A Moratorium on Christmas Cookies

That's it. I'm saying it. I'm calling a moratorium on Christmas cookies. Not because I don't love the sugary goodness, but because it borders on madness. They have arrived slowly. One package at a time from one blessed member of this community and then another. And now, on the fifth day of Christmas, I could build myself an entire new home with the enormous supply of Christmas cookies I have received.

The gym is the first thing to go when stress strikes (or illness, as that came first last week). And I don't need any more cookies. But, I can't say no. I didn't say no once again when they arrived again after the funeral this morning. And they are really, really good cookies. But, the madness must stop. So I officially call a moratorium. So there.

Saying Goodbye to Those Unknown

Christmas is one of those hard times for those of us that have lost dear family members. I remember my mother and miss her. I wish my grandmother would still serve her amazing feast. There are others. Sometimes it seems like too many others, like now.

I hugged a church member on Christmas Eve who was in tears. He had just lost his wife a month ago. My heart broke for him.

This morning I met with the daughter of a man that breathed his last on Christmas Eve. Tomorrow morning, together, we will say goodbye. I never knew this man and yet he sounds wonderful. He sounds like someone that we would all love to have in our families. And yet, how do you remember someone you never met? My own grief bubbles up. It's hard not to let it. But, so it is. Here we go. My first funeral.


Lessons & Carols

The Senior Pastor's wife (who is also a pastor) has been recounting her first call as an Associate Pastor over and over and over again to me in the past few weeks. It has been annoying, but she actually helped me yesterday. She remarked that she feels sorry for those that don't get to be in the pastor's role on Christmas and Easter. As pastors, we get to experience something that others don't. We are (as she says) "right in the thick of it" where everyone else is "on the fringe." I wanted to remark that it's probably the reverse actually as pastors don't get to truly worship in quite the same way. We are concerned that little Joanna is able to reach the lecturn to read the Fifth Lesson and making sure that the mic is on for the lighting of the Christ candle. We don't close our eyes while we pray on behalf of the congregation, but look to see how our words are echoing with the hearts of those that gathered with us this night.

But then, it happened. Kinda like the Word of God. It happened again. As we sang "Silent Night" and the chior carried their candles out of the sanctuary, I watched as the only light in this sacred space walked out. No one in the pews noticed, I suspect. But, the light of Christ went out of this space and into the world. It happened. I saw it.

And so we can sing that mysterious verse that echoes with every emotion I have at Christmas:

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

It's those hopes and fears that I think prevent us from seeing the miracle of Christmas. So ready? Here is what I have learned in the few hours I have spent on my first Christmas away from family. The past few years, I have found myself disappointed by Christmas. The miracle never happened. I never felt the transformation. And I wanted it. I wanted that miracle to arrive. But, my expectations were all over the place. It had to be big. It had to be God Incarnate. It had to be... well, you get the picture. As a child, it always happened. My favorite Christmas celebrations were spent in Long Island in my great aunt's home. In the back room that overlooks the canal, the entire extended family would gather on Christmas morning. And without fail, the miracle happened. I have no idea what caused it. I don't know if it was the mound of presents that erupted under that tiny tree for all 22 of us or if it was the fact that we were all together. I don't know what caused the miracle. But, it always happened. In recent years, I have not felt this miracle in the same way. Maybe family has changed. Maybe we started fighting too much.

But, on this first Christmas without my beloved family, I realize that my hopes and fears never allowed for the simplicity of the child to come. It didn't need to be big. I just needed to see God right there ushering in yet another miracle like a beautiful (though snowless day). Another day where peace might be possible. Another day where love will be shared. Another day where joy is omnipresent. And all of this revealed in the simplicity of a child. And so we sing:

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.


Do you believe in reincarnation?

I've never really had a solid answer to this one. With my mother's death at a young age, there is always part of me that wonders if this new person in my life might have part of my mother's spirit. I know that I'm instantly drawn to people that remind me of my mother, but I hesitate to settle on the fact that it might be reincarnation.

I posed this question to a congregant this week as she remarked that she feels like she has known me for a long time. She explained that there is something about my spirit that makes her feel like I have actually come home. I'm not a new minister, but someone she has known for a long time. I suppose this is not unlike my feelings about seeking my mother's qualities in friends and companions. She hesitated and said that reincarnation limited the possibility she spoke of. But, I'm stuck with this question as I think and pray about the incarnation of God in our midst -- once again.

