The Road Map of Your Life

by Amanda Petersen

I recently had the opportunity to drive from South Carolina to Phoenix and as we took the major highways 2 things became very evident. 1) the towns all looked the same, and 2) I am not a huge fan of GPS.

As we crossed state lines there were very few distinguishing markers from one town to the next. Each mall had the same stores, state after state. To be honest, it made me a bit sad. As for GPS, it kept automatically figuring out what the fastest not the best route would be. Even if I set the course I wanted, it would often reroute for one that was faster. All of this led to the view of similarity from town to town.

It wasn’t until I went off the major highways and explored some other routes, ignoring GPS (which happily recalculated), that the uniqueness of location came through. This can be the story of our lives as well. I can remember reading back over old journals and seeing that the things I was thinking about dealing with three years ago were the same at the time of the reading. Really?? How long am I going to stay on that super highway of the same thoughts and habits over and over again??

The trick to changing one’s life is to be willing to take a route not explored before. It takes time and intention. One of the best ways I know of reading the road map of your life is to practice the Examen. This prayer practice was put together by Ignatius of Loyola as part of the Spiritual Exercises in the 1500’s. Today, many personal improvement and business leaders recommend some form of self-examination each day.

Here is the simple version taken from Traditionally this is done twice a day. Once in the evening and once at noon. You can play around with the when; just try it for a few weeks and see what you notice.

Become aware of God’s presence.
Review the day with gratitude.
Pay attention to your emotions.
Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
Look toward tomorrow.

If you would like to explore the Examen you may want to check out the summer group focused on the Spiritual Exercises.

Are you speeding down a highway of sameness being led by automatic thoughts and habits? Try the Examen and explore the side roads and find the unique beauty that is you.

For the Love of Basic Needs and Dignity

by Davin Franklin-Hicks

Sigh. North Carolina. What a painful month for our trans sisters and brothers that reside there. It is so disheartening and fear-inducing to witness.

In the midst of this prejudice, bias, and discrimination, I’d like to draw us back to the humanity and dignity of transgender folks everywhere and remind us that we are loved by a still speaking God.

I lived in this world for 30 years being perceived as a girl and then a woman. I am transgender. My body was that of a female and my mind that of a male. Hard stuff when there isn’t room for such things in your understanding of the world. The flip side of that, though, is amazing gifts when there IS room for such things.

Transition is a radical act of love. My transition is a radical act of love for me, but it is also a radical act of love for you. I am saying, “Hey! I want to be all in with the care and connection we have, but I need something to be made visible in order for me to be authentic with you.” To share honestly is loving.

North Carolina is going through some stuff like a sullen teenager. It’s dressing in black and playing death metal through its headphones. It’s so over you, America, what with your equality and loving kindness in allowing queer folk to marry. It’s pretty insolent and sulky, but that turns quickly to being mean and a bully. It’s akin to a thirteen-year old that is sent to her room and she trashes it, not realizing that she just hurt herself more than anyone else since she now has to clean that up and lost some valuables while throwing a fit. Teenagers, am I right?

North Carolina is hurting itself by bullying and harming its own who are vulnerable and beautiful and, often, alone. I keep getting this image of the school bully hanging out in the bathroom between classes to grab the first person it sees and give that person a swirly. Poor unsuspecting kid trying to take care of his most basic needs, going to the bathroom, and the bully makes him wet his pants instead.

Do you see the indignity? Can you feel the undercurrent? “You are not human in the way we understand humans so you cannot exist. Your pee-pee and doo-doo are no good here. Move along.” Imagine going to work and trying to find the nearest non-gender specific bathroom so you can void your toxins while avoiding arrest. Or worse, attending school that legally locks you inside its walls during school hours and refuses you access to the bathroom. This is insane.

I have fantasies of asking Paul McCartney to remake “Let it Be” to “Let Us Pee”. Anyone know him? Let me know. Could be a hit. Another one of my fantasies is Kit Kat doing a commercial and changing up that jingle, “Give me a break. Give me a break. No, really, I could totally use a bathroom break. Seriously. Please. I really gotta pee.”

