Posts Tagged ‘Charlotte NC


4.3.19 … “Why do they not teach you that time is a finger snap and an eye blink, and that you should not allow a moment to pass you by without taking joyous, ecstatic note of it, not wasting a single moment of its swift, breakneck circuit?”–Pat Conroy … “Shelves in the closet, happy thought indeed.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (29/40), virtual labyrinth walk @ home, Charlotte NC:

I’m circling back around to some labyrinth thoughts from the last few days. I’ve been thinking about thin places and time and fullness of life.

I found this phrase “ardent interests can enrich a life“ in a review of Mary Norris’ “Greek to Me.” That phrase resonates with me. I have always been a little too excited about books and movies and history and travel and, yes, labyrinths.

My interests take me places and introduce me to people and some of those people become true kindred spirits, even if our paths only cross for a brief moment, a wrinkle in time in a thin place. A silly example is year’s ago I was looking at a retirement community with my mom and my sister. The sales woman opened the closet and it had shelves … and instantly all four of us were laughing because we knew of the Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice “closet” moment. “Shelves in the closet, happy thought indeed” which is adapted from this line in the book, “She had even condescended to advise him to marry as soon as he could, provided he chose with discretion; and had once paid him a visit in his humble parsonage, where she had perfectly approved all the alterations he had been making, and had even vouchsafed to suggest some herself–some shelves in the closet upstairs.” So this moment, this serendipitously joyful encounter, could only happen if 4 people who loved Jane Austen had come together to look into a closet at that precise moment. “Shelves in the closet, happy thought indeed.” Our lives were enriched that day.

Over the years I have wondered if I can make such moments happen. Can I seek out or place myself in thin places? “Why do they not teach you that time is a finger snap and an eye blink, and that you should not allow a moment to pass you by without taking joyous, ecstatic note of it, not wasting a single moment of its swift, breakneck circuit?”–Pat Conroy

I am fortunate to believe I can, I can be vulnerable and brave and reach across time and space to connect and have those joyous God moments. I saw this today in Richard Rohr’s daily posting entitled “Dying Before You Die: Living Fully, Wednesday, April 3, 2019”

[We] make the conscious choice of living not in the past or future, but in each present moment. This takes great courage and the ability to make peace with your life: to live without hope or fear, to let go without regret, to know that you have lived fully. [2]




10.17.17 … I am feeling grief and loss and devastation. And all that feeling is for a tree… Maybe my feelings of grief and loss and devastation are not just for a tree … #me,too

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church, Charlotte NC:

In my opinion today is the first day of fall because today is the first cool crisp day. I actually moved my ac to “off.”

Of course I go to Avondale, and I’m excited because before I can see into the sacred garden, I can hear the chimes. There’s a wonderful cool breeze today and it is making me so happy. But when I turn in, I am immediately feel grief. The huge and gorgeous oak tree that has been there forever is gone, completely gone except for the mark on the ground. They have taken it down and removed the stump and even filled in the hole. A man is walking in the garden and I ask him what happened. He says that they took it down on October 7 because it was dead. I am feeling grief and loss and devastation. And all that feeling is for a tree.

But I hear sounds of life: a train, running water in the fountain, and the cool breeze rushing through the leaves. Everything sounds wonderful today.

As I walk, I actually feel cold.


Although I have several #me,too stories, all from my pre-midlife period, all involve substances and two where I was impaired unknowingly by boys from “nice families.” There is another, tangentially related to the issue, that took away my voice and I have never recovered. It’s still angers me to think about it.

Back in back in the 90s, I was a thirty something lawyer in a political discussion with a “mentor” lawyer that I respected intellectually. He was a liberal. I was centrist conservative. I said that I judged a candidate not just by intellectual ability, political leanings and experience, but also by character. I made the statement that I could never vote for Bill Clinton or any candidate if the thought of being in room with him made me uncomfortable. This senior partner absolutely railed on me, belittled me and repeatedly brought this up for weeks, stating that a candidate’s personal life had nothing to do with his ability to lead the country, and besides all men in power had indiscretions. I said character counts. He considered my opinion uneducated at best. I did not vote for Bill Clinton in 1992. This respected lawyer no longer respected me because he believed I used an irrelevant standard. And this was before Monica Lewinsky.

