Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Lightning strikes our lives.

Waves of storms, lighting the sky like daylight.

Cracks in our very existence, shaking us to our core.

We become afraid, and weary of fear. We become terrified. We cower.

Lightning is deafening and deadly.

Storms ruin our carefully shaped human existence.

We stand and look around at the ruins. We weep and mourn for what we built, and what has been decimated.

But the one who created us, the one who loves us, the one who defines our perspective on life-

He knows what storms are. He has seen, been in, and calmed them. He has walked them and comforted those lost in the rain and skyfall.

He has stood on the edge as we wept. He has mourned with us. He has slipped into our midst as we cry out for mercy and for healing.

And He is bigger than what we are going through.

We are called to not only walk in faith, but to also BELIEVE. To stand in the face of the rain and say to the sky-

My God is bigger than this.

We are called to love each other, but to also look into each others lives for the storms. To see the rain in our loved ones eyes and offer comfort and shelter.

We are to be the shelter for those lost in the fear of the lightening.

We are to be the shelter for those crying out in fear of the thunder.

We are to mend. We are to hold. We are to give our strength when others weaken.

We are to be bold in our prahyers for others walking the edge of a dark gray sky. We are to call to them that they are safe, they are loved. We are to enter the lashing rain, the noise and the purple bruised life and cast our faith like wind over them.

We are created to mend.

Women know how to do this, from the moment we are born. We know how to nurture. To be soft. To look deeper and to see more.

We are created to mend the broken and to comfort the hurting.

Don't let this world make your heart hard to what Christ created in us, as sisters of God. He created a softness and an eagerness to give of ourselves to those who need it. He gave us physical eyes and eyes of the spirit to see the hurt beyond the words.

He gave into you a heart meant to nurture and heal.

Do not let this world, with it's hardness and it's hurt steal from you this precious gift of mending.

Look beyong the surface to what can be healed. Push beyond the words those you love say to what they need. Look for the storms, seek them out, and cast a mantle of love and prayer over those hurting and in pain.

You were created to fight the storms. Not only in your life, but in others.

Do not be afraid.

Monday, July 22, 2013


"What are you resisting?"

The question was posed to us all by my yoga teacher this morning.

I closed my eyes, allowing the images to just come. My children's faces, my long to do list.

And my father's face, in the window of his home.

My eyes filled with tears.

What am I resisting?


I am running from it as from a train. It barrels down on me, and I turn from it just in time to save myself from being run over.

I don't want to feel this again. This tidal wave of silence. I don't want to walk this valley alone, again.

I want to run from it.

What am I resisting?

The image of my father, shirtless on a sweltering Vegas afternoon. Tan torso, eyes crinkled with laugh lines as he adjusts the sprinkler. The oleanders smelled like summer. My skin smelled like coconuts and smoke. And he was tall, and present, and alive.

My father's face as I told him I was moving away. A slight shift into sadness, quickly masked with a smile. Followed by laughter.

My father's eyes filled with tears as he held me on my wedding day. As he danced with me under the overturned blue bowl of October sky.

His hands on mine in pictures. Holding me up as I learned to walk.

His voices echoes in my mind. Over and over I hear him telling me not to cry, not to be sad. That it's okay.

What a I resisting?


I am too busy. Too tired. Unwilling to break down in front of my children.

But everywhere I go, I see his face. In every old man. In every glimpse of myself in the mirror. He is there.

I will never outrun this. For the rest of my life, he will be dead.

This happens to us all. We will all bury our parents.

We will all mourn those who created us.

It hurts. The knowing that if I reach out, there will never again be a reaching back.

It hurts to know I didn't speak words out of pride. Out of anger.

I have a thousand regrets.

I dream of his house. I wander up and down his hallway. I trace my fingers over the pictures on his walls.

He's not there.

I leave, and the screen bangs behind me. The flat Nebraska sky fills with dust and scent as a truck rolls by. Far off I can hear the train as it barrels down the tracks toward his house. It calls, the sound lonely and dark.

I walk, but something makes me turn. And he is there, in the window. Cup of coffee, cigarette. He smiles and turns away.

And then I wake up.

What am I resisting?

The idea that he is forever truly gone.

I loved him with a love that only little girls know for their daddies. He was my hero, and my forever champion. I longed for him. I can still feel the tightness of tears in my chest, the lump in my throat. I can feel the hurt. I can feel the loneliness.

But I can feel the love. How he held me as I cried over lost love, over broken promises and a broken life. How he would walk out of the Vegas sun, the pavement shimmering under his feet. How I would sit and watch him fall asleep each night, drink in hand.

He was, for so long, my hope. He was my daddy. He was my savior.

And long after time and circumstance led me to realize he should have been more and done more,  I still loved him.

And I still do.

And always will.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Robert Duckworth

When I was 4 my dad took me to Disneyland.

We got on A Small World. I watched as the dolls twirled and turned, sang and danced.

It was too much for me, for my small eyes. I turned my head into my father, smelling his scent- smoke and cologne and sweat. I fell asleep, waking only as he carried me off, my small head cradled by his hand.

As I took my own children on A Small World this week, I watched their faces. Wonder and happiness shone from them bright as the sun. I pulled them to me, kissing their foreheads, smelling their scent.

As I knew my own father lay dying hundreds of miles away.

I spoke to him twice over the phone. I told him what I wanted him to know- that I loved him beyond reasoning, that I would always miss him. That it was okay for him to let go and I would see him again.

The words came easily, slipping from my lips into his ears, into his heart.

And at 3 AM on July 4th, after my brother had gone home to rest, my daddy slipped away.

The man I have loved since I had no memory is gone.

To say our relationship was easy would be a lie. It was a back and forth ocean of expectations, of disappointment, of hurt.

But to say I didn't know I was loved is a lie as well.

I always knew I was loved by my father. Always.

My memories of the man who could never bear to see me cry are endless. His words were always few, but he never hesitated to tell me he loved me.

I remember him in bits and pieces. In sun soaked memories of Vegas heat, of Nebraska greeness.

I remember a cold winter morning. I had moved back to Nebraska just a few months before. I was heartbroken, sad, and lonely. I woke up and got ready for my job. I cried as I brushed my hair, as I sipped coffee. I was broken by life.

I gathered my things, buttoned my jacket, and prepared to do battle with the snow and ice on my car.

Only to find it running, my windhshield cleared, the inside warm.

My father waved from his window in his house next door. He smiled and turned away.

This is how I will remember him.

He never was able to fix everything in my life. He never was all I wanted him to be. But he was what he could be. He gave in his own way, even if it wasn't what I needed. And he loved me.

And I loved him. And he was my daddy.

Tomorrow we will celebrate him. A man who was deeply flawed, but also deeply good.

A man who struggled with drinking, but a man who was also sober and kind for long periods of time.

A man who gave what he could to his children. Who never spoke a judgemental word to us.

A man who took his grandchildren, all of them, camping. Who taught them to fish, loaded them up with sugar, and sent them home.

His face was weathered by the sun and by time, his gray hair full and always neatly cut and combed.

Always with a cup of coffee in one hand, a cigarette in the other.

Tomorrow we will celebrate an imperfect man, made whole and perfect as he crossed into Heaven to be with God.

I can't say my tears won't be tinged with bitterness. I won't lie and say I have no regrets.

But I also know to my core that if he were here in front of me he woulnd't hesitate to tell me to stop crying and forget all of that.

I loved him, and he is gone. My heart is broken for what was, and for what wasn't.

One day I will see him again.

Godspeed, Daddy.