Monday, October 29, 2007


"I never travel on 35W, especially since the construction started"
"It's too hard to get from our exit over to the Crosstown through all the lanes"
"How can you stand that commute everyday?"


Then, BAM! Our brand new van's rearend got rearended. Hard. By a bigass Dodge Durango. Ouch. So tomorrow, Sienna goes to the van hospital for a few days. We get a free rental out of the deal, and my chiropractic and massage treatments are covered for the duration of the healing process. Fortunately the boys weren't with me ... the system works, and already my back is a lot better ... but dang. I didn't need this right now.

On a much larger scale, this theme of being chastened by the hard realities of life is playing out in the lives of my fellow pastor Rolf Olson and his family as they mourn the tragic death of their beautiful daughter Catherine. Catherine had answered a Crag's list ad for a Nanny job, went to the interview, and was brutally murdered by the 19 year old sicko who placed the ad. I cannot imagine the anguish this family is going through.

Some weeks ago, our neighbor, Mark Loesch was randomly murdered as he took a late night ride on his bicycle. There are no leads. Just a man beat to death for going out on his bike, and a family that is, I'm sure beaten down with grief.

How careful do we need to be? How full of evil is this world? Not that I in anyway compare my little fender bender with these tragedies, but, I just want to say, it is sick that we must not only drive defensively, but LIVE defensively. I didn't know Catherine at all, and I only knew Mark in a neighborly sort of way ... but their lives and their spirits that live on attest to the fact that they would rather we live DEFIANTLY in their honor. It is so tempting to become timid when you witness the random evil of this world ... Jesus advised us: 'Be as wise as serpants and as innocent as doves ...' that's as sound advice as one can ask for in days like these.

Say a prayer for the families of Catherine and Mark ... and be bold! Be strong! For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Neither Life Nor Death Shall Ever ...

from the Lord his children sever. Don has gone home. He passed on Friday October 5. He hovered at that threshold for a couple of days, and all of his family members were able to come and spend some time with him. His funeral was beautiful... lots of folks from his parishes in Blooming Prairie and Farmington. It was a fitting tribute for a wonderful man.

At the family service the evening before his funeral, we gathered to sing and share memories; my favorite was singing the new (to me) hymn "You Are Mine" by David Haas. Tears washed my face as we sang,

I will come to you in the silence,
I will lift you from all your fear.
You will hear my voice, I claim you as my choice,
be still and know I am here.

I am hope for all who are hopeless,
I am eyes for all who long to see.
In the shadows of the night, I will be your light,
come and rest in me.

Do not be afraid I am with you,
I have called you each by name.
Come and follow me, I will bring you home;
I love you and you are mine.

I am strength for all the despairing,
healing for the ones who dwell in shame.
All the blind will see, the lame will all run free,
and all will know my name.

I am the Word that leads all to freedom.
I am the peace that world cannot give.
I will call your name, embracing all your pain,
Stand up, now walk, and live!

The funeral was a week ago, and we are slowly getting our feet under us again. There is such a surreal field of energy that fogs one in when grief sets in.

Eric and I took a 24 hour retreat last Friday/Saturday, stayed at a hotel, caught a movie, slept in, wandered the Minneapolis riverfront ... it was such a sweet break from the aforementioned fog ... made all the sweeter because we have a fresh perspective on how short and precious life is.

The boys are doing pretty well. Luke continues to process verbally ... Where is Grandpa? Why can't he shake my hand? (when we viewed him in his casket) Micah processes internally, so I'm never sure what his questions might be. We keep checking in ... letting him know we love him, offering safe space for conversation.

And, life just keeps moving along ...
It's MEA week, so we're juggling work and kid-care
We've got a "house cooling" Happy Hour at the Bungalow on Friday
WE'RE moving on November 10 (not quite in time for trick or treat in AV)
And the workloads for E and me didn't take a break for us last week!

On we go. I know Don is cheering all of his kids and grandkids on with a hearty "High-O!"

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

At the Threshold

These thin places were threshold places --
a border or frontier place
where two worlds meet
and where one has the possibility of
communicating with the other."
-- Peter Gomes

Eric's father Don is at the threshold. A friend told me recently that our family is in an enviable position, because we are approaching that holy time, that sacred space that only appears at the beginnings and endings of life in this realm. It is true that in these thin places we can almost feel the brush of angel's wings. We know we are in the presence of the Holy one.

And yet, we also live with the dreadful knowledge that we will never hear Don's wonderful voice again.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid." ~Jesus