Some thoughts after releasing a book

Some thoughts after releasing a book

It is almost two months since my new book Beauty in the Ashes: Learning to Lament was released. I have tried to start this blog post a number of times since then, but the emotions have been so large, and the words have been so elusive that it would not settle into anything cohesive.

Like Mary I have had to treasure up all these things and ponder them in my heart, until I was able to put words to them. So here is a random collection of thoughts after my book launch.

On release

Release is an interesting word, and so appropriate for this journey of taking words, giving them form, and letting them go into the world. Up until launch date I had control. I chose the words. I placed them carefully. I worked through the edits and design process, with others yes, but ultimately the final decision was mine.

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Beauty in the Ashes

Beauty in the Ashes

I have spent this weekend with an amazing group of women on a writing retreat. We all arrived at the tiny monastery town with our journals and our laptops, our fears and our expectations. We spent the weekend writing, chatting, and walking around the beautiful peace-filled grounds of New Norcia. And then on the last night we sat around in a circle and shared our writing. A beautiful gathering of women with stories in their hands, offering their fragile hearts and words to one another.

It was beautiful and it was profound.

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In the midst

In the midst

The trees are dark
and closing in

You don’t know how
you found yourself
but you did

You are tired
you stumble
and overcome
by exhaustion
slump to the ground

The reality of life
is overwhelming
there is no clear
path ahead
just this place
in these woods
in the gloom

May you know
that it is okay
to find yourself
on the forest floor

May you not reject
your emotions
the pain
the anger
the sorrow
but pull them over you
like a soft blanket

May you know how
very strong
you are
just by getting up
each day

And when you
look up
may you see
a soft light
the shadow

Easter Monday: Grace for the Doubter

Easter Monday: Grace for the Doubter

“When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”

Matthew 28: 17 (NIV)

There is a habit of behaving that comes from a time of pain and sorrow. There is a pattern of fear, a constant belief that things will collapse.

When we have been through a trial and something has gone wrong, there is often a lingering sense of distrust. We are always on the look out for the next bad thing.

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Easter Sunday: Grace for the Fearful

Easter Sunday: Grace for the Fearful

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.

Matt 28: 8-10 (NIV)

The women in this passage were both, “afraid yet filled with joy”. This passage demonstrates how it is possible to have a turn around in your circumstances and still be fearful that it isn’t real.

This phrase perfectly describes the sense of unbelief that you receive when things turn out unexpectedly for good. Even though the women have been greeted by Jesus. Even though they recognised him and touched him, clasping his feet. Yet, they are still fearful. So much so that he felt the need to reassure them and says to them, “Don’t be afraid”.

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Easter Saturday: Grace for the Entombed

Easter Saturday: Grace for the Entombed

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered, “Go make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Matt 27:65-66 (NIV)

This is the day after the death. Jesus has been placed in the tomb, and Pilate and the Pharisees were afraid that there would be a deception carried out by Jesus’ disciples. So they made sure that the tomb was as secure as possible. There is a stone, and a seal, and a guard. Pilate ensured that this tomb was not penetrable.

Maybe you have experienced a death. It may have been a physical death, or it may have been death of a dream, or a hope, or a desire.

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