Feeding refugees

We got a fund solicitation recently from the regional food depository. We have contributed before but, ironically, we are now occasionally on the receiving end of charitable food boxes. That’s because we’re housing and feeding three asylum seekers, whom we call our kids. The donated food is for them, but this morning my breakfast came from food box items they don’t eat. I have sent notification not to put certain things in the boxes. For a while, the kids were taking the boxes to their rooms but leaving things uneaten. They finally brought tons of stuff down to the kitchen, asking what they should do with it. Continue reading

A president like my husband

I am struggling with moral superiority. It literally kept me awake last night. I am going to try to renounce moral superiority.

The revelation was a short podcast called The Key to Trump’s Appeal, which I picked up from a friend’s Facebook post. The gist was, why are so many people loyal to Trump, why do they believe his lies, why do they overlook his gross faults and misdeeds? The podcaster’s answer: they love him because of his faults, which are right out in the open for everybody to see. They love him because he does not make them feel inferior. Continue reading

Immigrant learning curves

Jeb is the youngest and most recent addition to our asylum-seeker household. Though he’s been in the city since February, he’s been with us just two weeks. All recent immigrants face steep learning curves as they find their way in a new place. It can be revealing to walk through some of these processes with them.

In addition to working part time at an Amazon warehouse, Jeb has been attending classes at a local training center. He rides with a friend to work but has been biking to classes. Yesterday he said the weather was now too cold to ride his bike so he would take the bus to school. Continue reading

Countdown

I’m trying not to think about the election being less than two weeks away. I’m unsubscribing to all the political emails that have been cluttering my inbox, writing “STOP” to all the political texts. I’m barely skimming the headlines, “watching” TV news with the sound muted while I work a mindless coloring app on my phone. I’ve hand-delivered my own ballot to the county clerk’s office. I’m trying to stay focused on the present, the day to day, the hourly.

It isn’t working. I’m still obsessing about November 3. Continue reading

Good church

Back in the days of going to church in an actual church building I used to comment to my husband, after some—not all—services, “That was good church.” What I usually meant was that some aspect, or some combination of the singing, sermon, and sharing during the worship service left me with a warm glow of inspiration.

I counted on but seldom gave credit to the thing that has really kept me going to church all these years, which is community. The “fellowship of the believers.” Continue reading

Coronasomnia

Six months or more into the pandemic there is a term for one of its side effects, which I am experiencing. “Experts Say ‘Coronasomnia’ Could Imperil Public Health,” according to this Washington Post article.

Evidently I am not alone in literally losing sleep over everything that is happening. I wouldn’t say it’s just the virus but rather the perfect storm of racism, deep political divisions, looming authoritarianism, and pandemic that wake me, achy and jittery, every night around two or three a.m. or prevent me from going to sleep in the first place. My body discomforts feed right into low terror about the country I will be bequeathing to my grandchildren.

Continue reading

Comfort and joy in the Pink Lady

I have been wondering how to deal with the fact that my life is brimming with good things while others are suffering, and chaos reigns in many aspects of the larger society. There is a scale between guilt on the one hand and smug, oblivious self-satisfaction on the other that I am trying to navigate. A delicate point somewhere on that scale is a state of humble gratitude. It is delicate because it is hard to rest there for any length of time. It becomes easier when I think of gratitude as a mix of comfort and joy. That’s what I have been experiencing lately.

Let me raise a glass to current life in our house, the Pink Lady. I haven’t named her recently or written much here because things have been shuffling and changing over the past months. We are still in a pandemic, which in itself changes things. I haven’t had much new to say about that for a while. But now I see some surprising ways the pandemic has brought benefits to us, thanks partly to the vision we had when we bought this oversized old home three and a half years ago.

Continue reading

An initiation

117080589_10157619881687379_57698875694796554_nOne thing I used to do a lot with women friends was devise ceremonies for particular occasions, focused on individuals, that seemed to call for a little extra spiritual oomph. I have recently resumed that practice, and yesterday was a beauty.

We Protestants tend to be ceremony-shy, limiting our rites and rituals to big occasions such as weddings, funerals, and baptisms. But over the years, I have helped design and execute, or been the recipient of, rite-of-passage ceremonies marking such things as the completion of a thesis, imminent motherhood, a job change involving a new set of skills, a divorce, or a girl’s entry into puberty. Continue reading