I will be spending Christmas Day with my church administrator as well as an assortment of other women with or without a place to call home on this miraculous day. It hit me as I was talking to my parents this afternoon that this new friend reminds me of someone I have not seen and heard from in a long time. It's not the same feeling as connecting with friends that remind me of someone else that I know and love (which is the case for another one of my favorite Portland people). This woman actaully reminds me of my grandmother. Both my grandmother and this woman share the same zest for life, dark sense of humor and compassion for all. They even share the same name. I remarked this to my stepmother. And she said, "well, you never know." This is the mystery that I love. It doesn't matter if my grandmother's spirit does or does not live on in this new friend. Instead, I am relishing in the mystery of the incarnate God revealing Herself to me yet again.


Stealing Jesus

Baby Jesus is missing. A family in Buffalo, NY was reunited with their plastic Christ child earlier this week after Jesus went on a road trip. He arrived on their doorstep with a photo album entitled The Baby Jesus Chronicles. Jesus travelled all over NY state with a group of young people that didn't want to see him cooped up in an attic all year. There he is smiling somewhere among New York's exciting tourism sites. But, now, he's home safe. Reunited with the family that loves his plastic divinity.

But, don't breathe too easily because he's still not safe. Jesus is truly missing. And this time, he's disappeared from the Angelican Cathedral of St. Paul in Portland, ME. RIght here in my home town. See the empty creche? Doesn't it make you want to weep and mourn?

Actually, what depresses me from this story is the comments that were posted on the local newspaper's website. One remarked:

Someone stole a wreath of our front door the oterh day too...thats a hate crime. I want action!!!

Another commented:

I hope when the catch whoever did this they are charge with a hate crime.

There were several other comments that attacked those that posted, as well as a horrible and irrelevant attack on Islam. Was it a hate crime? Was it something that requires action? I appreciate the priest's concern to not report the theft to the police so that the police can focus on more important matters, but should there be action at all? I'm not convinced. I'm not convinced that this is another attempt to remind us to put the Christ back into Christmas. It just seems impossible. In all of these harsh words, it seems imposible to realize the simple mystery of the incarnation of hope, peace, joy and love. Certainly, Jesus has been stolen from us.


Shelter for the Spiritually Homeless

It's a season of Christmas cards. And though this might be a trite way to share the spirit of the season with our loved ones, it is something I enjoy. As someone that is terrible about using the phone and likes to get mail, I love the Christmas card season (mind you, I have not sent mine).

And this week, I got a card from my denomination. It was actually sent to the previous associate, but really, I don't care. It's a really pretty card that proudly declares "God is still speaking" which comes as no surprise to we in the proud UCC. But, what I really like and have never noticed in the other GISS campaign materials, is what appears on the back of the card in plain old 12 point font: Shelter for the Spiritually Homeless.

My peer in ministry retorted, "if only we could live up to that!" Perhaps it is a lofty aspiration, but a noble one I fear in this world where our Episcopalian brothers and sisters are fighting about the full humanity of God's children to the point of division. I should read more about this Nigerian Bishop to understand what the real matter is underneath the rift. But, it only depresses me. It depresses me that this is what we fight about when Jesus sent us out to love. Didn't he? Or did my exegesis go totally haywire?

As I sit here composing my Christmas prayer, I realize that I'm stuck in darkness. I didn't really think about it until I tried to write this prayer for Christmas -- not Advent, but Christmas. I can talk about the darkness and the longing. But, I wonder if our hope is met with dissatisfaction. Two thousand years later, it seems that I identify more and more with the shepherds shock and the wisepeople still on a journey toward peace and light. I really, really want Mary's confident prayer "Here am I, the servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word" (Lk 1:38, NRSV). But, I'm stuck in the darkness wanting to proclaim light more than anything. But, how can I?


Are you a heretic?

I can't sleep so I'm reading other blogs and taking online quizzes. And in the midst of my lack of slumber, I found out something I already knew. I'm a heretic. And proud, baby.

