Archive for June, 2013

On Saturday morning I went for a walk with my friend Erin from seminary and then later had coffee and a muffin with her and her husband, Evan – also a seminary friend.  Erin and I enjoy rich conversation over spiritual matters and this week she shared that she has been exploring what it means to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

My initial reaction was that unceasing prayer is faithless.  If you ask over and over for the same things, then it means that you don’t have faith that your prayers will be answered. But Evan chimed in with a different view, suggesting that the meaning of prayer is to draw you into solidarity with others.  We should pray unceasingly in order to remain connected. 

We agreed that we didn’t have the answers and moved on in our conversation.

However, In the time since Saturday (its Monday) I have been privy to three strikingly painful stories involving three different people that I really love.  In each situation I was faced with the reality that I don’t have the answers and that I cant fix things for my friends. 

So instead I prayed. 

I prayed for wisdom and strength as they shared. I prayed that GOD’s LOVE would flow through me as I listened and responded to their stories.  I prayed for words to say that are wise and true.

And now I am praying for these three and others.  I am praying that GRACE flows through them and aids them in their healing; gathering the broken and torn pieces and mending them back together.  I am praying for LOVE to permeate the systems in which they function, eradicating external factors that are intensifying their pain.

I am overflowing with empathy and compassion for my loved ones in this moment and I am with them as they explore life’s difficult questions. 

Why is life so hard?

I don’t know. But I am praying. Without ceasing.

They are truly amazing, those lessons that LIFE brings when we start paying attention.


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Yesterday I went to a Copeland funeral. My line sister in Delta Sigma Theta is married to a Copeland. These are the Copeland’s of Trenton, I am a Copeland from Ohio, we cant prove a familial tie but one can never be sure about those things.

What was amazing about this funeral is that it brought me back to the place where Kesner’s funeral was held, almost three years later – to the day. Readers may remember the myriad of feelings that I experienced at Kesner’s funeral, I expressed them so very clearly in my prior note – “Homegoing.” The bottom line is that I was angry.

But I realize that something in me has changed.

My friend Andrea said that holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. I think she got that from someone on facebook who got it from Buddha, or the Dali Lama.

So I decided to go to the funeral. I actually felt compelled to go to the funeral and to stay all day. I wanted to be there for my line sister, mainly so that she knew that there was someone in the room that was there just to support her. The ministry of presence. And I also viewed this as a sweet opportunity from GOD to exercise my forgiveness muscle and to see what it would be like to let go of my anger.

The funeral was amazing. The Copeland brother that passed was somebody who had changed also; as an audience member who did not know him, you got the sense that this brother may have disappointed some people close to him at one point. But he had a second chance. The theme was all about second chances and the sermon was extraordinary.

extraordinarily excellent. Life won.

And I forgave. I let it go.

I wasn’t big enough to go speak to the pastor after the service to thank him. I didn’t have enough courage to do that, so there is still more work in me to be done. But isn’t that always the case? That we are all works in progress, all of the time?

Many things have come full circle since this story began. Lessons have come up again, allowing me the opportunity to respond differently. with more maturity. This is growth. And yesterday felt like a homecoming.

It was so fitting that this all happened with the Copelands. I think we are family. We must be. There was a young cousin there, about 24. He looked like my brother Gary!

My grandfather’s grandfather was killed on a train track when my grandfather’s father was 6 months old. that’s as far back as we can go. Maybe that man had brothers? Maybe one of those brothers made it to NJ. And maybe God brought us all together again to sort of figure it out, or at least wonder about it. A homecoming.

This life is full of mystery and wonder. Thank God for the journey!!


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