Sailing Away and Staying Here for Peace

My first thought about this photo was that it was a temptation, but i think it’s more likely simply a reminder…

From time to time — on a regular basis — it’s important to get away from everything.

Finding our own Peace as we’re working for Peace is important.

It’s important as we consider the value of each precious life, that we consider the value of our own precious lives. We all need time away if we’re going to be effective at our work and in our personal lives.

And oh, doesn’t this boat and the cove in this lake make you think that, casting off for a sail is a good idea? There are some temptations which are not merely idle; some, like this invitation to breathe the air out on the water, offer a call to Life and an understanding of the Peace that reminds us that Peace is vital to the world.

Sail away, indeed! Peace it up!


Finishing the Work, Reaping the Peace

We have to find a way to bless the work we do. To accept that we’re here, we’re doing what we can, and to give ourselves a break. To bless this day and the work we have done.

If we can’t justify the rest at the end of the day, we can’t keep up. If we don’t stop and celebrate the small victories and mark the occasions, both those wildly important and those silly and wonderful, we’re wasting our lives.

Having a sense of accomplishment is important. And enjoying the moments of Peace and Beauty that the day offers is also important.

Let us do our work. Let us treasure our time. Work and Peace are very connected. But they’re connected by Rest and Enjoyment.

Let us pay attention. It’s a lovely life we’ve been given. We must enjoy it to it’s fullest even as we struggle to make sure that everyone can find space to enjoy…

Peace, my friends. At the end of each beautiful day. Peace.


Oh, For Some Anonymous Peace

I live in a small town. And most of the time that’s amazing. You know your neighbors (yes, in all their glory!)

But sometimes, you really want to be off duty. I know ministers are not only people who feel this way. I was at a party with a friend who’s a horse doc… and someone zeroed right in on her…

So the words “Aren’t you…” are enough to strike fear into my heart. and I’m so many things: a minister, an activist, a UU, a witch and a drummer’s wife. Oh, and a back-up singer. And occasionally all ’round crazy. We all have our moments. Oh, and I have snarky moments as well…

And I admit, Mondays are not my best days. I probably shouldn’t leave the house. I’m over peopled. But face down in a swimming pool is exactly where I need to be. So off I go.

And then someone recognizes you. And I have hilarious conversations in pools.

But sometimes, I’m not well-armored for the conversations that worry about keeping folk in boxes. Spandex and soap aren’t great protection. And the swimming opens me right up.

And yes I know, people have needs and ministry isn’t just a job… But some days, I’m less well prepared to be a Peacemaker than others. That’s the thing about being human. But other days, it works fine. Some days, there are people working on social justice. Life is a balance — which means sometimes you’re out of balance!

Whatever, I do wish us all Peace. Even on Mondays. Especially on Mondays. Peace.


Partnership. Peace.

I like working on projects with people. I just don’t necessarily like working on projects together with people.

I am so lucky. I have a few partners across a couple areas of my life, with whom I play well.

I don’t play well with everyone, it’s true. I don’t like working on things where everyone works together trying to accomplish the same thing. I like working on things where everyone works together doing those things their best at doing and adding that to the project.

We’ve been doing this together long enough that we know what one another’s strengths are and can sort the job so that the right people are working on the right jobs. We also know enough about one another that we can begin to include the beginnings of their thinking in the work that we do. We aren’t afraid to push our work out to one another when it’s time for it to be polished.

What this means is that, for the most part, I wind up getting to do the work I’m good at, the work it takes me less time to do, the work I can really add something to. They do to.

What it also means is that the work we do together is so much better, sounder, grander, more possible, more polished than anything I’d do on my own.

Now, there are some jobs I do on my own and I do them well, and I enjoy them. Partnership has its place. But it also has its Peace.


Really? Sledge Hammer Peace?

It made me laugh really. Ann and sledge hammer in the same sentence. Ann with a sledge hammer in her hands. Don’t tell my brother or my nephew, they might injure themselves laughing…

Now, to be fair, it wasn’t back up over my head, being swung to put in a railroad spike. No grunts needed for impact. We were whacking at the spikes to loosen them up so that they could be pulled up after someone else had been out there swinging to put the tent spikes in the ground.

