Julie’s Story


My younger daughter this week celebrated a birthday—her first since losing her mother to breast cancer in December. Julie wrote this brief remembrance in her honor. I was struck by the idea that, yes, each of us reaches a point in our lives when no one remains to remember the day we were born—what the weather was like, what time we arrived, what Mom was doing when the birth pangs began. So I set aside my own blog post that I had prepared for today so you can recall the story of your own children’s birth and consider leaving them the gift of remembrance that my wife, Jo Anne, bequeathed to our daughter, Julie.

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Succubus on My Chest


I have forgiven and try to forget, but my mind betrays me with imagined scenarios of the iniquity that went on behind my back. And when my harrowing dreams wake me in the night, I wake to the thought of the betrayal—riding my chest like a succubus.

This is the dispiriting aspect of forgiveness—to forgive is a decision of the will, to forget is beyond our control. The pain of remembering revisits again and again, like an untreated abscess. 

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Going It Alone


My house rests silent at dusk. Dresses crowd one another in her closet, the scent of perfume still lingering on them months after her departure. In the kitchen, a cold stove. These all gang up against me as afternoons end. It’s called loneliness.

We all fear loneliness, whether caused by the rupture of a relationship, a divorce, a death. Still others admit to loneliness even while sharing a household.

But there is a way out of this unhappiness, I’m finding. By journeying inward.

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The Hardest Love


I’ve been devastatingly hurt by someone I trusted completely.

Who hasn’t?

This is why, with St. Valentine’s Day coming up tomorrow, I’m writing about a different manifestation of love that we don’t talk about very much because it’s the hardest love—forgiveness. 

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How I Learned To Mourn


In the several weeks since my wife passed away, so many well-intentioned friends have consoled me with, “If you ever want to talk . . .”

I would thank them, but in my heart I would mutter, “What’s to talk about? She’s dead.”

And I myself would die a little bit.

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What You Can Learn at the Movies


If a movie is a stinker but it helps you live better is it still a stinker?

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Fear Is a Color


Back in January of 2014, Pope Francis was speaking to the throng gathered in the piazza below his window. He appealed for peace in Ukraine, where recent demonstrations against government corruption had resulted in the death of  protesters.

He chose to close his message in a picturesque way—by having two doves released from the window. But the gesture was memorable in a way Francis never anticipated. 

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What We Learn from Turtles


Cape Cod stretches thirty miles out into the North Atlantic, where I live. Sea turtles love our Bay about as much as I do. Each spring, they work their way north from the Caribbean for summertime feeding.

But the outstretched arm of Cape Cod acts as a giant seine that catches them in a death embrace. 

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Slack Tide


Life is a blur of information, obligations and commitments. So what else is new? But at midnight on New Year’s—as at no other moment of the year—both hands of the clock pause and join to point heavenward in the classic pose of prayer.

In oceanography, Slack Tide is the imperceptible, discreet moment when the tide pauses—and turns. Midnight is the Slack Tide of our day, New Year’s the Slack Tide of the year. And each of us has one particular day that is the Slack Tide of our life.

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Exits and Entrances


At year’s end it’s customary to look back to review while looking forward to renew. It’s a time of transition, when a new portal opens to us to either pass through to a new beginning—or cling to a past that cannot return.

This is why ancient Romans built their cardinal temple to Janus with one door facing the rising sun and the other its setting.

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