Did you know that I, along with many others, see being transgender as a gift? We are quite literally living Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”. I know what it is like to walk this world being perceived as a girl and a woman. I know what it is like to try and be what the world demands of a woman. I know what it’s like to suffer rejection after rejection as girls and women harm each other so they can feel better about the ridiculous demands placed on femininity. I had this lived experience for thirty years.

My transition wasn’t because I didn’t like being a woman. I transitioned because I wasn’t a woman. My transition into manhood is affirming and gives me a sense of congruence where I had none before.

I want you to work on something for me if you can. It will help, I promise you that:

  • If someone you previously thought to be a woman tells you that he is actually a man and requests you use male pronouns (he/him/his), rather than thinking this is a woman who wants to be a man, think this is a man who is revealing more about himself to me. He is already a man.
  • If someone you previously thought to be a man tells you she is actually a woman and requests you use female pronouns (she/her/hers) rather than thinking this is a man who wants to be a woman, think this is a woman who is revealing more about herself to me. She is already a woman.
  • If someone you know is fluid in gender expression and identity, think this is a person who is revealing more about themselves to me. Ask which pronoun would be best and prepare to learn other pronouns that may be unfamiliar. It’ll be clunky at times, but it will also be okay.

The reason this will assist us all in transition or expanding our awareness of gender is because we are saying to the person who is revealing their gender identity, “You know more about yourself than I know about you. I believe you. I see you.”

The work of our reconciling church is very much in the midst of all of this. That radical act of love I do believe is what was meant when we were invited to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s the work. That’s the call. Oh, and, by the way… This call for us to love extends to the bully lurking in the bathroom. If there is one thing I know about bullies, they are the ones that often have the most need for love and the smallest amount of capacity to create that in their own lives.

To the bullying powers that be in North Carolina: this Trans guy sees your fear, your uncertainty, and your anger. I see it. This is hard stuff for you, all this change and uncertainty. Gender is so foundational in your thoughts about life and God and country. This is upending a lot for you. You have fear. I have amazing news for you, though. Ready? Love drives out fear. Give it a go, this choosing of love over fear. I think you might really like it. It may even allow for you to emerge from that dark, dingy bathroom and into the sun.

Let us pee…

To Life!

by Karen MacDonald

(revised from a sermon preached 9/13/15)

Fr. Richard Rohr has said:  “Your life is not about you.  You are about life.”

Natalie Angiers, in her book The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science, gives an amazing, expansive view of this truth.  She describes the puzzle pieces of life, RNA and DNA, that arose in the first cells to emerge on Earth, the same puzzle pieces that have infused, and still infuse, every living creature since, up until this moment and in every ensuing moment.  “Life so loved being alive that it has never, since its sputtering start, for a moment ceased to live.”  (p. 181)  

And Deuteronomy declares in God’s voice, “Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you nor is it too far away….No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe….Choose life so that you and your descendants may live…in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors….”  (Deuteronomy 30: 11-20, passim)

The vermilion flycatcher and the mesquite tree in which it flits, the humpback chub fish and California condor trying to regain their footing in the Grand Canyon, Mexican gray wolves and the trees of the Gila National Forest, the western diamondback that calls our deserts home, you, me—we’re all enmeshed in and vibrating with the essence of life!  Life is imprinted in us.  So let us choose life, with the divine view.  Choose love, for all our relations, human and otherwise, in creation.  Then we’ll live long in the land given us, this beautiful Earth.

The choice isn’t too hard for us; the word isn’t outside us, far away in heaven or beyond the sea.  Rather, the word is in our mouth and in our heart.  The spark if life is in us from the first cell.  The Spirit of the Holy is in us from in the beginning.  

While the divine way of life and love isn’t too hard for us, it can be difficult nonetheless, as Jesus knew.  It’s out of step with the dominant world’s way, and sometimes with our own wants, and so can be painful and sorrowful and risky.  This may be the Lenten and the Holy Week experience in a world, and sometimes our own hearts, that are self-centered and fearful.  And this divine way may enrich our Easter living in every season.  For it’s an expanded and expansive way of living.  For example:

  • If I do this or say this, how might it affect the other person?
  • If I stay silent or on the sidelines, how will it affect others, human and otherwise?
  • What animal and Earth resources and human labor went into this item I want?
  • How can I help save the life of others, human and otherwise?
  • Am I living as if I’m part of life that so loves being alive?  As if I’m part of God’s love?

