Personal


My friend Elise killed herself.

Tim gave me the news yesterday.  I think it happened Sunday (or maybe the prior Sunday, but I wasn’t really tracking dates). (more…)

“… Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

“Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so …
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
and death shall be no more …”

I thought of these words, from Dylan Thomas and John Donne respectively, when my friend and colleague, Marcia, died just before this All Saints’ Day.  I think they capture some of the tension I feel between my sense of loss and anger when someone dies and my belief in the promise of fullness of life with God in the communion of saints. (more…)

My friend, Jill’s, father died recently.
Turns out his first name was William. Maybe I knew that once? But he was really just Jill’s dad to me. And he was a character. He worked at Cal Tech, and for a while he was in the Guinness Book of Records as the inventor (builder?) of the world’s smallest working machine. (They eventually did away with this category.) When a group, including Jill and I, were arrested for civil disobedience (in protest of the use of antipersonnel weapons in areas with civilian populations during the Vietnam War) he took (I believe) a still photo of the TV coverage (back when cameras were not digital) as a memento for us. I wonder if Jill still has it — she keeps that kind of thing. (more…)

PAYING THE PASSAGE

Make way!
Make way!
Make way for the image of God.

Sometimes
my brother
I thought you would live forever …

Oh!
That’s right!
You will …

Be at peace my brother.

May this day find you
in good cheer
and in little pain.

Warm the home fires for me
soon.

May you find enduring peace
in the fire
of God’s consuming love.

Remember me
if you will
as you feast
at his table.

I wrote this yesterday, with the following introduction:

This started this morning (in bed) as I imagined sending an email to my friend, Leo Joseph, a Franciscan monastic and an Episcopal Priest, who is, still, to my knowledge, nearing the end of his battle with cancer.

Overnight I received word on how Brother Leo is actually doing:

John, Susan Reeve said something about an email I was supposed to have received from you this AM. I told her I hadn’t received any such. She then showed me a copy of your thoughtful prayer for Fr. Leo. Thank you for it. We ended up actually not using it for now, because, as I explained to the group, Leo, while terminal, has been chugging along for almost a year since diagnosis (even tho at one point I thought he’d be gone by last Christmas!). At this point, death doesn’t appear to be imminent yet. He continues to celebrate weekly Sun. Eucharist at St. John’s, attend Vestry meetings, take short trips & visit friends occasionally, etc. His attitude is good, he’s alert & hasn’t lost his wicked sense of humor. To look at him externally, you wouldn’t really guess he has cancer; he’s actually gained some girth because of the swelling. That being said, he tires very easily and has to pace himself, and realizes that his present condition can change on a dime. I just wanted you to know that his current status isn’t presently quite as dire as it sounded from your note. There will, I’m sure, come a time in the future when your wonderful prayer will be most useful. Harry

I went to the Snow Goose Festival in Chico with Anne over this past weekend.  It was nice to get away with her (and to supply in Paradise on Sunday).  It was good to do a bit of birding.  And going to the festival brought to mind one of the “great” experiences of my life.  Which involved snow geese — I think.  I’ve talked about this experience before, but I don’t believe I’ve ever written it down. (more…)

Went to the support group for those who’ve had bariatric surgeries put on by the group that did my preparation and surgery early last February.  I think that’s the fourth time I’ve attended (which means I’m getting there about every three months).  I may be able to get to some of the once a month Saturday during the day sessions (rather than the late evening monthly sessions I’ve been attending).  But, frankly, I probably need to supplement with a closer group (most such support groups are open to anyone who’s had this kind of surgery) if I want to be more regular.  And regular participation in such a group seems to make a real difference in how things work out long-term.  It’s also a chance to give back. (more…)

The Chico Snow Goose Festival is not this weekend, but next week (Thursday through Sunday) and looks like quite an event.  To see what’s going on, click here:  Snow Goose Festival.

I have a strong sense of Advent from a year ago.  It was a time of real renewal for me.  Part of that was from being able to participate in the Benedictine Weekend Retreat at the Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg (which I would love to be able to do regularly).  Part of that was beginning to get immersed in the monastic version of the St. Helena Breviary.  I haven’t been able to maintain that level of immersion, but I think that’s still really feeding my spiritual life.  Much of it was sheer grace – simply a gift.

On the other hand, I have very little sense of Christmas from a year ago. (more…)

You may remember (if you’ve been following) that I had gastric bypass surgery about 10 months back.  Mostly, things have been pretty status quo for a while — so while it continues to be something I deal with every day, I really haven’t had much to say about it for a while.

But I heard last night about another guy who had the same surgery, and had pretty much the same complications I’ve had (more…)

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