a enough of a track record to know the things I will follow through on and those that, while completely well-intentioned, will fall by the wayside pretty quickly. There are the classics, of course. Lose weight. Exercise more. Eat more vegetables. Drink more water. Consume less sugar. All these are doable and attainable but the real goal is greater health, isn’t it? And so to that I say …..May we all know what that threshold of health is and may we live with grace, and gentleness, towards ourselves and others. May we come to love ourselves more and honor this earth-home-body that carries us around.

So, while I was not thinking about resolutions today, I was performing some of the traditional acts that always come on the first day of January. One of those is to go from room to room and take down last year’s calendars and replace them with the new ones that have been waiting in the wings until it is their time. For some reason this act always makes me happy. I like looking back through last year’s calendars which often have events penciled in, birthdays noted. It is like a little mini-travelogue through the 365 days that have just happened. Vacations are remembered and their scenes dance in my head. Visits by relatives and friends over the last year float up from pages dotted with warmer scenes and holidays than the most recent ones celebrated. And of course, there is the promise held in the new calendar shining with its blank spaces, the as-yet empty days.

As I took down the calendar whose daily reflections I have shared in these pages from time to time, I looked back at some of the beautiful artwork and the lovely words that graced each page, each little box of a day. And then my eyes fell on the final words tucked at the bottom of the page holding the days of December, meant to not only reflect this season of Christmas and the soon to be celebrated Epiphany, but words to send the reader into the new year and all of its possibilities. “There is within each of us a potential for goodness beyond our imagining, for giving which seeks no reward; for listening without judgment; for loving unconditionally.”

I believe it is so, do you? This goodness that is planted deep within each of us often surprises us and equally eludes us. And yet it is there, planted at our birth by the Source of all goodness. This is the goodness that shines in the darkness of our days and lifts us above all that would try to tell us otherwise. It is a goodness we glimpse in the shadows that threaten and pray for in our bleakest hours. It is the goodness we see in the eyes of loved ones and that shows up in the smile of a stranger. It is the goodness that allows us to give without expectation and opens our hearts to the inviting spirit that accepts without judging. It is the goodness that gives us the courage to throw our arms open wide offering love without condition. It is a goodness that requires our deepest imagination to be brought to birth in the world.

As we enter this newest of years which offers itself to us like the enormous gift that it is, perhaps one resolution worth considering is to give ourselves to this imagining. Of goodness. Mine. Yours. Ours. And the goodness of all humanity, indeed, all Creation. Think of the difference it might make if we all resolve in 2014 to nurture goodness and to see and honor it in all we meet.

How might the year and the world be blessed by such a resolution? Only time will tell.