This spirit-centered, holy way of living expands our way of being, expands our very being.

To paraphrase Richard Rohr, our life is not about us.  You and I are about nothing less magnificent than life!  That amazing truth moves us through pain and sorrow and risk to a resurrection, once again and always, of life that loves being alive, of love undeterred for all creation.  Hallelujah!

The Art of Eldering

by Amos Smith

The entire Christian tradition can be seen in terms of eldering. The witnesses in the Bible are our ancient elders, whose words mentor disciples through the ages. The early Christian community deferred to its elders, preserved their writings, learned and grew from their example.

When I attended Quaker Meetings for Worship during college days, the community clearly identified its elders. Quaker elders were also known as “Seasoned Friends.” The elders, who had been in the community a long time, had gathered around many crackling beach fires. They knew the life-giving stories. They’d been pummeled by life and survived to speak carefully chosen words of truth, sometimes as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel. Elders were sought for council. The most wizened engaged in the delicate and humble art of puncturing peoples’ inflated egos in order to restore their souls.

A tragedy of America that is echoed throughout Hollywood and mass media is the supremacy of the teenager and young adult. Our culture reveres teens. We celebrate their vitality, enthusiasm, and beauty. There are many praiseworthy qualities of young adulthood, yet for a society to revere teens is backward. Teen role models would never go over in traditional societies found in Asia, South America, and elsewhere. In these societies the wizened elders are appropriately revered.

The sage, not the teen heartthrob, deserves the highest honor.

The fitting response.

by Kelly Kahlstrom

2006 was a year I’ll never forget.

My mammogram came back abnormal. I needed a biopsy. I was a single mother raising a teenager. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know how much to say. Or to whom. I eventually shared this news with a friend who responded “Ah don’t worry about it. That happened to me and it was nothing…statistics are on your side.” Somehow, I was not reassured nor was I comforted. Another friend held me, let me cry, and give voice to the terror of facing cancer. No reassurances. No statistics. Just the validation that they had heard my pain. I have never forgotten that life giving moment; it was a fitting response.

2006 was also the year that my daughter got married. In the certainty of her newly found religion and in the certainty of her youth, it was decided that her family of origin would be excluded from most of the wedding plans and certainly the ceremony itself. No bridal shower. No shopping for a wedding dress. No negotiating. We were however requested to wait outside the Mormon Temple in Mesa to greet the happy couple (and the groom’s parents) as they emerged from the ceremony. The pain of these decisions was unbearable at the time, both personally and theologically. Feeling justifiably hurt and angry, my initial reaction was to boycott the event.

Grace, however, comes in surprising packages.  Shortly after the wedding announcement but before the ceremony I attend a Walter Brueggemann lecture. Embedded in the countercultural read of the Exodus story and Yahweh’s response to the voiced pain of the Hebrew slaves, I found my fitting response. “Hospitality,” Bruegemann said, “will always trump vengeance.” As unhappy as I was with the circumstances, a relationship with my daughter was still more important to me than my certainty in the theological position of inclusiveness and while the day of the wedding was difficult, I have never regretted the decision to show up and greet my daughter after the ceremony. “Hospitality will always trump vengeance.” A pearl of wisdom that is just what is needed in the moment; again a fitting response.

But what exactly is a fitting response? Calvin Schrag suggests that it is an ethical analysis of the questions “What is going on?” and “How should we respond?” It is an openness to create what is needed at the moment to affirm life. It cannot be scripted in advance for as moments and experiences change, so will the fitting response. And, it is not to be undertaken lightly. A fitting response requires three things from us:

  1. A willingness to listen to someone’s voiced pain, analyze what is needed to affirm life, and to take action.
  2. A willingness to be changed by the experience – an agreement to enter into the mutuality of a relationship.
  3. A realization that it is not a one-time deal; there is a constant call to respond with openness and awareness while we negotiate and renegotiate our being together.

Similarly, Martin Copenhaver, in exploring an alternative narrative for the decline in the life of the church and of theological education writes, “To tell the story of our time as one of decline is to walk away from our inheritance as Easter people. God is not dead and neither are God’s promises.” Copenhaver’s questions are “What is God up to in our time?” and “What are we to do in response?” Both speak to the work of “breathing life into dead spaces” and highlight the need to formulate a fitting response to the pain we are privileged to see and hear.