During the Clinton presidency I delveloped prong two of my test: the likelihood that our constitution could “control” the politician or that if not, the checks and balances therein would work.

I continue to use my standard. I could not in good conscience vote for Trump and voted for Clinton because Trump failed step one of my multi prong test and I believed our constitutional checks and balances would have worked with Hillary Clinton while being challenged by Trump.

It has been very interesting to see many articles and opinion pieces list Weinstein, Ailes, Trump, O’Reilly, Cosby and Woody Allen, but fail to mention Bill Clinton. I wish someone would explain that to me.

I realize that 1992 was the beginning of my personal multi-prong test. First character and intelligence, then constitutional checks and balances and finally political leanings and experience.

Maybe my feelings of grief and loss and devastation are not just for a tree.


and Maren Tirabassi is always on point …

Me, too

To you who are constantly alert

to the signs that sexual harassment is present,

that sexual violence has happened,

to women and girls,

to trans men and gay men,

to anyone vulnerable,

I promise — me, too.

To you willing to stop everything

to listen to a story,

to share from your story

without making it about you,

I promise – me, too.

To you keeping faith with


which means not making it an idol —

being quiet or getting help,

and most of all willing to apologize

when you guess wrong,

I promise – me, too.

In fact, to everyone

who risks being awkward or nosy,

being shut down,

called out for being strident

or self-righteous,

the wrong gender to speak out,

or for actually being wrong

in a particular situation …

in fact, to everyone

who is praying but also staying,

remembering these posts


and also next April,

who knows you surely

will fall short on every promise

you ever make,

I promise – me, too.


6.24.17 … a toy frog …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church, Charlotte NC:

It is hot, but as much because it is muggy as because of the temperature. Actually, a combination of the two. I haven’t walked in a while so I approach the labyrinth with some trepidation.

And this one is overgrown

On my first approach to the center, I noticed a toy frog. I keep meaning to bring some trinkets to leave when I walk.

This walk is all about sound. I hear the rushing water for the fountain, the chimes, the cicadas, a few birds, cars on the nearby road and even a train…



7.18.17 … And today is the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. She is a mighty girl! My name is Dennard and I am a Janeite … (there, I said it.) …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, Wedgewood Church, Charlotte NC:

Crunch, crunch, crunch … I won’t mention it again. I promise.

Half shade, have sun … yin yang, balance, etc.

Great trees at Wedgewood. So what is this evergreen?

And today is the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. She is a mighty girl!

My name is Dennard and I am a Janeite … (there, I said it.)



5.6.17 … “To be interested in the changing seasons is…a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” — George Santayana, “Justification of Art”

Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church, Charlotte NC, World Labyrinth Day 5.6.17, We Walk as One at One.

Perfect day, perfect sky, perfect sun, perfect breeze….

And here are a few quotes I’ve collected over the last 2 weeks:

“The path needs more light. To shine the light of your own natural curiosity into the world of another traveler can reveal wonders.” ~ Phil Cousineau, The Art of Pilgrimage

“I want more than just the top halves of things—just the spirit and not the flesh, just the presence and not the absence, just the faith and not the doubt. This late in life, I want it all.” ~From “Learning to Walk in the Dark”

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” – Martin Luther

The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation

One can understand how someone would have problems relating to some part of the Trinity, or even the whole package. Someone who had been abused by their earthly father finds the image of God as “father” brings up bad associations. Some women who have suffered in a male-dominated society have difficulty relating to the male savior Jesus. The set of relationships is complicated, and the questions that arise from them are legitimate. Even though I have been aware of the difficulties with the Trinity, I still believe there is enough value in the doctrine that we owe it to ourselves to prayerfully consider how we understand it and how it shapes our relationship with God now. Instead of pitching the whole thing, we have a call to update and expand our understanding of the Trinity and contemplate how we can apply it in the most life-giving way.

