Monthly Archives: December 2013

Home

This originally appeared on Facebook as a response to a friend who asked:

What is home? How do you create a sense of home inside you?

After some reflection, I respond:

Home is the place where I belong, truly belong. I may find myself belonging in several places: Pittsburgh, where I grew up; Cleveland Heights where my wife lives and my children grew up; New York, where I live now. But home is the place (and it is not on that list) where my sense of belonging is strongest and most clear. It is the place I yearn for in times of stress and sorrow; it is the place that feeds my spirit and my soul even when I am not there. For me, I knew it was home the first time I arrived there.

Home are the people, past and present, who nurture and mentor me; challenge and infuriate me; love me.

Home is the place that awaits me.

Home is the journey. It is the Trail, in the language of this blog.

Home is a gift.

How would you answer?

See you along the Trail.

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Decision, definition

In my heart
and soul
and mind,
I know.
I have been here before.

I have seen this place.
I have faced this moment.

T is for Trail (800x533)The place of decision.
The moment of definition.

In my heart
and soul
and mind,
I know.
I have been here before.

I have decided.
Frequently.

I have defined myself.
Often.

Decisions, definitions
that shape me.

In my heart
and soul
and mind,
I know.
I have been here before.

I have decided.
Poorly.

I have defined.
Badly.

And I bear the consequences.
Daily.

In my heart
and soul
and mind,
I know.
I have been here before.

And I wonder,
deeply wonder:
will I decide differently,
will I define creatively
at this time and in this place.

In my heart
and soul
and mind,
I know.
I have been here before.

8 September 2013
Shire Near the Hudson

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Resolution?

It is time,
time to begin,
time to begin again,
time to begin again – again.

4 June 2011
Shire on the Hudson
 

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Purple flowers, Cleveland Botanical Garden

Purple CBG

On a cold Cleveland day, in the Botanical Garden’s glasshouse,
around a corner
purple appeared.

28 December 2013
Cleveland Botanical Garden
Cleveland, OH

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Purple bird, Cleveland Botanical Garden

Purple bird

“That’s not a flower,” observed my companion as I focused the camera.

“I post other purple things,” I replied.

I snapped the photo and said,

“And I don’t call them flowers when I do.”

28 December 2013
Cleveland Botanical Garden
Cleveland, Ohio

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Christmas: Light

Light

24 December 2013
Forest Hills Church (Presbyterian)
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

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Advent 24: Joy

Peace Cranes St. George.jog

2 November 2004
St. George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem

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Merry? Christmas

I woke up this morning with “Merry Christmas” on my mind. I have said and written and read the words many times through the years. Lately, I have found myself wondering whether “merry” conveys enough meaning for the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. I turned to the online Oxford Dictionaries to learn more about the word. While I will probably do some further research, here’s what I found:

merry

Syllabification: (mer·ry)
Pronunciation: /ˈmerē/

adjective (merrier, merriest)

  • cheerful and lively: the narrow streets were dense with merry throngs of students; a merry grin
  • (of an occasion or season) characterized by festivity and rejoicing: he wished me a merry Christmas
  • British informal slightly and good-humoredly drunk: after the third bottle of beer he began to feel quite merry

Lion and lambLively works. It points to the life, the new life, the full and abundant life, that breaks into the world at Christmas.

Rejoicing works. The birth of Jesus brings great joy. Festivity? Christmas is a festival of the church. Festivity picks up on the dimensions of joy.

The third definition, not so much. It does bring the story of the first Pentecost to mind. It’s not completely out of the

Merry Christmas, wishing life and joy works. But I wonder if there might be other ways to express the greetings of the day and season that plumb more meanings and point to other dimensions:

  • Christmas blessings
  • Blessed Christmas
  • May the joy, hope, peace, and love of Christmas be yours
  • May justice roll at Christmas
  • Peaceful Christmas
  • Peace-filled Christmas
  • Hopeful Christmas
  • Hope-filled Christmas
  • Christmas grace
  • Grace-filled Christmas
  • Christmas memories
  • Remember at Christmas
  • Gracious Christmas
  • Healing Christmas
  • Expectant Christmas
  • May you know the comfort of Christmas
  • May you know the discomfort of Christmas
  • Faith-filled Christmas
  • Faithful Christmas
  • Holy Christmas
  • Happy Christmas

I will still use Merry Christmas, but I want to try to expand the greetings I share at Christmas. Brian Wren reminds us of the need to Bring many names, beautiful and good to express the wonder and mystery and majesty of God. We need something similar to capture the depth of Christmas’ meaning.

What words and images would you add?

See you along the Trail.

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Advent 23: Neighbors

neighbors. jpg

24 February 2007
Manhattan, New York

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Purple flowers, Merdine T. Morris’ room

photo 2

22 December 2013
Fairmount Health Center

Willoughby, Ohio

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