You scored as Socinianism. You are a Socinian. You deny the doctrine of the Trinity because you think God exists in a simplified unity. Since this makes the Incarnation impossible, you see Christ's work as simply exemplary.













Chalcedon compliant
















Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com

My seminary had a basketball team called the Heretics. I should have played basketball with them -- if only I could play. But, I can play in church even if I am a heretic (don't tell my congregation). This quiz doesn't leave room for reclaiming our ancient traditions. I had a weird conversation with one of the priests at one of our local hospitals on Thursday. He jumped into this theological reflection that was too traditional for me. It's not where I am. It's not that I don't believe in these things, it's that I claim them in a different way. This is true for the Trinity for me. But, there's no room for that in this quiz. Interesting though, right?


Jingle Bells

I wrote this piece for our church newsletter this week. And I kinda like it, so I thought I would share it beyond the church community.

On the Christmas Eves of my childhood, just as I nestled into the warmth of my bed to force myself to sleep, I would hear jingle bells. They were out on the lawn ringing away. And I knew whose bells they were. I didn’t need to look out the window. I knew. I would squeeze my eyes even tighter hoping that Santa would not know that I was still awake.

It was the same every year. I would always hear the bells, until my mother grew ill. I didn’t know then that she was the one standing on the lawn ringing jingle bells so that my brother and I might believe. I can’t imagine my mother standing in the cold with those bells, but I believe.

I believe in the love that inspired my mother to ring those bells. I believe in the generosity of spirit that inspires the work that we do through so many of the ministries of this church. And I’ll admit it. I still want to squeeze my eyes tightly shut while dreaming of endless possibility. I still want to hear those bells jingling on the lawn. It won’t be my mother that rings them anymore. But, she taught me to believe. And I do. I believe in Santa Claus.

Standing on the lawn ringing those jingle bells, my mother invited me to believe in something greater than myself. And no matter how old I get or how much I come to understand about the world, I cannot give up on the magic of this figure.

Do you remember the magic of Christmas of child? Have you seen that magic sparkle in the eyes of your own children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or extended family? Have you heard those bells jingling to remind you to believe? I pray that we all experience the magic of Christmas that invites us to believe in a possibility beyond our imaginations.


Advent Devotions

I've always struggled with devotions. Most of the time, they infuriate me. Two years ago, I tried to do some Lenten devotions written by Jimmy Carter. I threw the booklet out the second day as it upset me so much. That's not what is supposed to happen, right?

This Advent, I have been meditating with the Mennonites at Goshen College. A friend from seminary is actually a visiting scholar there and since I cherish her wisdom, I thought it sounded like a great idea. There have been a couple that have been wonderful. They have shaped my day and made Advent deeper and more meaningful.

And then, there was today. So, you might have guessed from my previous blogs that I'm in my own wilderness. I'm struggling with where in the world God is in this moment. Was She in the call process? Is He present right now? Or is God just having a good laugh at my expense? (Um, I doubt that.) So, I open the devotion today and the scripture reads:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7, NRSV).

I can do nothing but rejoice (although a little defiant) that God is indeed "near."


And so it happened.

A friend and I met this week for a lectionary study group. Though he was not preaching, he was perfectly willing to enjoy a beer with me on a Wednesday afternoon as we talked about the Bible. He brought an article he had found by Walter Bruggemann. And somewhere in that expository on Luke 3:1-6, Bruggemann remarked "And the Word of God happened." We chuckled over our beers and thought this was a silly statement.

But then, sure enough, I was in church this morning and it kept echoing in my head. And the Word of God happened. And it happened again and again and again.

I've been having a rough week. I'll admit that I'm lonely and a tad homesick. It takes a lot for me to admit that -- especially on the internet where anyone can read it. But, it's true. I've been really, really lonely these past few days. I think the reality of the holidays and the absence of family and friends has started to eat at my heartstrings. So, I've had these terrible passing thoughts that you are not supposed to admit that you are actually having. Thoughts about being in the wrong place. Thoughts about running away. Thoughts that argue with God.

And then, the Word of God happened. I was sullen and didn't want to hear the voices that I was preaching about. But, there it was echoing my ears at coffee hour. "We're so lucky to have you," they said again and again. It came from all kinds of different voices. Not just my dear favorite little old ladies. But, men and young women. It came from all over the place. ARG! So there. The Word of God happened. Even when I did not want to hear it, there was God offering me the loving reminder that I needed.