Fast forward to 2016…I have found being on the board of Rebel & Divine challenging as well as exhausting as we arrange and rearrange the structure of the organization in the hopes of soon becoming a covenant church in the Southwest Conference. Longing for order in the midst of chaos, and knowing that reacting usually falls short of the desired result, I set out to look for guidance in how to best respond.  I spent the better part of Easter weekend looking for the UCC version of the Presbyterian Book of Order only to find that it doesn’t exist [smile].  As one who engages the world first through my head I seem to forget (fairly often sadly) that I cannot think my way out of all of life’s challenges especially challenges that present in the vertical dimension.

And so it seems that the United Church of Christ is asking me to take the fitting response seriously. It is far harder than just thinking, or remembering the order of Robert’s Rules. It is to recognize and respond to the beckoning of creation; an invitation to create a place from which listening with a new ear or a different way of seeing can bubble up from the depths of my being and make its way through the crowded thoughts of my mind to make itself known to me. And whilst I cannot create a fitting response (for only the hearer/receiver gets to decide if my utterance or action is fitting), I can signifying my willingness to participate by issuing an invitation to language to play.  

I will be the first to admit I do not always dwell in this place. And I need help occasionally finding it again for it is so easily covered over by a culture that values the head more than the heart. A wise friend framed it this way…in the heat of the moment, take a step back and ask yourself if your response is grounded in love or fear. If fear, what would it look like to participate from love? Choose love.  The good news here is that flip-flopping is welcomed!

As you listen to the voiced pain in your communities, both individually and corporately…what is God calling you to do to “breathe life into dead spaces” and respond in love?

Does our Extravagant Welcome Speak to the Soul?

by Kenneth McIntosh

Last Sunday a visitor at our church mentioned her frustration in another congregation, her feeling that “I’m not growing deeper with God.” I wonder how many people in our churches share that sense of need? There’s much talk about the missing millennial generation (18-29 year olds) in our churches. Indeed, a 2013 Barna survey titled “Three Spiritual Journeys of Millennials” confirms that more than 50% of persons in that demographic have dropped out of church. But the study goes deeper than that, placing these leavers into three categories, and the biggest category of church dropouts is what the Barna survey calls “Nomads.” “This group is comprised of 18- to 29-year-olds with a Christian background who walk away from church engagement but still consider themselves Christians. “ So they consider themselves Christ-followers but aren’t finding what they desire in church.

I wonder if the problem for these “Nomads,” at least to some extent, might be our failure to advertise or facilitate ways to genuinely experience and grow deeper in God? When the Apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Ephesus in the first century, his greatest desire for them was “that the God of our savior Jesus Christ, the God of glory, will give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation, to bring you to a rich knowledge of the Creator” (Ephesians 1:17, The Inclusive Bible). The same need may be truer today. Amos Smith, pastor of Church of the Painted Hills UCC in Tucson says “People in our time think scientifically, we need practical verification that something is true or not. If I don’t experience something in my nervous system, there’s a lack of verification.” Smith then refers to the positive example of psychologist Karl Jung who was asked by an interviewer if he believed in God? Jung replied, in a modest voice, “I don’t believe, I know.” Such faith, grounded not in rote propositions but in experiential reality, may be the deepest need for Christians in a Post-modern age.

Could it be that the political polarization of society has pushed both Conservative and Progressive faith communities to emphasize things other than experiencing God? I expect this is true more in terms of public perception than of actual congregational life—but what the public perceives has significant impact on churches. Conservative churches, associated with the political right, can be characterized as rule-focused. They offer the do’s and don’ts of morality, based on hyper-literal Bible interpretations, as the focus of spiritual life. But by the same measure, Progressive churches may so emphasize justice and peace that they can also reduce the Christian life to saying and doing the right things.

I sometimes wonder, as we offer extravagant welcome, what are welcoming people to? One person seeking a church—a lesbian who is politically involved in liberal causes—told me “I visited several UCC churches in my area, but they only offered confirmation of my social and political beliefs. I need a church where they’ll help me deepen my relationship with God.”