That’s what Richard Rohr invites us to do in “The Divine Dance.” Instead of getting stuck in a quagmire where we feel required to believe “impossible things” and therefore do not believe anything, Rohr suggests that we focus primarily on the Trinity as a set of relationships that is always open, a community waiting for us to join in. He writes, “Whatever is going on in God is a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect communion between Three – a circle dance of love.” Rohr is quick to point out that this is not New Age jargon, but is rooted in the earliest stages of Christian thought. He draws upon St. Bonaventure, Duns Scotus and Hildegard of Bingen (among many others) to take us back to our inclusive, expansive roots and away from a rigid, doctrinaire and sexist understanding of the Trinity. I finished “The Divine Dance” more hopeful than I have been in a long time for the future of Christian dialogue and interfaith relations (see the section titled “Interfaith Friendship”).

Father Rohr has a gift for recognizing the theological underpinnings present in literature, music, movies and other areas of our culture. He uses examples from all of these to illustrate how Trinitarian nature permeates not only our interactions with each other, but potentially our relationship with creation as a whole. At a time when much of the conversation in our world is divisive and fear inducing, Rohr invites us to celebrate the cosmic connection we all share. This is an important, optimistic book that I will return to again.

SOURCE: The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation – The Presbyterian Outlook,

“To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real.” – Winston Churchill, “Hobbies”

“A compassionate city is an uncomfortable city! A city that is uncomfortable when anyone is homeless or hungry. Uncomfortable if every child isn’t loved and given rich opportunities to grow and thrive. Uncomfortable when as a community we don’t treat our neighbors as we would wish to be treated.”

—Karen Armstrong, Charter for Compassion

Be Whole-Hearted – Center for Action and Contemplation

Guest writer and CAC teacher Cynthia Bourgeault continues exploring Jesus’ eight blessings known as the Beatitudes.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” —Matthew 5:8

This may well be the most important of all the Beatitudes—from the perspective of wisdom it certainly is. But what is purity of heart? This is another of those concepts we have distorted in our very morality-oriented Christianity of the West. For most people, purity of heart would almost certainly mean being virtuous, particularly in the sexual arena. It would be roughly synonymous with chastity, perhaps even with celibacy. But in wisdom teaching, purity means singleness, and the proper translation of this Beatitude is, really, “Blessed are those whose heart is not divided” or “whose heart is a unified whole.” Jesus emerged from his baptism as the ihidaya, meaning the “single one” in Aramaic—one who has unified his or her being and become what we would nowadays call “enlightened.”

According to Jesus, this enlightenment takes place primarily within the heart. When your heart becomes “single”—that is, when it desires one thing only, when it can live in perfect alignment with that resonant field of mutual yearning we called “the righteousness of God,” then you “see God.” This does not mean that you see God as an object (for that would be the egoic operating system), but rather, you see through the eyes of non-duality: God is the seeing itself.

So this Beatitude is not about sexual abstinence; it’s about cleansing the lens of perception. It is worth noting that Jesus flags this particular transformation as the core practice of the path. Somehow when the heart becomes single (undivided, whole), the rest will follow.

Gateway to Silence:�Create in me a pure heart, O God.

SOURCE: Be Whole-Hearted – Center for Action and Contemplation,

Since Buechner’s quote has been circulation … I thought I would pull the a larger quote. I like it even more …

“Grace is something you can never get but only be given. The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you. I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.” Wishful Thinking [99]

You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about education. But some good, sacred memory preserved from childhood – that is perhaps the best education. For if a man has only one good memory left in his heart, even that may keep him from evil.…And if he carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe for the end of his days.

Source: The Brothers Karamazov

Taylor Rees

‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,’ Annie Dillard

Patience and an appreciation for detail are two shared job requirements for filmmakers and environmental organizers. Taylor Rees, who does both of these jobs, says Dillard’s deep, slow look at her backyard environment made her realize she was part of the ecosystem around her, instead of just an observer. “Her writing became a practice of awareness for me, something I try to embody whenever I am outside,” Rees says. “It’s put my work in climate change, science, film, and digital media into context—put it back into the living world, where the reasons for working began and belong.”

Her Favorite Quote: “Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what’s going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”

“To be interested in the changing seasons is…a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” — George Santayana, “Justification of Art”



4.19.17 … “the distance between two people is the lack of respect for each other.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church, Charlotte NC:

What great fun to enjoy a night labyrinth walk with a very dear and longtime friend, Marty McMullin (daughter of Martha Wayt ).