But I was tool using, nonetheless…

Of course the fact that i was the youngest of the geriatrics cleaning up post yard sale… meant I was likely to have a look-in. But still. And I’m upright today. Without bruises. Pretty good, I’d say…

Tell no one, I enjoyed myself, Tool Usin’ Mama that I am!

Peace, folks, and relax, the only tool I’m using today is a computer — and maybe a car.


Rights, Wages, Peace

I believe people need to earn a living wage for the work they do. I believe they should be safe at work and have sick time and vacation enough to ensure that when you return to work, you are rested and ready to go.

I’m grateful to all the people who have been in the fight so far. I’m grateful for all who are in the battle now.

We need to keep moving the world forward toward Peace. Peace for everyone. No exceptions.


What Speed Is Your Peace?

I’ve always been a speedy person. I have, as a friend points out, a busy brain.

When I was in my 20s. New York was perfect for me. A whole world moving at warp speed. So many new things to explore, to do.

And then… after seminary, it seemed like California was on my agenda. It probably would have been anyway… I’d been dreaming about working for Apple. It almost gives you whip lash doesn’t it, to think about the roads you might have taken and how different your road is now.

And it was slower. Until of course it wasn’t. I guess I’m blessed with being complicated as well as speedy.

And then there was Pennsylvania. As my parents were aging and dying, my life had to be slow enough to accommodate them. It was a hard, joyful, sad and marvelous journey lived at the pace of my elders.

Now the pace is different; in some cases, it’s not yet known. Death discombobulates… you tumble heart over head over tin cups. I’ve been a bit dazed for a while, so it’s been good to meander.

So, as I sit here this morning thinking about taking life slowly, there’s now a flurry about whether or not we’re not going to try and get a grant proposal in by tomorrow. Luckily, I can still move at New York speed when I have to!

Slow Peace is great. And when it concerns whether or not there is money for backpack food for children, I’ll take any kind of Peace i can get, including money from strangers!


No Peace Without Respect for Women

Astonishingly it was Mao ZeDong who first said “Women hold up half the sky.” I found that out when I went googling to find the exact title of Nick Kristoff and Cheryl WuDunn’s book Half the Sky.

But you wouldn’t know it from their treatment in the world. We all like to point fingers at other parts of the world, and forget about the unfairness here. Forget about the lost wages, the underpaid jobs and the sex slavery. Forget about the mistreatment of undocumented workers. Forget about the lost opportunities.

And then there is so much of the world where they are chattel.

I’m grateful for the Elders who are working on this. Grateful that Jimmy Carter in his cancer diagnosis has said this is the work that he will devote the rest of his life to.

And I don’t yet know where to pull the first thread… but dammit. It’s awful.

I said last night I don’t believe in a condemning God nor a hell to which people should be consigned. I know that it is my feeling powerless that makes me long for it in this case.

Just the words “Theology of Rape and Sexual Slavery” combined with “enshrined.” I must get past the rage to work effectively. But right now? I’m sitting with the rage.

And that’s no way to Peace. And Peace is damned hard work. I’ll get there. But maybe not today. And still it is a goal. Peace.



Words that Open Into Peace

Ta Nehisi Coates’ new book, Between the World and Me, is absolutely luscious — which is an odd thing to say about a challenging, painful, hopeful memoir.

In writing his letter to his 15 year old son about the fragility, the endangeredness of the black male body.

You couldn’t look away from the honesty — and didn’t want to because you might miss something.

You couldn’t look away from the sense of responsibility, the need to make this different, the push to become engaged.

It was a privilege to be invited into his world — and that privilege carries weight.

There are huge chasm’s between us and Peace and if we do not recognize them, if we do not make a difference to those who are so endangered, then Peace is just a wistful little fantasy. We must Peace. There are no prayers but our involvement, our willingness to change and to make a difference. There is work to be done.