Searching for the Beloved

This morning, I found this image that I altered a year ago. That’s another thing about Mary Magdalene: she went out actually searching for the Beloved. Like Rumi and Hafez, she followed the trail of her longing. Thomas hid, Peter went back to work, the Emmaus travelers whispered their grief. Mary went searching, asking, into the cave itself and out again into the sunlit garden.

I love this series of stories, the Mary Magdalene story, the Emmaus story, the Thomas story, the Peter and the Fish story, and anticipate them with glee every year–Jesus, the Holy Fool, going from beloved to beloved with the Easter-eggiest of Easter eggs. Surprise! It’s me! Certain surprises are deeply heart-opening. The veil is suddenly torn down. The stone explodes from the entrance of the cave and light streams in. I love how Jesus sets up the epiphanies with the exact surprise each person needs: the gardener turning into the sunlight and speaking her name, the ghost-like appearance in a room where he had not been and the physical touch Thomas demanded, the wise comforter and breaker of bread for confused and grief-weary travelers, the stranger on the beach cooking fish to challenge and reconcile Peter. Everybody got what they needed in the surprises he gave them.

Springtime brings epiphanies and surprises: the sudden glimpse of a morel in the leaf-litter (I’m still looking for my first), the flash of red on a blackbird’s wing, the bursting of bloom on the dogwood that was naked just three days ago. The new and different slant of sun on the sidewalk, the particular springiness of the breezes and winds, the warmth in the air. May spring surprise you even during isolation. May your hear the Beloved calling your name. Remember: Even as you search, the Beloved is seeking you.


Gratitude List:
1. Last year on this day, I wrote about the musical thrill when leading singing in church, of being in front of all those earnest and joyful voices. I miss that. There will be lots of singing in church in The After.
2. I have always been incredibly grateful for the way we work as a team at school—faculty, guidance, administration, staff—to support students and their families, and now, more than ever, I am deeply moved by the net that we create (we’re trying hard to create) together.
3. Mr. Redwing just puffed out his flaming sleeves from atop the feeder stand and whistled merrily.
4. While I have noticed that I am holding tension in my body in ways I never have before, I am also learning new ways to stretch and breathe in order to release tension.
5. I think today might be a grocery day. We’re trying to make the time Between last longer and longer, but these kid eat a thousand things and guzzle milk like water. And as scary as it is to send someone out and to bring things in, grocery day is a shift of the rhythm. And we’re out of yeast, just as I was hitting my stride on the baking jag, so maybe there’ll be yeast tomorrow. At least there will be more flour so I can consider starting my own yeast.

Take care of each other. Walk in Beauty!


“Let me tell you what I do know though…
I know mountains grow because of their fault lines. I know lakes turn that gorgeous shade of turquoise because of their silt. I know jewels are formed under pressure. I know trees can grow through rocks, and rivers can break canyons.
I know there are 120 crayola crayons to choose from, so you can color yourself any which way you like.
I know the earth smells fabulous after a hard rain, and I know she breathes. I know out of the destruction of forest fires, new and stronger ecosystems can emerge. I know there is life in the deepest depths of the ocean and her tides can soften stone.
I know there can be no shadows without light. I know the passion is in the risk.
I know time heals, and most things will be okay eventually. I know you are made of the star stuff, and I know out there somebody loves you; exactly the way you are, even if you haven’t found them yet.
I know all these things, and tell them to you — in case you forgot to remember.” —Jacquelyn Taylor


“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” —James Baldwin


“We have tried to create a watertight social system so that mercy is not needed, nor even attractive. Mercy admits and accepts that not all problems can be solved by our techniques, formulas, and technology. The ‘superfluous’ opening of the human heart that we call mercy is essential for any structure or institution to remain human and humanizing.” —Richard Rohr


“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”
—Anne Lamott


“Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends.” —Hafiz


“Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and eat and sleep with the earth.” —Walt Whitman


“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.” —John Muir


“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” —Roald Dahl


“A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as she is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things she would not have thought of if she had not started to say them.” —William Stafford (but I have changed the pronouns to feminine)


“America stands for exactly what Americans will stand for. History doesn’t write itself. It must be lived and practiced.” —Jesse Williams

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