Simply, Me Too

asian kids little boy hand touches and holds an old man wrinkledIn 1981 Barbara Mandrell recorded the song, “I Was Country, When Country Wasn’t Cool.”  I kinda feel that way about #metoo.  It would work…I was me-too, when me-too wasn’t cool.  Well, you get the idea.  I am about to be very politically incorrect but try to see the larger picture here. I was a little put out with “#metoo” phrase.  Now, not the cause, not the solidarity, not the results. I don’t want to take anything away from the movement!

You see, the phrase “me too” has always held a broader connotation for me.  By attaching it to one category, one movement it narrows and lessens the larger connection of community this phrase can hold.  The phrase “me too” is what connects all humanity!  Without that phrase, we are alone in our suffering, in our pain, and even in our laughter.

Several years ago I was working with Haven for Hope.  It is a homeless shelter that offers an addiction recovery program.  I facilitated spiritual wellness classes for men and women’s addiction recovery groups on a weekly basis.  What I discovered forever changed my feeling of connection with what I consider the “greater community.”

Oh, I always held the belief that we are all children of God, we all are of the same worth and so on. But hearing and sharing stories, telling of dreams that fell short; beginning again at places one didn’t expect to be…we all have at least one of those stories!  Yeah, me too.  They are each unique and at the same time universal.

What was this great discovery?  We are all the frickin’ same at an innate level and there is no hierarchy in compassion. I believe strongly that we are, every one of us, born a spiritual being. A spark of the Divine resides within all humanity.  We may build a wall of hate or fear around it, ignore it, or sadly, forget it is there. We may also foster that spark, engage with the Divine, grow, moving closer to God, the Divine Spirit, and as a result with all creation.

Everyone has hopes, dreams, and ambitions!  At some point we all carried “images” of what we would be, or might become. There are experiences that shape all of us; some quite unfair, even cruel; some we created by poor choices; some by being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  But the minute we crack open our soul the slightest bit and share the smallest pain or suffering, and in return the other says, yeah, me too. We are connected forever.  You see it takes vulnerability and courage to open up, and the same courage and vulnerability to respond me too!

So, when I am in conversation and say, “me too,” whether out loud or in my heart, I am saying me too to something broader and deeper. I am with you in your suffering and pain. I am with you in laughter and joy. Sitting with an immigrant at a bus station, I clearly have not experienced their fear, their pain, their hopes.  But I do knowfear, pain, and hope.  I can sit with them in theirs.

No two hurts are the same. One who thinks that their suffering is unique, that no one hurts like they do or as bad as they do; or that no one has it as rough as they do, can miss out on compassionate connection. One can too often end up sitting within their suffering all alone.  Pain and suffering feel lonely enough as is.

Have you ever watched a little child with an older adult?  Walking slowly with them, gently touching them, recognizing their frailty? They are saying “me too.”  We all long for connection, to be needed, to tell our stories, to not be alone. 

There is a creed a church I used to attend recited from time to time. It is called “The United Church of Canada’s Affirmation of Faith.” The creed opens with the line, “We are not alone, we live in God’s world.”  I always feel like I could stop right there!  We live in a world where the Divine is present, always.  Present in me, present in you, in ALL.  That right there is the connection that initiates “me too.”

Allowing someone to hold your story is sacred.  The act of listening to and holding another’s story is sacred!  Each story is unique, and each story is the same.  Pain is pain; betrayal is betrayal; fear is fear.  It is not necessary to compare, or as odd as it may sound, compete.  When someone shares their story, it is a gift of grace.  When someone listens to your story, simply holds it in God’s presence, that too is a gift of grace.  Compassion rises!

Sacred Laughter

Laughter, genuine laughter!
Uncontainable, joyous!
Pure and unrestrained.
A true gift given!

My daughters and I were flying a kite on a wonderful, breezy afternoon.  The youngest was holding the spool of string, the rest of us had our necks craned as we watched the kite high above us.  You can imagine our surprise as the spool (no longer in my daughter’s hand) passed us by and the kite kept soaring above us!  My children have a vivid image of me chasing after that spool of string attached to our kite.

The wind took the kite and the string along with it across the park. For some reason, I thought I could run fast enough to grab the spool!  I took off running, in what felt like a sprint.  I began to imagine what I must look like running after the kite that was blowing through the air, the string always just out of reach. I could see the looks on people’s faces as they watched this crazy lady running through the park trying to capture the elusive kite!

Out of breath and half way across the park I looked back to find both girls still standing in the same spot…their mouths and eyes wide open. I burst into laughter and so did they.  For weeks we would pass by the kite hung up in the phone wires and just laugh.

That was a sacred laughter. Why? Because, that laughter was bound together in the love and joy of that moment.

Recently, after a very long and very hard bout of laughter, a friend said, “beautiful!” I couldn’t agree more.

Take time to recall:

First a grin.

A smile soon breaks out.

