Faith

The Healing Nature of Going Outdoors: Reflections on Quarantine and The Secret Garden

At dusk I walk fast. So fast I can feel my circulation buzzing in my lips when I return home. My family is in quarantine after returning from our spring break in March. After being entirely at home, I’m struck by the smells. The smell of an engine as a car passes me, of dryer sheets […]

Shame on Me

I think I’ve been brainwashed.  The unexpected thought pierced my sleepy fog. Although after midnight, we girls were dragged from our sleeping bags for a special lecture. Clumped together on a couple of couches, we yawned and tried to listen. I was sadly aware that my alarm was going off in less than six hours. […]

In Bed with Shame

Confession: Sometimes I watch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” just so I feel better about my own life. I can’t always tell them apart, but there’s something satisfying about seeing Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, Kendall, Kylie, Kris, Caitlyn and Rob weave in and out of drama. (Thank goodness for Rob, as all good alliteration must come […]

Learning the Language of Hope

Shame was a language I learned early, right along with how to say “please” and “thank you.” There was an unspoken etiquette we learned growing up in the Southern United States. The tea should be sweet. You should address people older than you as “ma’am” and “sir.” I knew the taste of collard greens and […]

Stealing Joy

Mindful of mental wellness and practicing self-care, I sought solace for my soul. I am overwhelmed. I am weary and seek to manage my anger and disappointment. My practice? Staying mostly quiet, writing, and stealing joy.

Deeper Still: Mental Illness and Love’s Long Reach

God’s angels held back the car as Rose intentionally ran in front of it. I grabbed my little girl, held her, and began weeping. Why would a child try to kill herself? Why does God allow such brokenness?  The air froze in my lungs as Rose told the doctor that she wanted to die and […]

Another Thorn, Another Rose (Mental Illness as a Blessing)

I fight against harm perpetrated both by the myth of the Strong Black Woman and the stigma my culture attaches to mental illness every day. Since 1619, America nurtures me to mute my emotions, my pain, and my fear.

Breaking

I’ve had my share of youthful indiscretions. (Mom, please exit here and look at some of my baby pictures instead.) Not least among these was that time in college when my roommate Marie and I finished finals early. The cumulative stress from the completed semester was palpable. So we let loose like any other restless […]

This is for you, Love.

This is for you, Love. You who stands with arms outstretched and ready to receive. I see you, and I celebrate you.⁠ For you, it’s always Mother’s Day. There is no need for birth certificate or birthright with you—you are not defined by nature or pedigree. Family is more than blood to you, and your […]

Of Bread and Hope

This is a story about yeast. Schools have been closed for three weeks when we enter into Holy Week. Playgrounds are shuttered; church has gone virtual. A friend of ours has moved away to be closer to family during the pandemic, and my eight-year-old daughter is absolutely indignant. “Allison’s leaving?!?” my daughter expostulates—reminding me, as […]

Pandemic Prayer: Protect This Marriage

We’re entering week seven of shelter-in-place here in Massachusetts. COVID-19 has hit us hard. The direct effects are visible in the obit section of the city paper (all 21 pages!) but also in the everyday lives of men, women, and children whose worlds have been turned upside down. My husband and I do pastoral care […]

This Open Table

Not long after my husband and I were married over 15 years ago, one of our first “grown-up” purchases was an antique, oak kitchen table. It can expand to make room for more guests. Through the years, many guests have indeed dined there, resulting in several scratches and knicks that add to its charm. The […]