Of course, I'm trying my hardest to let these moments rise above the one negative conversation with an older man after the pre-dawn service (ok, it's 8:30 am). Of course, he was passive aggressive about it. Some other members said something to him about this "new young lady" (oh so patronizing) who refered to God as SHE in the church newsletter. Of course, he cited the Lord's Prayer. Jesus taught us to pray to God the Father. I patiently explained that we need many metaphors to understand the mysterious presence of God. I explained that for some of us, fathers are not the perfect metaphor (my father is now annoyed having read that -- NOT YOU!), but there are other women that struggle with the male image. There are men that struggle with this image. I resisted the temptation to explain how the Biblical canon came together... I wanted to, but I didn't. I even managed to resist when he told me that the feminist movement was a blip that we have "gotten over now." Ooooooh. I excused myself at this moment and went to my office, closed the door and jumped up and down in rage.

But, the Word of God happened. I need to stay with that.

And I am Listening

This morning, I preached. A sermon entitled "And I am Listening" when I feel like I'm not doing enough listening. I feel like I'm missing the voices that really matter to me -- those justice-seeking types. Those are the voices I miss. But, it was my first sermon being the associate pastor so I need not barrel in with prophetic wisdom. Needless to say, it did not come together easily.

The text is our familiar story of John the Baptizer crying out in the wilderness as read in Luke 3:1-6. But, this was not the only sacred text we shared. In the spirit of our still speaking God, we read a poem entitled "Voices" by 18-year-old Ashley Blount of Iowa City. I found her poem on a website of Poets Against War. And it goes like this:

Sitting here in absolute silence transforms my reality
Like lightning striking a tree mid night.

Suddenly the darkness becomes blinding light
And the light, infinite darkness,
The kind of darkness that envelops all
And can be felt from deep within.

And the silence will no longer remain silent!
Thousands of inaudible sounds suddenly make themselves heard.
Voices from across the globe fill my ears
Crying their song in silent agony
Wishing only that they be heard.

I am no longer myself.
My eyes, so well trained to see black as darkness
Can now see rainbows of colors.

I can no longer recognize even my own image
Because I am not myself
I am you
And you are me.

Your pain swells into my heart
Flowing with the river of my blood.
But I accept it willfully
Because I know it will not last.
And for one moment,
I wish for nothing more
Than for you to experience the joy that fills my days.

I have heard your voice
And I am listening.

And then my sermon begins, something like this:

One voice. One voice calls out in the wilderness. It is just one voice calling out. Not many. Not a few. There is just one voice that is calling. So, who gets to speak for us? Whose voice is it? Is it a prophet from afar? Is it my voice? Is it yours? Whose voice is it that calls from the wilderness?

Certainly, it can’t be my voice. I have called my own answering machine and cringed at the voice on the other end. No, that voice should sound something like… Something like what?

Whom do we let speak? There are anchors that convey the news on television and columnists that comment on the world’s affairs. There are storytellers that we love to listen to. And there are those that we defer to – those that we listen to without even realizing that we are giving them the power of speaking. They are the ones that get to speak for us.

Luke knows this – as he lists the people that get a voice in Roman society: the Emperor Tiberius and Herod who ruled Galilee and the list goes on and on. In our own political sphere, a woman is taking on the role of speaker of the House. Like the voices that Luke lists, Nancy Pelosi has the power to speak. And perhaps appropriately, she told us honestly that she is struggling with her voice. When it really matters, she tells us she will use her “mother-of-five voice.”

Is that that voice that John the Baptizer used? When he “came to the region around the Jordan to proclaim a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,” did he sound like a stern “mother-of-five”? Is that the voice that we use when we long to be heard?


Or is there merely silence? A silence that seems to pervade in such harsh ways that in the midst of December, we wonder what the Christmas season is really all about. And so we wait. We wait for something to happen. We’re not sure what. Perhaps it is just one voice that will break through the wilderness of our silence.