A chuckle escapes.

Finally laughter erupts…

At the memory of us doubled over with laughter!

I love that memory!

Kintsugi–Mending the Broken

Can you remember as a child when you accidently broke something and tried with all your ability to mend it so that no one would notice? I recall the fear and shame this created within me.kintsugi I can also remember thinking that superglue would be my saving grace! But, even with this great invention, I somehow could never repair the broken item to its original state. Imagine my surprise when I learned of the Japanese technique of Kintsugi…I could have told everyone I was simply being an artist!

Kintsugi is an ancient Japanese technique used to repair broken ceramic pieces. “Kint” > gold and “Sugi” >connect. The art of kintsugi uses lacquer and gold leaf to repair the broken plate, bowl, etc…creating what many say is a work of art more beautiful than the original piece. To the kintsugi artists, this work is related to the spiritual practice of finding beauty in broken or old items, giving them new life.

Applied to our lives, the idea of turning the broken into beauty becomes a spiritual practice that frees us from hiding and releases the shame we feel. Kintsugi was the focus of discussion in a recent addiction recovery group I was facilitating. After watching the video on the link I have provided below, the talk turned to our own brokenness. The scars, the wounds we receive, the wounds we have given, the flaws, the cracks, the hurt and pain we all carry. We then took time to reflect by creating images of our own brokenness and visions of mending. 

I was given permission by the man who created this plate to share this photo and his explanation of his image in this blog.


He first etched in the paper plate how he saw the brokenness in his life. You can see in the center the words “self esteem.” He then wrote on the outer circle words that contribute to mending the broken pieces of his life. When it came time to add the gold, rather than just draw a solid line, the lines were formed by individual dots. The reason for not simply drawing a line is because this healing, this mending, takes time. One dot at a time…healing takes place.

What is the brokenness you carry? What contributes to healing the shattered pieces? What beauty do you see in your life from past wounds where healing has taken place?



Spiritual Roots

held photo-1I recently spent time reflecting on this painting by Melanie Weidner. I was continually drawn to the roots of the tree, seeing the steadiness and sureness of them in contrast to the blowing storm above. I thought about newly planted trees being anchored by ropes, an outward system to keep the tree from toppling over until it’s own growth and root system can take hold.

In faith journeys, or our life journeys, there are people who do the same for us, all the while contributing to the roots of our spiritual formation. I began thinking of the many people that contributed and are contributing to my ever-growing root system. The people who loved me when it was most difficult to love me, those who gave me encouragement, allowed me to question and doubt and wander. There are those who were unkind and hurtful, where I was challenged to look deeply at what it means to love my enemies and that all people are children of the same Creator. Times when being in community can be difficult and blessed at the same time no doubt broadened and gave depth in my Spirit. The spiritual disciplines that have become a part of my life, people I encountered for a passing moment, yet had a lasting impact, those who I have laughed with, cried with, prayed with, and played with all are part of the root system that nourishes the tree called “my life.”

This root system is grounded in God who holds, sustains, and gives new life again and again and again.

How does this painting speak to you?

Picture by Melanie Weidner.

Week One: Personalizing the Psalms


Personalizing a Psalm can feel strange at first.  I felt a bit inadequate when thinking of placing my own words into scripture. Wasn’t the Psalm fine as it was?  But as I started personalizing the Psalm, the benefit became apparent. Reflected in the words was my immediate yearning, hurt, or joy.  The prayer changed as my days changed!  I also became aware of how the word I used to describe God reflected my relationship with God, my need of God, on that day, at that time.


“Wow…I did not see that coming…what a wonderful surprise!”  “Oh my…I did not see that coming…this changes things and will be so hard.”  Life is full of these kind of moments, as well as the routine and predictable periods.  All are sacred and worthy of reflection.

For me personally, life is a tapestry, threads made and woven from encounters, situations, events, and relationships…made sacred by the ever present weavings of the Spirit. In this tapestry there are colors I would not have chosen, patterns I could never imagine for myself, and beauty beyond what I could create.

When I take time to step back and reflect on my tapestry I see things that were missed in the moments. I see weavings, encounters that came together in just the right moDepositphotos_56537483_s-2015ments. I see threads that looked like they were dangling at the time, but were later woven in to complete or add to my journey’s design. I see places, often during difficult times, where the threads grew tighter holding the fabric together and people that were essential in those moments. I see the brightness that laughter and silliness bring to my unique design.

I stand in amazement, often times laughing, at the “threads” that make up the tapestry in my life. It is with great wonderment that I look forward to future threads that will be part of my life’s tapestry.

I have a passion to be with and provide opportunities for others as they discover the beauty and the sacredness in the tapestry of their lives. My experience has been that this awareness of God’s presence influences how we move through our days and wander toward our future.

Maybe you see your journey in the image of landscapes, or a unique tree, possibly even weather patterns. I would love to hear about your images!