A decade ago Richard Peace and David Schoen, two of the most prominent UCC thinkers on spiritual formation and evangelism respectively, wrote an article titled “Listening for the Still Speaking God: Contemplative Evangelism” (you can Google it and read the pdf online). In that article they emphasize the importance of “classic spiritual formation … birthed in silence, shaped by the spiritual disciplines, and guided by a knowledgeable spiritual director.”

I am glad to say that we have all of that in the Southwest Conference. There are SWC churches where the pastors and lay people are pursuing contemplative prayer and integrating spirituality into their everyday lives. We also have Teresa Blythe with the Heysechia school and Amanda Peterson with Pathways of Grace both offering venues for seekers in the Southwest to grow deeper in contemplative and experiential faith.

But do we emphasize such opportunities for spiritual experience when we invite people to our faith communities? Schoen and Peace, in the aforementioned article, draw a picture of “Contemplative Evangelism.” They write, “What if prayer were the central component of evangelism? By this I mean, what if the very desire to reach out to others was born in the fire of contemplative prayer where the presence of God was so palpable that one could not help but want to share this reality with others?” Imagine a faith community where the message “Whoever you are, you are welcome” is followed with, “We will explore spiritual practices together with you, experiencing the healing presence of God.” Peace and Schoen further explain, “This would be evangelism out of the silence rather than via the loud proclamation. It would be evangelism of companionship—as both evangelist and seeker reach out to God. It would be evangelism of the retreat and the small group conversation, rather than evangelism of the large meeting and forceful challenge. It would be evangelism of spiritual direction (in which the voice of God is sought) rather than evangelism of the witnessing monologue.”

Church of the Painted Hills offers a practical example of such “Contemplative Evangelism” with their Friday Centering Prayer gatherings. They advertise via flyers at local Yoga studios, and half the people who attend their gatherings are unaffiliated with the church. They come driven by a desire to experience God.

Theologian Karl Rahner said “The Christian of the future will be a mystic, or will not exist at all.” In a time of declining church attendance, perhaps we should more openly advertise that our faith communities offer ancient and effective spiritual practices, trails inviting those who wish to walk on such mystical paths.

Every Step Takes You Somewhere

by Amanda Peterson

Every step takes you somewhere.

If you get to where you’re going will you be where you want to be.

If you want your life to change, you have to be willing to change.

Every journey begins with a single step.

These are some common phrases that have a simple truth to them.  Whether you are aware of it or not, your life is moving every day.  My brother used to say, “life is like a bus ride, you think you are just sitting there on the bus, but if you look out the window, the scenery is changing all the time.”  Sometimes we need simple truths to wake us up to the fact that we are invited to participate in life.

There are times when life feels stuck or overwhelming, yet every day one puts their feet on the ground and makes choices on where the journey is going to go regardless of circumstances.  This is the gift of developing an awareness that we have an inner life (call it soul, spirit, energy, God, etc).   Where the journey takes one with an inner life is not set by circumstances.  In fact the categories even change.  Instead of, I want to be rich or travel or have 17 children, the quest becomes, I want to be more loving, gracious, courageous, peaceful, giving, etc. Wealth, travel, and children may also happen but they are not the intention of our steps.

I bring this up because we have an amazing opportunity coming up in the fall for those who feel stuck when it comes to deep joy in their lives.  Is this a prayer you have uttered?  “God, help me be a more joy-filled person?”  John Chuchman is going to present a way to take that next step or look out the window at joy.  I highly recommend this special time because being in his presence is the ultimate example of what joy means.  Whether you have had a time of grief, upset, hurt, or pain, John will introduce some steps that honor your circumstances and at the same time show you the inner life questions that will help you live from a center of Divine Joy.

May you be aware of your steps today.

May you notice that deep within there is a God whisper of guidance.  

May you always know Pathways of Grace is here to help provide fellow journeyers as you learn your own unique steps.

It’s the Fear of New Life

by Talitha Arnold

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear (of the Jews), Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.'” – John 20:19

According to John, it was fear “of the Jews” that made the disciples huddle behind locked doors.  Not only have such statements spawned Christian anti-Semitism for centuries, but I think John got it wrong as to the root cause of their fear.  They weren’t just afraid of the “other” (aka “the Jews”) nor even of death. I think they feared new life.  I know I do sometimes. Perhaps you do, too.