One voice of Ashley Blount from Iowa City. Not the mother of five, but a young woman. Not a booming baritone that echoes through the wilderness, but the soft soprano of an 18 year old girl. She describes that familiar silence as something that transforms her reality

Like lightning striking a tree mid night.

Perhaps John the Baptizer did have that voice quality – that sound that I do not quite know how to describe – that would have caught our attention. Like lightning striking a tree mid night. But, what would that sound like? Can you imagine?

I find myself longing to hear voices. Not of my own broken, disjointed voice but voices from the past and voices from the present. I long to hear some kind of sound so that the silence will cease – that silence that pervades. That wilderness that we each know. This silence that is all too familiar.

Last year, before the silence of Advent fell upon us, I gathered with a group of my fellow seminarians to pray. That night when the death toll of American troops in the war in Iraq reached 2,000, we prayed in the silence of the seminary chapel. We sat in the silence and lit candles for peace. We told stories of friends and loved ones. And into the too familiar silence, we sang. Out of tune, into the wilderness of the night, we sang:

O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind
Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease
Fill all the world with heaven's peace
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.

That October night, long before Advent, we sang in one voice not knowing how else to express the longing in our hearts.

It was the only way that we could claim that longing. The same longing that Luke desires when we quotes the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah’s words boom Like lightning striking a tree mid night.

A voice cries out: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,

That October night, our unprepared voices sang as one. It doesn’t matter if it was in season or liturgically appropriate. That night, I felt that longing. In my out-of-tune singing, my voice called out into the wilderness for hope. The silence of the wilderness disappeared. Perhaps that’s what Luke wants us to hear from John he Baptizer. Simply by quoting Isaiah, Luke urges us to remember that the wilderness is not a hopeless place. Instead, the wilderness is a place inbetween what is familiar and what is to come.

And so Luke invites us to hear the voices that call out for new beginnings. Listen to John the Baptizer on the banks of the river. One voice calling to the inbetween for change. One voice daring to imagine a new possibility. One voice calling into the silence.

It is still silent. Pause. Perhaps we are still in the inbetween. And we can only imagine what this silence – this awkward inbetween – will release when it no longer remains silent? Is it just like the young poet Ashley Blount writes?

Thousands of audible sounds suddenly make themselves heard.
Voices from across the globe fill my ears
Crying their song in silent agony
Wishing only to be heard.

Can you hear it? Can you hear the Thousands of audible sounds suddenly make themselves heard? Can you hear the song inbetween what has been and what will be?

In the silence of that October night, I heard what this young poet describes. As my voice mingled with others to sing of our hope, I discovered that I was not myself. I discovered that my out-of-tune voice mingled with those that gathered to light candles of peace. Our song was indeed like lightning striking a tree mid night.

Something happened. Something changed for those of us that began to sing of new possibility on that silent night. It was subtle, but it taught me to listen. And to listen carefully for those often unheard voices crying out. To listen in the inbetween to hear God still speaking.

I have heard your voice
And I am listening.


Friday Woes

It snowed last night. It's the first real snowfall that we have had after this unseasonably warm November here in Maine. I've been nervous about the snow and now that it has snowed, I don't really feel motivated to do anything. I have intentions of doing some serious Christmas shopping, but I have yet to find the motivation (or enough coffee).

Last night, I was at church until late for our board meetings. For some reason, I left feeling miserable. I think it was a combination of feeling lonely and inaffective. It probably has something to do with the fact that I don't really enjoy committee meetings of any kind. They are so important, but I detest them. So, I came home to pour myself a glass of wine, finish making my tree skirt (which looks great) while listening to Christmas carols and hanging the lights on my tree. My apartment is fully decked out for the Christmas season while I feel totally unprepared. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that my sermon for Sunday is going nowhere.

Where does one find inspiration when overwhelmed by what is missing from your own Advent season? When all of my friends and family are emailing to ask when I will be coming home for Christmas, I find myself even more lonely and wonder if I can even offer the hope of the season in my presence in worship -- or otherwise. Not that this has to come just from me, but it might help. It might also help if I was able to open myself up to the possibility of discovering that warmth I long for. It's not always as easily done as said though.

It didn't help that I got a Christmas card yesterday that said something to the effect of "I hope things are getting better." That hurt. It didn't capture my own feelings and I felt it unfair in a Christmas greeting. So, now, I'm just sad.


Light a Candle

World AIDS Day was this past Friday. I have several friends that are struggling with HIV so that this is an important day for me. Having recently travelled to Africa, this day takes on a whole new meaning. While I struggle with my own terror of cancer, I can't imagine the horror that HIV/AIDS carries for people and countries where medication is too costly or hope seems impossible.

And I can only pray that hope is possible. It seems hard to imagine when I attended a service on the eve of World AIDS Day here in Maine where attendance seemed so pathetic. I wondered where was hope. I wondered how we become impacted by these horrors that are outside of our context, and I took my first step toward understanding that I am not in New York anymore. In NYC, World AIDS Day is an event, but for many of my fellow Americans, the day goes unnoticed. But, I pray that there is hope and if you do too, please light a candle.

Light a candle for hope.



None of that blood stuff

This morning was the first that I officially participated in a Communion liturgy. I have done it before actually. In seminary, I served many times. And even while I was serving as a Pastoral Associate during my studies, I did preside over the table, but that was at a Disciples of Christ congregation where they understand the priesthood of all believers more fully than we who designate ordained persons to serve the sacred meal.

Anyhow, I was nervous. Communion is a very big deal to me and I cherish the opportunity to serve in that role (or any role around the table). I was so nervous that I forgot part of the offering chereography. I was oddly tired this morning so that I felt groggy all through the service. Almost jetlagged, which I fear showed. I was talking too fast, one gentleman pointed out to me. Of course, he was kind to point out that it's my energy that makes me talk so fast. But, that didn't mask his critique too much. But, the truth was: I was tired and so very nervous. I was certain that I would mess something up, and I did stumble (whether or not anyone noticed).

I was very careful to choose my blessing over the cup. I chose words from the UCC Book of Worship for the most part for the prayer of Commissioning (not a prayer of thanksgiving, which I really don't understand theologically). But, as it was my role to serve the cup, I hate the blood language. I refuse to use it. I even refuse to word "forgiveness" for all that it infers. I just can't do it. I'm too much of a feminist, and may God bless me for that. So, I said,

"And in the same way, after supper, Jesus took the cup and blessed it. He poured out of the fruit of the wine and shared it with his friends saying, 'Take and drink for this is the cup of blessing shared among the many.'"

I wasn't sure if anyone noticed that I had used different language. I wasn't sure if I was going to hear it from the Deacons. But, I knew that I had to do what was in my heart. So, I just prayed that it was ok. But, I had no idea until I felt this hand squeeze my arm. She was coming up the stairs and stopped me as I was hurrying to Confirmation class. It was another little old lady. (God bless the little old ladies.) And she practically squealed. "Thank you so much for your words over the cup. I just love that! A cup of blessing!" She wandered off to talk about her daughter who rejects church because of that blood stuff. And then she said the words that I long to hear most, "I can't wait to tell her about your words! Maybe it will bring her back to church!"

Whether or not this woman comes back or stays away from church, it is my hope that a progressive voice is heard over and over again over the broken bread of the Communion feast. And may God bless the little old ladies who remind me that we do need this voice, even when they are not the same words that we grew up with.


Rain, rain, go away

It's raining today. It's not a hard rain. It's not spitting. But, it's one of those constant rains where you just seem to get wet no matter what. It's one of those rains that makes you want to stay inside and watch made-for-TV movies (whether or not you are able to admit that you secretly indulge in Lifetime Television for Women). But, I decided to go for a run this morning. In fact, I was on my way to the gym but as I was running down the street, I found myself turning and running toward the Back Bay. It reminds me of the reservoir in the middle of Central Park back in New York with a path that loops around it going nowhere particular around this strange body of water.

The rain matched my mood after attending a vigil last night to remember those that have died, are still dying and will continue to die of AIDS and HIV. The rain matches my sorrow. But, as I ran around Back Bay, I found myself splashing in puddles. Literally, jumping in puddles for the sheer joy of being soaked with water. I was already soaked by the rain. My shoes were making that gross juicy noise. But, I splashed anyway. And I remembered that even in the rain, there is still hope. It's a nice thought to begin Advent with so on this day, I just want to say thank you for the rain.