Marty and I reconnected after a long hiatus about 6 years ago, and now we have seen each other 2x in the last 6 months!

What a joy to reconnect in this stage of life. To many more long chats about things that matter: Family, friendship, world views, history, art and love and forgiveness!

I am feeling blessed today.

Safe travels, Marty!

Quotes …

“Happy week and remember:

the distance between two people is the lack of respect for each other.”

-Paul Coehlo

“Thinking about monastic ideals is not the same as living up to them, but at any rate such thinking has an important place in a monk’s life, because you cannot begin to do anything unless you have some idea what you are trying to do.”

– Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas

And some Henri Nouwen …

When we are spiritually free, we do not have to worry about what to say or do in unexpected, difficult circumstances. When we are not concerned about what others think of us or what we will get for what we do, the right words and actions will emerge from the center of our beings because the Spirit of God, who makes us children of God and sets us free, will speak and act through us.

Jesus says: “When you are handed over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes, because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you” (Matthew 10:19-20).

Let’s keep trusting the Spirit of God living within us, so that we can live freely in a world that keeps handing us over to judges and evaluators.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” – Zechariah 4: 6

What does spiritual freedom feel like for you?

SOURCE: Henri Nouwen Society | Home | Henri Nouwen Society,



4.14.17 … walking with you …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (Walk 45/40), Holy Week Walks, Charlotte NC:

Well, I had lots of opportunities to walk today, but, hey, I read about walking …

About Labyrinths:

A walk with queen of the labyrinth – San Francisco Chronicle

The Ohio native has since founded a labyrinth education not-for-profit, has written books on the subject, hosts pilgrimages to labyrinths abroad and has helped create an international “labyrinth finder” database of more than 7,000 labyrinths worldwide.

I’d lucked into Artress’ expertise. She’s not always at the Grace Cathedral Candlelight Labyrinth Walks. Sometimes, she’s in France training people to become labyrinth facilitators.

Artress is walking, talking warmth and kindness. She insists that she has her cranky days, but I find it hard to believe. Artress patiently answered questions from several curious visitors and delighted in hugging repeat labyrinth enthusiasts. (There’s been an uptick in attendance since the presidential election.)

“This is my heartsong,” Artress said, nodding to Grace Cathedral’s now very permanent inlaid stone labyrinth, constructed in 2007. “It does the work I want to do in the world, which is to help people navigate the world.”

I navigated the labyrinth, waiting my turn in line to be welcomed in by a greeter who namaste-nods guests in one by one. Artress instructed us to use the meditative walk as a metaphor for the outside world. Minutes after beginning my walk, I found myself worried about my pace. I was concerned that some people were taking too long sitting on the floor in the center, concerned that they were sitting on the floor of a cathedral at all. I worried that it was all taking way too long altogether. I do these things in the real world too, and I should stop.

The light through the stained glass and soft music from Muhammad eventually began to take effect. I forgot about my notebook in my purse and the guy who kept coughing. By the time I reached the center of the labyrinth, I took in what the experience was trying to tell me. And then I took in Artress, standing off to the side and in the shadows, amid her heartsong.

SOURCE: A walk with queen of the labyrinth – San Francisco Chronicle,

About Easter …

For believers, the complete story of Good Friday and Easter legitimizes both despair and faith. Nearly every life features less-than-good Fridays. We grow tired of our own company and travel a descending path of depression. We experience lonely pain, unearned suffering or stinging injustice. We are rejected or betrayed by a friend. And then there are the unspeakable things — the death of a child, the diagnosis of an aggressive cancer, the steady advance of a disease that will take our minds and dignity. We look into the abyss of self-murder. And given the example of Christ, we are permitted to feel God-forsaken.

And yet . . . eventually . . . or so we trust . . . or so we try to trust: God is forever on the side of those who suffer. God is forever on the side of life. God is forever on the side of hope.

If the resurrection is real, death’s hold is broken. There is a truth and human existence that cannot be contained in a tomb. It is possible to live lightly, even in the face of death — not by becoming hard and strong, but through a confident perseverance. Because cynicism is the failure of patience. Because Good Friday does not have the final word.

