Mar 292010

Lou asked for a Guest Post from Tisha, and what Lou wants, Lou gets. I found this letter recently while I was scrounging through Craig’s dresser, looking for money.

December, 2009

Dear Craig,

It’s 4:00 in the morning and Bubba is sound asleep. I have been awake for a while, just lying in bed. As I laid there, I began thinking of our family and all that we have gone through with Glennon’s diagnosis during the past ten days. Feelings of gratitude and appreciation filled my heart. I realized I wanted to come to the computer and write to you.

As you know very well, our little G-bird is a passionate person who uses all her energy to accomplish what she feels she must do. I know it takes a lot of energy to live with someone who lives passionately. I am so grateful that she is married to a man who supports and encourages her to follow her passions. She wanted so much to be Tishy’s preschool teacher and experience the magical world of preschool aged children. You helped her make that happen and it wasn’t easy. You converted your downstairs to a school which took away badly needed space. You supported her in financing the supplies and furniture necessary to create her “dream classroom.” You assumed care of the children when she needed to prepare lessons. G got her chance to live out this dream and you helped her make it happen.

You continue to support and encourage her with Momastery. I admire the journey you are taking as parents and as young adults trying to find the best road to travel. The fact that you are partners in this journey provides much of the substance of Momastery. Most importantly, though, it is your confidence that she does have special talents and your faith that she should be doing what she is doing that motivates her to spread her wings and fly. G has her chance to write and you helped make it happen.

For the support and encouragement of her spirit and for the faith you have in Glennon, I am truly grateful. Yet I am even more grateful for something else you do for her. Last Monday morning when Glennon was so very ill, you called me to ask how much further I had to go to get to your home. You sounded in charge and in control. When I hung up, I realized that despite the calm in your voice, you and I were both frightened but trying to remain composed. Of course I prayed for God to cleanse G’s body of anything that could hurt her, and I prayed for me to arrive safely and quickly to your home to take care of the children, but I also said a prayer of thanks that you were the one who was with her. You always do what is best for Glennon. I feel so grateful to have a son-in-law in whom I can always put my faith and trust. You always make decisions which will support her and protect her.

When your child becomes an adult, you no longer have the power to do what needs to be done to see that she is safe and protected. But to know that there is someone there taking over for you, who makes decisions carefully, thoughtfully, and unselfishly, because he loves her with his whole heart…that gives a parent peace. Thank you so much for my peace.

In one of Glennon’s blog entries about her recovery she wrote, “Craig is the only person who could have saved me.” I thank God for bringing you to her. And I thank you for loving her the way you do. I am Forever Grateful. Merry Christmas!

Love, Tisha

I love my mama. Deep breaths today, Monkees. Love, G

Apr 212010

With the obvious exceptions of everything that Chimmy and Diane write, this is my favorite poem.

Saint Francis and the Sow

By Galway Kinnell

The bud

stands for all things,

even for those things that don’t flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on the brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;

as Saint Francis

put his hand on the creased forehead

of the sow, and told her in words and in touch

blessings of the earth on the sow, and the sow

began remembering all down her thick length,

from the earthen snout all the way

through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine

down through the great broken heart

to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking

and blowing beneath them:

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

Excerpts from Roger Housden’s review of Saint Francis and the Sow

“If you have the genuine feeling that everyone, yourself as well as your lover, your child, your parents, even your enemies-everyone in your life- is already flowering from within, then the person you are with may feel that too and begin to remember for themselves their own truth and beauty. You cannot “re-teach a thing its loveliness” if your motive is to change another person. This would suggest that how they are is not good enough, and you can do something about it. It is not in your power to enlighten another, make them better, or even bless them. All you can do is remind them, by your presence, of the flowering that they already are. Love is an environment more than a set of principles. An environment that, simply by existing, draws out another into his or her own fullness….However good your principles and intentions may be, they won’t reach far unless it is love that places your hand upon their brow.”

“Like many of us, she (the sow) has a great broken heart. Broken, perhaps, by the weight of the curses heaped upon her since time began, by the lowliness that others have foisted upon her, by the feelings of ugliness and self loathing that cling to her like second skin. Some of us know how the sow feels. She comes, despite all of this, and through the blessing of St. Francis and the earth to remember

The long, perfect loveliness of sow.

She remembers, not just in the sense of memory recall, but “all down her thick length” – in all the cells of her body- that she is perfect exactly as she is, slops and all. Not that she is better than anyone else, or that she measures up to some external measure of perfection, but that her very existence is enough in itself to validate fully her being here.

This poem itself is a hand on our brow.”

Apr 272010


I read a poem the other night that I know is True.

When you were going through the divorce, I spent so many nights furious at God. I quit Him lots of times, Sister. While you were crying yourself to sleep and repeating,“Not my will, but Yours,” I was in bed fiercely whispering, “You can’t help us. You are not helping us. I’m done with you. How could you let this happen to someone so Golden?”

And it just never stopped with all the money, and the waiting, and the constant hurting. It was like suffocating. Every time I looked at your beautiful face and saw how strong and faithful you were trying to be, I was silently cursing. I decided lots of times: You’re not real. Obviously, you’re not real. I must be a damn idiot.

But I think I still believed He was real. Otherwise…who was I talking to?

I just wanted to hurt Him, because He was allowing you to hurt. I felt like He didn’t deserve your devotion. And I wanted Him to understand that while I loved Him, I didn’t love Him more than I love you. If asked to take sides, I wanted Him to know who I’d stand behind. Not that it mattered anymore. What good was my faith if it didn’t protect my Sister, for Christ’s sake?

Please, resist pointing out how ridiculous and wrong the preceding paragraphs are. God, Sister, and I, we understand. We forgive me.

Also, Sister, Him isn’t right. Is there a word that means Him and Her? God is a Him and a Her. I need a word for that.

So I read this poem last week, Sister. And I know it’s True. I’ve read it maybe thirty times more to make sure it’s True. It is. I keep crying about it, so I know it’s True.

Here it is, Sister. This poem is for you. It was all a gift, Sister.

Even now, your life in Africa. It’s a gift from Him to you, not from you to them. God loves us, Sister.

He knows, He always knew, how Golden you are.


KINDNESS  by Naomi Shihab Nye


Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride

thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.


Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,

you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho

lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,

how he too was someone

who journeyed through the night with plans

and the simple breath that kept him alive.


Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak it till your voice

catches the thread of sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.


Then it is only kindness that makes any sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd to say


It is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere

like a shadow or a friend.


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