What’s Next
On a Sunday morning one January in 2013, the central marketplace in Burundi exploded into flames. By the day’s end the hub of the local economy melted, ending the livelihood of too many. Dozens of mothers waited at the front gate of our little bank the following morning. They cried, lamenting their loss and fearing their future without inventory or income. My husband opened the gate and mourned with them. It was a day when only lament seemed appropriate. Claude…
Continue reading »



we start at a loss
I am at a loss. In the aftermath of the U.S. election I see the national terrain differently. I see people differently. The veneer is gone. I can’t unsee what’s been revealed. I made time to lament for seven days. Black was all I saw, all I felt, and so all I wore. The grief felt appropriate and yet premature. I retreated to the words of Isaiah, as I often do. (The book of Isaiah is called The Fifth Gospel…
Continue reading »



When We Lament
The days following the American election plunged me into lament. Everything around me was in grayscale; everything in me was melancholy. Yet full-scale lament was premature because the worst hadn’t happened yet. What I witnessed on election night was the first fracture in the wall, not the total crumbling of the city that Daughter Zion mourned in Lamentations. So I tempered my own lament—somewhat. I allowed myself seven days to feel the sadness. Then I was determined to pay attention…
Continue reading »



advent three | a prisoner will lead us
I sat in the conference room at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. I came to learn about justice – knowing I’d need to confront injustice on the way. How do you prepare for a pummeled heart? I listened to Anthony Ray Hinton tell us what happened to him at the hands of our justice system. As a young man he was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. He spent 30…
Continue reading »



I See you, Burundi
We landed after thirty-plus hours in transit. Jostling carry-on bags and excitement, we made it to the bottom of the stairs, stepping foot into the tarmac in the pitch dark. No lights anywhere. The terminal ahead stood black against the night sky. I scurried across the tarmac, herding my children like chicks, until we reached the threshold and the arms of my awaiting husband. Airport workers and travelers alike were armed with cell phones, not flash lights. To the glow…
Continue reading »



A Blessing for What Is
Fear Not, says every angel and many a prophet. Into our terrain of terror, general or specific, the salvation oracle begins with this imperative. Love, you command. Love your self, your neighbor even your enemy. You leave no escape from the demand, no way out from the risk love requires. And so it is that we live between Fear Not and Enemy Love. It’s a precarious place. The landscape is dark and the enemies real. Principalities and powers don’t easily…
Continue reading »



Twelve Candles
My son stands on the threshold of twelve. And I shudder. I should beam with maternal pride at the young man he is growing into with each hard conversation, each fought for grade, each wave of hot emotion he overcomes with self-control, each chore completed and lesson learned. I should savor each day of his radiant smile, silly high-pitched laughter, his natural skill on the soccer field or basketball court, his practiced penmanship and comical clumsiness when it comes to…
Continue reading »



Holy Contrarian
I am a holy contrarian. I don’t deck the halls, play merry, shine bright or sparkle. I dim the lights and lean into the hush. It is Advent, after all. I crack open my spirit and let the dissonance cry out, I rend my soul and allow the discord to seep in slowly, engorging every chamber of my seed-sized heart. I drop all pretenses shielding me and look the weary world straight in her tear-stained eyes. The suffering doesn’t stare…
Continue reading »



Becoming her
I saw the cover of this book and was instantly transfixed. The image broke something open in me. Something felt became something named – or closer to it as I entered into the bold colors and bolder revelation. The artwork is the cover of Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God by Kelly Brown Douglas. The image shows Trayvon Martin, with hoody and spilling Skittles, draped across the lap of his black mother. It evokes another Mother…
Continue reading »



Broken-Down Burundi
Burundi, today I turned my face away from you. Every word I heard sounded like a rumor, not a fact. My head ached as it spun in a sea of unconfirmed reports from a multi-lingual press corps. And glad tidings were nowhere to be found. So I stopped hunting for hope amid 140 cryptic characters, stopped scanning news outlets… I just stopped. I looked elsewhere or maybe nowhere at all, but certainly not in your direction. Not today.   Burundi,…
Continue reading »