Prince Humperdinck, “First things first, to the death.”

Westley, “No, to the pain.”

– The Princess Bride

O, I believe,

fate smiled and destiny

laughed as she came to my cradle,

know this child will be able,

laughed as my body she lifted,

know this child will be gifted,

with love, with patience and with faith,

she’ll make her way. 

– “Wonder” by Natalie Merchant

Last Friday
I sent up a call of distress. 

Early in the
morning in the cold, dark living room I sent a message to a few friends on Facebook,

“Here’s the thing – I’ve become
discouraged.  I have dreams and visions
of what it means to live where we do – ideas about Spiritual Direction,
Retreats and a life close to home filled with writing, speaking and tending
souls.  But, and here I know it sounds a
little ridiculous given God’s miraculous provision of this place, for some
reason lately, I’m losing hope.  We’ve
hit some very significant financial road blocks, we’re between church
communities and I am weary of piecing things together.  So, will you pray for me, for us?”


Wednesday my husband called early in the morning to tell me the timing belt
broke in his car on his way to work.  Thankfully
it didn’t happen on the highway, thankfully it was within walking distance of
his office.  But, really – this was just
three days after we started urgently petitioning God for financial provision.  See what I mean – this was AFTER we started

With that
one phone call and the two or three phone calls after it, it was like someone,
somewhere pulled a plug and all of our savings went “whoosh,” down the
drain.  The little bit of money we had to
help us get through to the end of summer just up and disappeared. 


The most
natural thing you can do, the worst thing you can do, when stress sets in and
life becomes laced with fear, is to seize up. 
The most unnatural thing you can do is to relax, to rest, to hold your
own peace of mind and spirit.  This is
how infants and young children can survive terrible accidents without being
injured – they don’t know enough to be afraid, they stay calm, relaxed and


When the
%^&% hits the fan, my impulse is to “man up.”

I got out
the computer and started a resume.

I organized
a yard sale.

I took the
little seeds of my own dreams out of my pocket and buried them somewhere in a
deep, dark, place.  They no longer glowed
with hope and promise – they were as good as dead to me.


Thursday night, I dreamed I was pregnant again – a fifth child, still tiny
showed up in an ultrasound.  How did we
let this happen? I asked.  That baby
filled my dream-self with dread – seven more years at home I thought.  Seven more years until I can do what I

In the
dream, the baby was also a tiny dragon. 
But, you know, that’s how dreams often are.


morning I sat on the love seat by the cold, empty stove with tears streaming
down and sent up a call of distress. 

“I’ve become
discourage . . . I’m losing hope.”

kids woke up and I built a fire, because wood is free, and we moved into the
day while I still swallowed tears down. 

eight, my kids started humming and buzzing with excitement.  “Why’s he here?” they exclaimed.  I looked out the kitchen window while my kids
ran out the door and saw my friend, one of the few added to that Facebook call
of distress, climbing out of his car.

He hugged
and toted my kids around, watched them climb the small Japanese Maple tree and
we stood in the yard talking about chickens waiting for the bus to come.  After the older two climbed onto the bus, I pulled
up Cat in the Hat on Netflix for the twins and we sat in the kitchen and talked
over coffee. 

“I’m losing
heart,” I said.

“I know,” he

This friend
of mine has the look and build of someone straight out of Sons of Anarchy – a
giant of a man complete with pony tail, beard and a Harley Davidson.  If he was a stranger, I would be afraid at
best to see him approaching on darkened street or even in broad daylight. 

This friend
has a Masters in Pain, a hard earned degree in life and loss and resilient hope.

“I could see
this coming,” he said and I believed it to be true, because this friend and I
resonate on a deep level.  More than anyone else in this world he has helped me
understand myself, has given me new words and insight into my own brokenness
which often provides just enough of a tweak to set me on the road to

Here are
just a few of the things he said to me that morning that helped clear the fog
of fear, things I remembered well enough to write down in my journal a few days later,

wouldn’t solve the problem.”

“It’s not
hard, you can do hard, you’re a hard worker – it’s painful.”

and, “Pain
is part of your gift.  You have pain in
proportion to your gift and your gift is great, so you experience great pain.”

together I saw that I’m again rounding a blind corner in my journey – I’m being
asked, again, to trust. 

To trust pain
can be a gift.

To trust God

To live
loosely, to lean in to the bend in the road, to believe seeds buried in
darkness and fear can sprout and live again and the life that follows death is
always greater than the loss.


Not much has
changed.  Everything has changed.

We had a
great yard sale.  There’s the dim
prospect of overtime work for my husband. 
I put my resume on hold.  We told
the kids we would have to pray about a vacation for the summer. 

In the midst
of the pain, faith is sprouting again, the tiniest speck of green.

Later that
day one red tulip opened in the garden and the rest of those friends on Facebook sent their own thoughtful, compassionate replies, most of which
consisted of some gentle version of, “Me too.”

I’m not writing this to garner sympathy.  I’m writing because maybe you also have been gifted with pain.  Maybe you too are rounding another blind corner in your journey.  I won’t tell you it’s going to be ok, but for now, I will pull back the curtain long enough to give you a glimpse of my own pain.  I will give you my pain, my life as I know it, in hopes that it will help you in some small whisper of a way.  


*   *   *   *

Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.

What if we chose to deliberately look for the small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God? 

That’s my proposal – that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days.  

You’re invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder.  Don’t worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right – you’re welcome to come as you are. 

While you’re here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.    

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