Tag Archives: possibility

Weather the storm

When I woke up the other morning, three words were on my mind: Weather the storm.

What storm? I feel like my life is serene right now, so I had no idea what the message meant.

I had spent the previous day helping my sister with her two new grandbabies. I have no grandchildren of my own, so I was delighted when she asked for my help. Holding babies is one of my favorite things to do. I love the way they snuggle in and fall asleep, trusting that they are safe.

Every time I hold an infant, I feel invited to reflect on my own level of trust. I wonder if I could relax enough to fall asleep in someone’s arms.

At the end of the day with my sister and her grandchildren, I felt content and happy, filled with gratitude and joy.

So why did I wake up the next morning thinking weather the storm?

Then I remembered this week’s Ignite the Fire session, where we reflected on our call and the hero’s journey. We talked of the language of possibility and what keeps us hemmed in. We journaled about what internal scripts keep our worlds small. We considered what we need to lay down to make room for something bigger.

Martina said that if we are heroes, we will be admired and opposed. We will face fear, vulnerability and adversity—and know that it is part of the journey. She said that when our hearts are hammering, we are hearing our call.

That reminded me of when I was the Survivor Speaker at a fund raiser last summer for our local domestic abuse/sexual assault resource center. My heart was pounding, and my knees were weak. I felt exposed and vulnerable, and I wanted to run away. But I didn’t. I told my story, even though I was scared.

I am scheduled to share my story again, and I am probably feeling anxiety, vulnerability and fear—although I tend to minimize the emotions connected with sharing my story, downplaying how difficult it is for me. Perhaps what I need to lay down is my self-identity as someone who is strong and self-sufficient. Letting go of that self-identity would produce an internal storm as disquieting as a tornado; maybe that is what weather the storm means. Letting go of seeing myself as capable and in control of my emotions would allow me to lean into vulnerability and possibility.

Spending the day with my sister and her grandchildren was an invitation to ponder possibility and vulnerability. At one point, my sister and I each held a baby, and the two children faced one another. The four-month old looked at his two-month-old cousin and started to laugh. It was as if he just noticed there was another baby in the room, and that tickled him. We laughed along, tickled that he had noticed his cousin. Everything is new for these two babies; everything is possible. I want to be that open.


On the threshold

When this is over

I have begun to say to myself,

looking ahead.

When this is over

believing in the future, any future.

Everything will be possible, so be open.

We will begin again,

seeing the world for the first time,

greeting our neighbors,

hugging our families.

What once was is gone,

and something new is taking shape.

We will unlock the doors, open the windows,

embrace hope, think big thoughts.

Turn toward a new direction.

We are on the threshold.

Dwell in possibility

I am with Emily Dickinson on this one—dwell in possibility.


After four weeks of preparing for the worst of the coronavirus, of fearing for my mother’s health, of living with an underlying sense of dread and anxiety, I am ready for a change of direction.

I have begun to think about the time after this pandemic, about the time when we can move more freely and gather with family and friends.

When this is over, I say to myself—and then allow myself to imagine what life might offer. I have started to think of travel again, enticed by the virtual tours of European museums and British gardens. I have started to think about renovating my kitchen. I have started to believe I have a future.

Every curse has a blessing is one of my foundational beliefs, and I have already found several blessings in the curse of this pandemic.

For one thing, I find that I enjoy all this alone time, which is surprising given that I am an extrovert who usually has a full calendar.

Before the pandemic, I often got together with family and friends and was involved in a variety of after-work activities from church to civic groups to volunteering, but this time of isolation is teaching me that I don’t need as much activity as I have had in the past.

I am letting go of my need to be involved and to feel productive; I am learning to be.

This time of isolation has given me permission to be more contemplative, and I find it suits me.

As my daily life has become more limited because of the pandemic, I find my prayer life is expanding. The words, phrases or images that come to me during my morning prayer now have the time and space to remain in my consciousness, continually drawing me back throughout the day, inviting me to go deeper.

For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits; truly my hope is in you. These words from a song based on Psalm 62 keep running through my mind.


On a morning walk this week, singing these words and pondering the people negatively impacted by the pandemic, two groups came to mind.

The first is people in institutions (nursing homes, assisted living facilities, prisons, youth detention centers, etc.) who are not allowed visitors. I think of people dying alone without the opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones, and loved ones grieving in isolation.

The second group is children who live with an abusive relative, children who used to be able to escape the abuse by going to school and after-school activities and to friends’ houses, but who are now imprisoned with no hope of escape.

My heart breaks for them all, and I carry the sadness and grief of the pandemic.

And yet, in the stillness of isolation, I also carry hope for the time when this is over. I know it may not be soon, but it will come.

Live large

What did we talk about before the pandemic took up residence

and reshaped our lives?

What mattered before fear settled in and narrowed our vision?

Breathe in and expand.

Remember how large life once was and will be again.

Remember the good things.

Remember those we love,

now out of sight.

In the darkness of isolation, I am alone.

Breathe in and expand.

Stand outside and drink in the sunshine.

Watch every tree bud this spring,

celebrate every flower.

Sing, laugh, dance.

Life is still good.

Optimism is possible.

Hope is within reach.

Crowd out the darkness with light.