Friday, October 15, 2010

It gets better

Today, I am very proud of my church, The Episcopal Church, and of my city, Fort Worth because leaders in the church and in my city have spoken out to tell hurting young people that "It Gets Better."

In the face of recent suicides, it is more important than ever that the voices of church leaders be heard to counter those who would use the Bible as a weapon against young fragile people. And it is important for secular leaders to speak up as well,

So I give thanks to Bishop Gene Robinson, to the bishops of the Diocese of Los Angeles, and to the Rev. Susan Russell, just a few of those in The Episcopal Church who have spoken out. And I give thanks for City Councilman Joel Burns, an old friend, who made himself emotionally and politically vulnerable in order to reach out to suffering young people.

Pray for
Tyler Clementi, 18-year-old Rutgers University student
Asher Brown, 13, of Houston, Texas
Seth Walsh, 13, of Tehachapi, California
Billy Lucas, 15, of Greensburg, Indiana
Raymond Chase, 19, of Providence, Rhode Island
Caleb Nolt, 14, of Ft. Wayne, Indiana
Justin Aaberg, 15, of Anoka, Minnesota.

And watch the videos below. I believe this is what God calls all of us to do.

Bishop Gene Robinson

The Rev. Susan Russell

The Bishops of Los Angeles

City Councilman Joel Burns

Monday, October 11, 2010

Go. Read. Pray.

Please go read what the Rev. Michael Hopkins said in his sermon on Sunday.

It is at this link.

Go. Read. Pray.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Missing part of one wing

I miss Mom every day, but I miss her most on Sundays.

Sundays were when I had more time to spend with her, to have a leisurely lunch after church, and maybe take a drive through the prettiest neighborhoods of the city, or out in the countryside.

Mom loved riding in the car. She talked with me more, engaged with me more, when we were in the car together. I think this was a legacy of the necessarily long car drives she and my dad made on a regular basis out in West Texas. Iraan, the tiny town in which we lived, was -- as everyone joked -- 300 miles from EVERYWHERE.

Highway near Iraan

It took nearly a two-day drive just to get out of the state of Texas. So my busy parents found this time in the car as precious space in which they could talk, undisturbed except by the necessity to admonish the four of us squirreling around in the back seat to quiet down or -- ultimate threat -- "I will have to stop this car!"

On our drives, Mom would comment on the clouds -- Texas has fantastic cloudscapes -- or on the flowers in someone's yard. She loved hearing about my garden, so every Saturday, I would walk the garden making mental notes of things to tell her about at our Sunday lunch. She especially loved hearing about the plants that I had moved from her garden. If she were still here, tomorrow I'd be telling her about the pink plumeria that finally bloomed after three years and showing her the photos I took with my phone.

The only thing she loved hearing about more than the garden was news about Daniella, or about her great-grandsons, Curran and Gavin. As she did with all her great-grandchildren, she thought they were perfect and among the most intelligent beings on the planet.

On our drives she would talk to me about things she had read, or been thinking about. These were precious times to me, because as she got more frail, she got quieter, less inclined than ever to join into the boisterous conversation that characterizes our family gatherings. She was never one to talk a lot, so when she did, we all listened, because it was always a pithy, cogent observation. She didn't miss a thing.

It was on these car drives that she began to talk to me about how ready she was to die. Not that she didn't love us, but she was just tired -- and lonely. She missed my dad so much.

She told me she had had long conversations with God on the subject of her death. She told God how ready she was, how she was sure we would be OK if she left us for awhile.

I would listen and assure her that, yes, we would be OK, that she knew we would miss her terribly but we would be OK.

I lied.

It's not OK.

Mom, I saw this butterfly in the garden the other day.

It was still functioning, still flying from flower to flower, but it is missing part of one wing.

That's how I feel. I'm missing part of one wing.