The truth is, such fear resonates through the Resurrection stories. The women ran from the tomb in fear. The guards trembled with fear, “like dead men.” When the disciples saw the Risen Christ by the Sea of Tiberias, they were afraid to ask who he was because, John states, “they knew it was the Lord.”  If that were true, their lives would never be the same. Now there’s a scary thought.

So perhaps they locked the doors out of fear of the religious leaders or the Romans or anyone else they were afraid would do them harm. But perhaps they also shut the doors because they were afraid of him, the Resurrected One, the one who promised them new life. Because if he lived, they would have to live, too.  Really live.

No wonder they bolted the doors. Of course, if he were strong enough to break the bonds of death, he could make it through their doors—and their fears. He probably could make it through ours as well.


Risen Christ, break through our defenses and our doors. Give us the courage to be open to your new life.

Kindness Redeems Our Humanity

by Amos Smith

According to the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority there are an estimated four to six million live landmines in Cambodia today—a country with a population of eight million.

Every day families tilling the land have the persistent horrific fear they’ll hear an explosion. Then their daughter, mother, or husband will come back soaked in blood, missing a foot, a leg, an arm.

Yes, there are organizations like Church World Service addressing the problem. Yet, in general we don’t hear about it. It doesn’t make the news.

The prophet Jeremiah exclaims: “Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the needy, then it was well. Is not this to know me? says the Lord” (Jeremiah 22:15-16, ESV). What would Jeremiah say about our current state of affairs, where six million landmines are left to terrorize civilians in Cambodia?

The Bible reminds us that kindness counts above all else. This is the mark of our humanity—kindness to the poor, to the sick, to the homeless, to the AIDS victim, to the dying. Kindness reflects the spirit of the prophets. Kindness redeems our humanity.

The Angel’s Story

by Karen Richter

Note to readers: I don’t often write fiction or imaginative essays (perhaps after reading this, you’ll see why!), but this was an attempt at capturing the spirit of Easter in a non-literal way. Fans of Madeleine L’Engle’s novels will recognize the idea of ‘Naming the stars’ as one task done by angels, which I borrow with much respect and gratitude.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God… in the tomb.  Cold and dark and smelling of Death.   The whole world was sad and yet waiting.  Well, maybe the waiting was just me.  It was my job to wait there and keep watch.  My fellows didn’t want this task.  It was so much the better to go on Naming the stars.  I couldn’t blame them for their reluctance to visit this shadowed place.

And so it was I who was there when the stone began to roll.  I didn’t push it and I don’t know who did.  It began slowly, almost imperceptibly – before gaining speed like all wondrous things do, crunching across tiny stones and mosses.  Then, LIGHT.

Light and singing and shaking rocks and warmth and then stories began to pour forth from the opening of the tomb.  Stories?  Yes, I could see in the early morning shimmer, the energy of human words and stories rushing out into the world.  Somehow something someone someplace sometime.

Yes, there would be stories.  Stories of walking on the road with a stranger; stories of breakfast on the lakeshore; stories of rushing wind and locked doors; stories of doubt and belief and impossibility; stories of friendship renewed; stories of fish caught and sheep fed.  As the humans caught the energy of hope and renewal, their stories took shape and form, each unique and beautiful.

That one day seemed to last for years.  The stories passed around, gathered and dispersed.  And as many as took the words into their hearts were changed.  The turning of the world changed that day.  Not faster or slower or anything that can be measured.  I can’t explain this.  It’s just the way if you ask my brethren the Name of a particular star, they will tell you.  But how many stars are there?  The numbers and the measuring and the thinking only gets one so far.  I can’t tell you the number of stars, but I Know them and God Knows them.  The Naming and the Knowing are what’s important.  So when I tell you that everything changed that day – everything! – it’s something that you have to grasp with the heart, all at once.

And those stories, the stories of that incredibly long day, have remained, lodged gently in the hearts of women and men, told and re-told and experienced and re-experienced.  But that morning, my watching done, the stone rolled away, the light dancing back into the world… it was time for me to move on.