A selection of some recent feature articles
How I Tried to Be a Good Neighbour During COVID-19 in Reader's Digest
When my city shut down during the pandemic, I started putting friendly signs in my window to check in on neighbours I had never met.
The Lonely Social Life of a Minister’s Wife in The Walrus and Reader’s Digest
Yes, we are the life of the funeral and the death of the party. And yet, this is a beautiful life. It’s true that we spend more time at church-basement potlucks than at beach parties. It can be lonely. It can be tough to figure out how to be a minister’s wife in an age when very few women identify themselves in terms of their spouses’ careers. Even the phrase “I’m a minister’s wife” sounds like something someone’s grammy would say.
Writing Faith into the Public Square in Convivium
But I went about my work, writing out loud about faith and matters of the soul and religion. People responded well to my peculiar stories from my peculiar life, and they were surprisingly interested in what things can be like in a clergy home (messy, just like everyone else’s). I saw that we were a kind of mystery to them. I was a rare bird in a strange sky. We made friends.
It is so important to say in public what we believe in private. That’s how people know we exist, and what we believe. And it’s very important to say it well, so that it makes some sense and is clear, like clean water.
Slowing Down for Lent in Convivium Magazine
It is so hard to slow down. Painful to crawl and not run. It is so difficult to be attentive, to pay attention. To pay with attention. Lent is made slow with sacrifice and yearning. It is faith with hard edges and sharp corners. We’re all supposed to be a little bit miserable, giving up our jujubes and our Facebook, as we do in these long 40 days, before Easter with its daffodils burst back into our life.
On Unnecessarily Owning Art in Christianity Today
How a minister’s wife understands the value of art.
The Best Thing I Can Do as a Pastor’s Spouse Right Now? Take Care of the Basics in Christianity Today
Even if I had somehow taken a course on “How to Be a Pastor’s Wife,” it probably would not have included a lesson on what to do when a global pandemic shuts down church as we know it.
Then I hit them over the head, as devotional leaders should do, by telling them what pastor Ken Shigematsu does first thing every morning, according to the Vancouver-based author’s latest book, Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve. “I begin each morning by sitting and breathing deeply for fifteen or twenty minutes,” Shigematsu writes. He focuses his attention and quiets his “busy brain” with a phrase or a single word from Scripture, repeated during a time that sounds quite lovely, and which I envy, but which is as likely to occur in my life as a unicorn appearing in my bedroom one morning.
In a way, it was ironic that adding something this huge to our Christmas celebrations lightened it all up. It was a chore that counted, a busy full of beauty. Working together with our church family to serve was one way to have Christmas make more sense. Our work to feed and be present with others brought value because it was not about us – and that is always when we are especially blessed.
Giving really is receiving, as it turns out. We just need to remember this again and again when we lose our minds a little bit at times like Christmas.
Toward the end of longing in Convivium
Just the other day my husband and I collapsed on our bed for our ritualistic Friday afternoon nap, when Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” came on. Instantly, I was back in a pub in Halifax, young and courageous and drinking cheap beer with this same man beside me, now silver-haired with fewer days in front than behind us, and lying here napping. I longed to go back.
Every now and then I write a short e-newsletter. I’d love to have you join.