Silent Retreat: Deepening Intimacy

Silent retreat is a serious commitment and practice common to spiritual seekers throughout history. Conversations about the spiritual journey are studded with transformational experiences that have occurred on quiet days, weekends, or even quiet months. When my children were young, it was only possible for me to attend day retreats. But I remember being drawn […]

Thoughts on Spiritual Direction

The medieval mystic Hafiz said, “Like a great starving beast, my body is quivering, fixed on the scent of Light.” That’s a radical thought for us to bring to spiritual direction, both as director and directee. That quivering in me is the strong, graced desire for communion—communion with the enlightening, loving truth of God. Jesus […]

Found by God

Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near. Let scoundrel forsake their ways, and the wicked their thoughts; let them turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is […]

Deeper Than Words

A shimmering ray of sunlight brushed across her thick black hair. It slanted onto the table near the hard wooden chair where she sat slumped in sorrow. Her head was bowed and tears were flowing freely down her cheeks. She was surprised by this new and unexpected surge of grief. She thought it was over, […]

The Challenge of this Special Time

In a recent letter, a Trappist monk who has been my friend for decades, wrote this to me: “It is a special time to be living and praying…” This simple phrase immediately went to my heart. It seemed true, with a depth of meaning I would lean into in the days ahead. My friend is […]

Healing Prayer for the World

The other day I found myself weeping over the state of our world. I felt deep grief and pain; I call it being heartsick. I felt moved to seek out another person so I could share this deep pain. As we sat together and I wept, I felt comforted. I told of the troubles I […]

Three Leadership Lessons from John Woolman

In this time of multiple pandemics and many crises, I struggle with how to relate to those with whom I disagree. How do I find the wisdom to interact in a loving way; how do I speak my truth so they might hear? I find the eighteenth-century American Quaker John Woolman inspiring and instructive for […]

With My Heart Enlightened

Last February was the 10-year anniversary of my open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve. The valve problem was caused by a congenital defect, and the time had finally had come for the replacement. Scripture, mystics, and poets say that the heart is the organ of spiritual perception. I’ve wondered if the purpose of […]

Hearts Broken Open

In mid-March, all the numbers fell off my calendar and clock as my carefully arranged plans changed in an instant. With the spread and threat of the COVID-19 virus, my sensibly constructed life changed. For the next month, I would watch every single plan change, die, or be reconceived in some way or another. The […]

Mustard Seeds and Yeast

[Jesus] proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell […]