Kind Words

As a new day begins…


(image from Living Compass, a website providing resources to enrich and renew one’s journey toward wholeness and wellness)

Nightly Prayers

The night stars and tree

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.

(quote found at Gratefulness)

Life’s River 

Photo by Phillip Craig

Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything.
Between these two banks the river of my life flows.


Ruin and treasure

 Wherever there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure. RUMI

My heart breaks as I watch whole countries crumble in the wake of hatred, unimaginable violence and destruction. I do not understand and feel small as I try to think about solutions.

Cradling loaves of bread, this man weeps. Tears that could be for all that has been lost or tears that could be gratitude for the bread that he holds. Bread he may be unable to provide as before – before his world became the battleground of dangerous egos and heartless acts. In this picture we can only see a small bit of what his loss may include. A bombed out building – was it home, his children’s school, the hospital which had been caring for his loved ones? Whatever this building had been, its shelter is only a memory now.

And so we meet a balance of opposites – ruins and treasure. Unable to hold back the grief rising from his heart, this man walks ahead with food for the journey. He carries a treasure – simple yet basic. The ruins surrounding him are overwhelming. Captured in this picture is the image of what was and movement toward what will be.

Refugee campI have always believed that phoenixes rise from ashes, whatever those ashes may be. Believing this requires that I, too, must hold a balance of opposites. It is impossible to reach out to thousands of people displaced and homeless. When a scene such as this refugee camp is presented in the news, I am reminded of a quote from Mother Teresa – “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Today I toss my first stone across the waters through prayer. With this man’s picture before me,  I offer prayers for all people displaced by war as they search for peace, safety and a place to call home . 

A Prayer for the Victims of the Syrian Conflict

We pray for those damaged by the fighting in Syria.
To the wounded and injured:
Come Lord Jesus.
To the terrified who are living in shock:
Come Lord Jesus
To the hungry and homeless, refugee and exile:
Come Lord Jesus
To those bringing humanitarian aid:
Give protection Lord Jesus
To those administering medical assistance:
Give protection Lord Jesus.
To those offering counsel and care:
Give protection Lord Jesus.
For all making the sacrifice of love:
Give the strength of your Spirit
and the joy of your comfort.
In the hope of Christ we pray. Amen.

a moment of grace…


(I have been touched and distressed by the unrest in this world. When I woke this morning I remembered this quote and wanted to share it – again. With gratitude)

Originally posted on Carrie's Bench:

(Blue Heron by Isaac Bignell, 1959-1995, Canadian Cree artist)

(Blue Heron by Isaac Bignell, 1959-1995, Canadian Cree artist)


“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” Wendell Berry

we live in a time with the sound of the slightest night noise can awaken our hearts with worry. No one knows what to expect – bombarded with news, repetitive and…

View original 42 more words

Memory of today…

It is an anniversary–14 years ago today, September 11, our sense of peace and security was shaken to its core. There are few people in this country (born before September 11, 2001) who do not remember where they were on that Tuesday morning.

I can picture exactly where I was as news began to report the attacks in New York, the Pentagon and the plane crashing in a Pennsylvania field. Working as a chaplain in a large teaching hospital, I was always on high alert, prepared to respond to unspeakable traumas every day. This particular morning the routine had been normal — it was time for a cup of coffee, after making first rounds in my assigned units. Sitting with another staff chaplain, we begin to notice small clusters of people gathering to talk about airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Not in my wildest imagination could I have considered what was to come.

So many people tell a story of how his/her life was changed on that day. The natural response was to search out and contact love ones – to hear their voices or see their faces. On that morning we; myself, my brother and sister, were waiting for our parents to return from a two-week holiday in Paris, France. Their flight was to land in Newark, New Jersey sometime mid-morning. In the blink of an eye their return became a big and scary question. No one knew where these lethal planes had originated and waiting for that news would seem a lifetime. What could we do? How would we find our parents in the midst of such chaos? Mom and Dad had been with my aunt and uncle during those 2 weeks who were still in Paris. I called my uncle’s office, spoke to his secretary and gave her information on how to contact me when/if she received news from my uncle. I then called my brother who lived in Alexandria VA working as a chaplain at a private preparatory school. My sister-in-law answered the phone from their basement. The next exit from their house was the Pentagon. The ground around them shook as a plane crashed into the Pentagon’s walls. The noise of rescue vehicles and helicopters filled the air near their yard and home. Now there was concern for our parents flying around New York and for my brother’s family so very close to another attack. A call to my sister brought some comfort; she and her family were safe, alert and aware.

It was not long before we knew that the planes used for these horrific acts were domestic flights. They had left American cities on course to attack other American cities. Who could do these things? As the day unfolded news began to report that these actions were planned in middle-eastern countries, far away – by people known as terrorists (a term that would become all too familiar in the days and years to follow). Even hearing these details, the question remained — where were the international flights – where were our parents? It was late morning before my pager alerted me to a call from my uncle’s office with news. Mom and Dad would not be landing on American soil, not on that day nor many days to follow. Their plane was on route to an Air Force military base in Gander Newfoundland. Along with many other international flights they would land and remain in Gander for several days while they waited for clearance. A book has been written about this small town’s big heart telling of the important work they did as a part of the 9/11 rescue.

THE DAY THE WORLD CAME TO TOWN – 9/11 in Gander51SePOB7ysL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

As the afternoon waned, the same chaplain and I met again stunned and confused by all that had happened since morning. We knew the long, difficult and emotional work began to recover all the injured and honor all who died. Feeling helpless, we talked about who might need our prayers and support at that moment. We soon found ourselves in a professor’s office at the school of medicine. He was a Muslim and he was sitting alone, feeling the enormity of this day. In silence, we shared prayers for direction and peace.

…where were you?

(revised and re-posted)

Like Jacob’s ladder… 9/11

Thoughts on 9/11

Light near Ground Zero….

Almost like Jacob’s ladder. May the living and the dead know peace.

May our light keep shining…


(picture and reflection Mark Bozzuti-Jones)