Monday, August 18, 2014


"When there is the encounter with the other, 
when there is mutuality, when there is presence, 
when there is giving and receiving, 
and both are changed in that encounter, 
that is the moment when you can 
begin to move toward transformation."
~Richard Rohr 

We lit a candle in a quiet corner of Panera.

We arrived in time for mid-morning tea, remained through a leisurely lunch, and left just before dinner.  This artist/kindred date that I had been anticipating for months was like a steady and cool stream of water to my soul, filling up my tired, empty places, and saturating my week with color and grace.  It was a soul-space that allowed for breathing and didn't require work; it was beautiful and fuzzy-sock comfortable, as if we were on a couch sharing hearts in front of a fire, or sitting at a sunny kitchen nook laughing through a spring day.

Our table quickly became covered with clippings and pens, stamps and journals, and the conversation flowed above and beneath these things, slipping into the nooks that opened up in our creating.  It struck me that between our creative hands and hearts was an understanding that art and friendship themselves are spiritual elements.  We could feel each other's creative energy through the mess, and always the Spirit of God hovered over our hands as if in colorful blessing.

Certain things in this world are a healing balm – and art is one of them.

Looking back over this time now, I see it even more for the respite that it was.  The simple fact that Erica and I had the opportunity to see each other, accept each other, and love each other, as hatred and  evil danced in tandem in so many other places, almost makes my heart weep with gratitude.

Sometimes it's easy to see the beauty in the "other" {any human soul who is not "me"} but that doesn't make it any less crucial when it isn't.  When I see the way we God-created souls treat other, not only in the physical violence of this world, but also then the social media violence in response, my stomach knots its "why?" deep within me.

I have no answer.  And I choose to pray in silence, where the Spirit who connects us all carries my groans farther than Facebook or Twitter ever could.

Can we please, please begin to see each other?  See the beauty in color, and mess, and chaos?  

Both at tables in Panera, and in the human heart?

This is my request.  Amen.