SOURCE: What Good Friday teaches us about cynicism – The Washington Post,

Holy Week

My father-in-law always intrigued me with the stack of novels he brought to the beach for family vacations. Even more interesting was his habit of reading the last chapter first, wanting to know how the story ended, as the basis for determining whether or not he would read the whole book!

All of us know that Easter is the central festival of the Christian faith. We know how the story turns out. Not even death can thwart God’s love for us in Christ! That’s what Holy Week is about: the unfolding drama of the death and resurrection of our Lord. Reading the whole novel—better yet, becoming part of the unfolding of the whole story—is critical to setting the stage for the glorious final chapter.

So why do we have “Palm/Passion Sunday?” Churches were having high attendance on Palm Sunday, even higher on Easter. Good Friday typically draws one-third to one-quarter of the Sunday-on-either-side attendance. “Palm/Passion Sunday” was the 1977 green Lutheran Book of Worship’s (LBW) caving to culture to remind the lovers of “Hosanna” and “Alleluia” that Jesus does in fact die on the cross. So if you follow LBW or ELW (Evangelical Lutheran Worship) you get a processional gospel, a blessing of palms, probably “All Glory, Laud, and Honor,” and then at the Prayer of the Day, the service becomes somber and continues with the reading of the passion (suffering) of Jesus.

The following three services are actually one continuous service of the Triduum, the “Three Days”:

1. Maundy Thursday’s name derives from the Latin for commandment, as in “mandate.” The themes are Jesus’ last night and supper with his disciples and his prayer in the garden and subsequent betrayal. The commandments include “love one another,” “do this for the remembrance of me,” and “you must wash one another’s feet.” ELW suggests individual absolution. (In many traditions priestly absolution in general is withheld entirely from Ash Wednesday until Maundy Thursday). Holy Communion is celebrated, and a rich liturgical option is the stripping of the altar in preparation for Good Friday.

2. Good Friday features reading of the Passion, possibly the ancient Reproaches from the cross, the Adoration of the cross, and in ELW the ancient “Bidding Prayer.” More locally, many congregations observe a service of Tenebrae, darkness and shadows. The German observance is called Karfreitag, which literally means, from the old High German, “Grieve/Mourn Friday.”

3. The Great Vigil of Easter happens on Holy Saturday after sundown. Think Christmas worship on Christmas Eve. Virtually lost in the American Lutheran experience until recently, this service begins in darkness around a Paschal Fire. The paraments and altar vessels are carried in dark procession. Salvation History is read, and baptisms are celebrated. There was a time in the life of the church when baptisms were celebrated ONLY at Easter Vigil, and a main Lenten focus was preparation of candidates for baptism. The lights come up with festive ringing of bells and singing as Easter celebration begins, including Holy Communion! Traditional Easter Vigil services last about 3 hours. The more common “Sunrise service” is a remnant of the ancient Vigil.

4. Easter Sunday celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus. It always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, so it can be as early as March 22 and as late as April 25.

Please be kind to your church staff, musicians, and altar guild and allow them a little respite after Holy Week. Liturgically, it’s their hardest week of the year!

Walking with you,

Bishop Tim Smith

SOURCE: Holy Week – NC Synod ELCA,

Put in Christian terms: The Passover Seder recalls and celebrates the resurrection of the people of Israel.

Today we tend to think of slavery strictly as an injustice, which of course it is, and some modern Seders treat the Passover as the triumph of justice over oppression. But this is not the traditional view. In the ancient world, slavery was not just a hardship for individuals but a kind of communal death. An enslaved nation can survive for a time, perhaps, but they have no future. A people in bondage is slowly crushed and extinguished.

At Passover Seders, Jews eat unleavened matzah and spill out drops of wine in symbolic memory of the biblical 10 plagues. PHOTO: DPA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The notion of slavery as a form of death is accentuated in the story told in the Passover Seder. The small clan descended from Abraham settles in Egypt. They are fruitful and multiply, becoming numerous and mighty. The glow of life in the people of Israel arouses Egyptian resentment. Set upon and subjugated, they are ground down by hard labor and harsh oppression. But the descendants of Abraham call out to God—and he raises them up out of slavery, parts the Red Sea, and delivers them from Pharaoh’s murderous anger.

