Radical Hospitality

DeAnna Casey Photography
DeAnna Casey Photography

Some months ago, our assistant rector gave a beautiful sermon about radical hospitality. Although his sermon was more specifically concerned with the social upheaval of the summer and the church’s duty to extend radical hospitality to those who had been disenfranchised or marginalized, I took his message on a very personal level instead.

Maybe it was because the sermon coincided with the first anniversary of my father’s death and my heart was raw from the emotion of that service.

Maybe it was because I was struggling to make sense of a friend who no longer seemed to care about me. Read more...

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The Moment When Everything Is Possible

Sunday morning I put on my lucky orange pants for the last time this season.  I didn’t know it at the time of course, although I had an inkling. That is, after all, the nature of the post-season – survive and advance or lose and go home.

One year ago, I stood in a similar stadium, watching Virginia play the very same team, and there wasn’t a single part of me that believed it would be the last time.  Hope is a funny thing that way.

But one year ago, I didn’t know what I do know. That you cannot will something to be simply because you believe.  One year ago, I hadn’t yet listened to the voices of the paramedics performing CPR on my dad.  I hadn’t held my child and told him everything was going to be okay, even though I knew it wasn’t.  In my head I knew.  But my heart still believed in the improbable.  As my brain was busy calculating the ugly logistics of death, my heart was exhilarating in the moment that was surely ahead of us when the doctors would joyfully tell us of the medical miracle that they had performed. Read more...

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What Santa Brought Me For Christmas

I didn’t have a chance to write my letter to Santa this year.  All December long, I kept a running list in my head, and, just like the boys, added and subtracted things along the way.  I never took pen to paper, partially because there was always something else to do.  Decorating our tree, decorating mom’s tree, coordinating teacher presents, Christmas cards, fixing the strands of lights that had gone out, baking, assembling, guessing which Star Wars lego sets were really the ones the boys wanted. Read more...

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Being thankful…even when it’s hard

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Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday.  Don’t get me wrong – I love sitting around a table with my family and eating.  Those are, in fact, my two favorite things in the world.

I don’t have anything against Thanksgiving. I’ve just never been inspired by it.  Maybe it’s because we are lucky enough to routinely sit around the table and eat giant meals with our families.   Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving has none of the magic and majesty of other holidays. Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is entirely… contrived.  It isn’t about anything except being together.  Being thankful.  Which is, of course, exactly why some people love it.   I get it. Read more...

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For All the Saints

I have not been to church since my dad died.  It’s not because I am angry or because my faith has been shaken.  Or because I am worried that the sound of my heels clicking on the stone floor will trigger a memory of the last time I walked down that center aisle, holding my mother’s hand.

07 10 14_0001No, it is none of those things.  It is simply that my heart was not yet ready for the enormity of emotion that fills me every time I sit in those pews.  I still don’t know if I am ready.  But today is All Saints’ Day. Read more...

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So You Had a Bad Day…

Of all of life’s pleasures that are wasted on youth, the most overlooked is the luxury to indulge in a bad day.

Children can throw themselves on the floor wailing and moaning over a seemingly inconsequential disappointment.  Adolescents can walk around sullen and slam doors, just because they feel like it.  Brokenhearted college kids can curl up in the fetal position, play sad songs, put a straw in a bottle of wine, and sleep for 18 hours.  Because sometimes it feels good to just wallow.

But wallowing is an extravagance for the young.

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Make a Wish

I got home from the Virginia game late on Saturday night and this was waiting for me:


A container of personalized New York Football Giants M&Ms – a present from my college roommate who had to suffer through years of my football obsession while she was trying to get her molecular biology homework done.

As I was standing in the kitchen eating them (I hadn’t had dinner after all), the words jumped out at me.

Make a wish.

That is the essence of loving any sports team, isn’t it? Read more...

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Summer Crushes

07 16 14_0001Oh the summer crush.  There is nothing like it.   I don’t know whether it’s the potentially fleeting nature of the relationship that makes it so intense.    Perhaps a summer crush is special because it is accompanied by the exhilaration of seasonal freedom.  Unlike the other nine months of the year, reason and obligation take a backseat to the vagaries of the heart in the summer.  Maybe everything is amplified by warmer temperatures and the heady smells of suntan lotion, chlorine, and french fries from the snack bar.  Whatever the reason, in the summer you sit a little closer, gaze a little longer, giggle a little louder, and love a little harder. Read more...

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I’m Fine


“I’m fine.”  I don’t know how many times I have said that over the last 6 weeks since my father died.  My father died.  Those words still seem odd to say.  Odder still that they flow trippingly off my tongue as if I were simply recounting where we went for summer vacation.

It is a well-established fact that I am a regular crier.  I excel at crying.  Happy tears, sad tears, exhausted tears, frustrated tears, nostalgic tears.  They have all been a part of my weekly repertoire for 38 years.  Sappy commercial? Check.  Wistful memory of the boys when they were babies? You bet.  Random song on the radio? Yup.  Hard day?  Too tired?  Proud parental moment?  Bad blisters?  Yes, yes, yes, and yes.  You name it, I have cried because of it. Read more...

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