It was a summer day. Bees were sticking their heads in flowers. Birds were bringing worms back to their nests. And the master was walking another apprentice through the garden. The young man was confused, “You tell us to work hard and you also tell us that what matters just happens.” The master said, “Yes, both are true.” The young man felt toyed with, “Why should we work hard if it doesn’t matter?” As the apprentice kept talking, the master… Read more

Millions paused all over America to look to the sky. Finally, everyone stopped bickering and stood together. From the hills of Virginia to the streets of New York, you could hear everyone breathe beneath their arguments. As the moon bowed to the sun, reasons unraveled. Without the noise, you could feel everything come alive a little bit more. We couldn’t look directly into such a powerful truth. The sky dimmed. The ancients must have thought the world was turning inside… Read more

Like so many, I’ve been deeply troubled by the events of Charlottesville and Trump’s response. I wrote this piece to help myself make sense of where we find ourselves. I share this with all of you and invite you to share it with others. Always, we must remember and affirm that we are more together than alone.   In the wake of white supremacists marching violently through Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th, in the aftermath of Nazis stalking a synagogue… Read more

I just saw a handwritten note from Galileo. He was under house arrest for believing we’re not the center of everything. Now behind me, in the park, a dozen beginners, of all ages, learning how to juggle. We have to start somewhere. The young man who’s so magical at this is asked to instruct. He smiles, “You have to keep trying. Just not the same thing.” Earlier, I leaned over a letter from Lincoln to a dead soldier’s mother. This,… Read more

My wife, Susan, was ill last spring with a serious stomach flu that took us to the emergency room. Tending her brought me closer to the paradox of true care: that giving our all is what matters though we can’t take another’s suffering from them. Yet this awkward tending means everything. On the eighth day, after fixing her pillow and rubbing her head, we heard a bird we didn’t recognize, and that sweet short warble brought us back into life…. Read more

Your mother has died and you feel her tenderness everywhere you turn. You reach for her and come up empty. You long to pick up the phone and call. You look for things of hers to hold. But the dearest thing she held was you. Perhaps her greatest gift in going is that to feel her now, you have to hold yourself.   You ask how I can go on? Why don’t I have regrets? I guess I’ve been worn… Read more

It was in the attic of my heart, one of those darkly stained, cherry dressers with slender legs turned on a lathe and lacquered. It had a small keyhole but no key. After all the years of opening and closing, the doors were slightly warped. I had forgotten it was there. But on this clear day, I felt at ease, and the breeze made the dresser rattle way inside and I went to see. The attic in my heart was… Read more

It was the son of a soldier, a soldier who killed his own people. It was that gentle son who went in despair to his grandfather’s bridge to ask in his solitude why.   And that night he dreamt that everyone who’d been hurt and everyone who’d done the hurting met on that bridge. And in their awkwardness and pain, it began to rain flowers which grazing their skin opened their faces and they were healed.   And the flowers,… Read more

She was riding a horse sidesaddle through the yellowing leaves. He was watching her with such longing that I knew he would never love another. It is often this way. The heart relaxed open at the right time meets someone in the middle of coming alive and we think it can only be this one or we are lost. It can take decades to understand that nothing over there holds anything more precious than where we are. Yet it’s a… Read more

Having burned dreams to keep warm, I think of dreams as kindling now. Having carried loved ones as far as I could to the other side, I make your coffee and bring you a tissue, as if these gestures open us to Heaven.   Because they do.   Having outlasted the noise in my head and yours, I can at times hear the breath of life between our disappointments.   Meeting this way, more than halfway through, I ask different… Read more

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