Judaism is realistic. Passover does not promote a dreamy optimism or cheery confidence that God will keep everything neat and nice. Even the chosen people are vulnerable to oppression and murderous hatred. There’s room in Passover for Auschwitz.

The New Testament makes a bold promise. Whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but will have eternal life. But Christianity also takes an honest approach, which makes believers take a long, hard look at death. The central symbol of Christianity, the cross, evokes a brutal execution. For Catholics, the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter is the only day of the year on which the Eucharist, the power of eternal life, is not provided. On that day we must endure death’s awful emptiness, in a spiritual way, just as, sooner or later, we must feel death’s terrible blows in brutal, literal ways.

It is a mistake to think that Christian faith somehow denies or evades the reality of death. In a church in Isenheim, Germany, there is an early 16th-century altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald. It depicts Jesus dead on the cross, his fingers gruesomely contorted in final agony. For Christians, the crucified Messiah is the dead soldier, half buried in mud, his face contorted and body torn. He is amid the bodies uncovered in mass graves.

The early Christians did not celebrate Easter with sunrise services. They gathered in the deepest darkness, long before dawn, for the Easter Vigil, which has been restored in many churches, including the Catholic Church. In the Vigil, Christians are like the Israelites fleeing with Pharaoh’s army. Easter begins in a night-darkened church. We are in the valley of the shadow of death.

SOURCE: The Profound Connection Between Easter and Passover – WSJ,

Symbols …

An egg is a tiny mystery, said Erik Larson, chair of FIU’s religious studies department. The opaque shell hides what’s happening until it bursts open and “new life springs out,” he said.

Ancient people were intrigued by eggs and associated their oval shape with rebirth and fertility. Rabbits, with their power to procreate, also are considered a fertility symbol, which may explain where the more secular “Easter bunny” comes from.

Neither eggs nor rabbits have a connection to the Biblical record, said UM’s religious studies chair David Kling. Christians co-opted these pagan symbols and ascribed them a part in the Easter story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Easter eggs are said to be symbolic of Jesus emerging from the tomb and ultimate resurrection on Easter Sunday.

In some places, eggs were considered a delicacy and were forbidden during the 40 days of Lent, a Christian period of abstinence that precedes Easter, and then were eaten on the holiday.

Mesopotamian Christians, who date to the Fourth century, were the first to adopt eggs as an Easter food, and the first to decorate them. They dyed the eggs bright red as a symbol of the blood Jesus Christ shed on the cross. Eastern Europeans took it up a notch, creating intricate patterns out of wax, carving and embellishments.

But Christians also might have adopted eating eggs at Easter from the religion the early Christians converted from — Judaism. Eggs are included on the Passover Seder plate, commemorating one of the sacrifices performed during the Seder in ancient times.

“It’s kind of a universal symbol,” Larson said.

Read more here:


The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.


SOURCE: The Ancient Poem That Will Put Your Life in Perspective | Good Sh*t | OZY,



4.3.17 … “Not all who wander are lost.”

Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (Walk 34/40), finger walk and virtual labyrinth walk @ home, Charlotte NC:

While I was out to do my walk, the bottom fell out of the sky. So I shopped for groceries, returned home and decided it would be a virtual walk and research session.

I found this great video So after watching that, I went through my pictures from August 2014. I then walked using an overview shot of the labyrinth which according to the video is an aerial shot taken through the hole in the keystone. When I looked back at my 2014 pictures, I remembered my 4 walks: the first was right after the chairs were removed, and I was one of the first; the second walk was busier, and there were quite a few children; the third, I walked barefoot, and there was a woman walking on her knees, and the last, the labyrinth was packed, and it truly felt like a dance. And within my pics I found the prayer I prayed while walking. The cathedral had a stack of different prayers. I can’t wait to go back!

I’ve also included a pic of one of the 4 info boards situated at the four corners of the labyrinth. They are interesting.

And then I searched for a virtual walk of Chartres and found this:

About Labyrinths:

The labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral is an integral part of the stone floor in the main nave, of which it takes up the entire width and forms a circular stone drawing, more than 12 metres in diameter.

In order to reach the centre, you must follow a tortuous path 261,55 metres long: enough to give you time to meditate on the way!

Very few mediaeval labyrinths have been preserved in France. This is the largest.

Until 1792, there was a copper plaque in the centre of the six petal rose, figuring Theseus and the Minotaur, symbols of Christ and the Devil, doing battle.

The labyrinth is an impressive and mysterious work which, over the centuries, has lost its original meaning.

It has been interpreted in many different ways, some of which have been extravagantly fantastic. But recent research has revealed the true role it played in the religious life of the Middle Ages.

The aerial view of the labyrinth is taken through the hole in the keystone.

SOURCE: A day in Chartres – 10 – Infos,

And a few quotes:

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

“’Nobody is so poor that he/she has nothing to give, and nobody is so rich that he/she has nothing to receive.’ These words by Pope John-Paul II, offer a powerful direction for all who want to work for peace. No peace is thinkable as long as the world remains divided into two groups: those who give and those who receive. Real human dignity is found in giving as well as receiving. This is true not only for individuals but for nations, cultures, and religious communities as well.

A true vision of peace sees a continuous mutuality between giving and receiving. Let’s never give anything without asking ourselves what we are receiving from those to whom we give, and let’s never receive anything without asking what we have to give to those from whom we receive.”

SOURCE: Henri Nouwen Society | The Dignity to Give and Receive – Henri Nouwen Society,

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

– Mark Twain

“I also have learned the surprising virtue of the wandering mind. I read somewhere maybe fifteen years ago that, if your mind wanders in prayer, don’t fret about it. Whatever your mind wandered toward is exactly what you need to be in conversation with God about, what you need to offer up to God. So now I try to remember: if my mind wanders, instead of giving myself a thrashing and trying to get back to my praying, I wrap my mind fully around what I drifted off toward, and share it with and ask God about it. I hope J.R.R. Tolkien was right: “Not all who wander are lost.”

If your mind wanders, I am guessing you are like me. My mind never wanders toward happy, peaceful scenes. Instead, my mind wanders toward what is worrisome, what I’m fearful of or anxious about getting done or facing. Oswald Chambers’s wonderful daily devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, has been helping me here. He points out that a barrier to prayer is that “we have misgivings about Jesus” and what he actually is capable of doing. We think, “Of course I cannot expect God to do this thing.” Chambers is right, and the way he capitalizes He and Him when speaking of God helps: “We impoverish His ministry the moment we forget He is Almighty; the impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We won’t believe… We prefer to worry on.”

We hate worry – but just maybe, we are rather attached to it, and prefer to continue to worry, probably because we think it’s all up to us, we fantasize that we are in control, and know nothing about God’s power and what it is in prayer to yield control to God.

Lord, I am afflicted, and maybe blessed, with a wandering mind. Whatever my mind drifts toward, let me find the way to bring that to you, and even to dare to trust you with whatever it may be. “

– James Howell

SOURCE: Prayer: wandering mind,–wandering-mind.html?soid=1104220709083&aid=ru17DWoerVQ



3.28.17 … “So after that very short space of time I can walk out of there knowing at least my next step. That’s all I might know but at least I come away with knowing my next step.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (Walk28/40), finger labyrinth @ home, Charlotte NC:

I’m so glad I don’t believe that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions!”

Loved this from below … “So after that very short space of time I can walk out of there knowing at least my next step. That’s all I might know but at least I come away with knowing my next step.”

About Labyrinths and thin places …

Last Saturdays Celtic Spirituality Night service theme explored the thin places where we meet and feel the divine. They can be a specific place or a fleeting time. I set up the labyrinth with votive (electric) candles across the center. Walking it you end up weaving in and out of the lights – the thin place. Once at the center of the labyrinth you join the line of lights, you are standing on that barrier between our world and the realm of the spirit. This spot can be translucent, and in it I reflected on the other places and times where I felt the thin places in my life.

– At Columiille Megalith Park, usually in the Eye sculpture

– At my father’s death – that was a very special and difficult place to be.

– actually at every death that I have been present for; human, canine, feline.

– most labyrinths that I have walked.

And I thought of others that are walking or have walked in those same places, friends who are currently saying goodbye to a loved one, a dear dear friend who has shepherded a number of fur-babies through long illnesses and their deaths, ones who have been present at the births of their grandchildren, others who have been present at the deaths of parents, or friends, some that evoke the holy through music and song._

My heart goes out to them. Standing and staying, holding space for friends, loved ones and for strangers –

“Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now…

And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.” – Caroline Adams

Celts would say heaven and earth are never more than three feet apart, but in the thin places the separation is tissue paper thin.

The point is not so much that we are closer to God in the thin places, but that the thin places make us more aware of the closeness of God everywhere.

Blessings on the path.


I do go because often there is a question I have in my mind’s eye that I’m entertaining and I’m wanting to place it into some silent sacred space to see what my next step might be with regard to it. And that venue, given that it’s uncluttered by words, uncluttered by people’s opinions and unfettered by points of view, I’m able to do that inner journey and, as it were, let the insight drop down. So after that very short space of time I can walk out of there knowing at least my next step. That’s all I might know but at least I come away with knowing my next step.

Jeff Trahair: Yes, they do, and just month by month with some of the regular walkers, some of them take to it very, very comfortably and have a vehicle of their own bodies and hearts that they can just open up on the labyrinth, and with their bodies they move and can explore the way they turn corners, all the sorts of movement sorts of things that can be done, but also the symbolic use of the space and their place in the space is quite obvious. I never pry for why people do what they do but it’s just apparent as you sit on the sidelines and watch that each person has their own particular disposition and physicality that is present when they walk the labyrinth, and it’s very beautiful to watch.

Jeff Trahair: Yes, I’ve always been a bit surprised at how many people come to those walks. We’ve been doing them for six years and some of them are…we wash feet on Thursday night, for instance, and have a quiet meal in the middle of a labyrinth, and on Good Friday we have an extinguishing of candles around a Tenebrae-type walk. It’s interesting because I guess some people who have been away or haven’t practiced in church rituals or liturgies for many years perhaps could come back to look at those practices afresh without the prejudices of it being very starchy and rigid and uncomfortable like sitting on pews in cold churches, for instance.

So in a way I think it’s the best of both worlds because the power and meaning of those symbols and signs can be seen afresh by people outside the confines of doctrine and dogma. And the concept of washing someone’s feet before they walk a long distance as an act of service doesn’t need the architecture or necessarily the story of Jesus to understand the power and beauty of that act of service, one to another. So I think there’s an immediacy that was probably at the heart of the ritual observances anyway in the Christian practices that people can be very comfortable with, irrespective of whether they understand the particular Jesus narrative or Christian narrative that might go along with them.

Tony Collins: You talked about the labyrinth as a wonderful way of enhancing community. How do you see it working in that way?

Jeff Trahair: It’s my favourite aspect of the labyrinth; to be in silence with a bunch of other people that might attend our walks. Being with each other quietly requires tolerance, a stillness of mind that doesn’t need to know a whole lot about other people, doesn’t form the relationship with what you have asked and what you have been told but just accepts very charitably the generosity of each other to be with each other. And to do that in silence without the intrusion of questions and being interested or not interested and all the things that flow with language and conversation is a very mighty tool of tolerance, and I think everyone experiences that in the walks.

At the end of the walk when we come together and hold hands and pass peace to bring the night to close, it is always a bittersweet moment of parting but equally well of very great joy and comfort in each other’s company. I think the labyrinth teaches you that, it teaches you to accept other people around you without the agenda of all their individuality, which is very beautiful, but the very robust way of being with each other is possible without all that individual stuff as well.

Via @tinybuddha: Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.



3.24.17 … I’ve been dropped into the perfect spring evening in Charlotte …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (Walk 24/40), Avondale Presbyterian Church, Charlotte NC:

Cacophony of sound… chimes, many different birds, fire trucks, and music from a neighboring backyard. And the redbud trees just look wonderful.

I drove back from Atlanta this morning and I thought to myself, it is cold and cloudy and feels like we stepped back into the dead of winter. Eight hours later, I feel like I’ve been dropped into the perfect spring evening in Charlotte. This year continues to have strange weather.

From the book shelf:

Four new books for my stack … no quotes yet. 😉


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November 2020