Thursday, June 09, 2011

Juxtaposition: Embrace

The above photographs were taken of Francois Kiemde and me during the past week. The first was shot on June 1, 2011, at Bethel College, at Francois' swearing-in-as-a-US-Citizen ceremony. Our friend, Alisa Blackwood Nelson was on hand to help document the day. The second was shot on Sunday, June 5, 2011, outside the Church of St. Philip in north Minneapolis. A reporter from the Star Tribune captured this moment just seconds after Fr. Dale Korogi officially declared my church of the past twelve years closed.

These images give me pause. They strike me as similar in subject matter, given that each features an embrace. In the former, I'm embracing Mr. Kiemde, in the latter, he's comforting me as our daughter reaches out to touch my arm. Both capture emotionally charged moments; one of joy, the other of incredible sorrow. Together, they feel like commentary to me on marriage. The way we support, envelop, wrap our arms around another and communicate presence, love.

I keep thinking of Sr. Mary Margaret's words to me so long ago in spiritual direction: When I fall in love, it will be an experience that challenges me to receive and be held in a new way. She talked about my future partner being someone who would nurture and support me in a manner that I had never known. Looking at this second picture: I see her words come true.

These images communicate the mutuality and gift of our marriage, our tenderness to one another. I'm grateful for the juxtaposition.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Tune into Tonight: CBS Evening News features Mary Johnson and O'shea Israel

This evening on CBS Evening News, our friends Mary Johnson and O'shea Israel will be featured in a story about their tale as mother, son; mother and murderer; mother and forgiven man. I've written a bit at the Visitation Sisters' blog site about how this woman and man have so touched my heart and moved me deeply in expanding my faith and knowledge of the way grace and reconciliation occur. I invite you to tune in this evening and glimpse a bit of the tale of their lives and what has given shape to the way they work in this radical healing ministry of forgiveness and healing. Mary's outreach to the mothers and fathers of the young men and women who commit murder is what marks this ministry as truly unique, a gift to all who suffer in this realm of violence, death. Theirs is truly an inspiring tale to take in!

For more on Mary Johnson, O'shea Israel and "From Death to Life" healing ministries:
Peace, Blessings!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Abundant Blessings: Home and more!

It's been sort of a red-letter month. (Or should I say a red-letter year?) My husband and I closed on our house, celebrated our baby girl's first birthday, Francois Kiemde was sworn in as a US Citizen, and just last night, we threw our first party, of what, I can imagine might be many.


My heart swells considering all that has occurred in our brief marriage and life together, all that has had to happen for us to be right here in this place. In a new dwelling. With beautiful girls that round out our family and expand the love we give and receive. Me, blogging for nuns in north Minneapolis, married to a baker from Burkina Faso, West Africa, and living in an old house in the Lex Ham neighborhood raising a family. If I ever, in my wildest imaginations could have fathomed that at 42 years of age, in June of 2011, that my life would look like this, I would have laughed heartily and said, "No way!"

But here we are.

And God is good.

Last night's soire is something that marks for me the flurry of life since my 40th birthday. (After selling my home of 15 years, going to Africa for 6 weeks, volunteering at my parish and finishing a book for teachers, returning to the public classrooms I left as a researcher, then meeting my husband, getting married 8 months later, and having a baby girl. It's been a whirlwind). Last night's party was truly a sort of ushering in, and anchoring of this new phase of life: marriage and motherhood, with a definite tribute to the abundance of love and support my husband and I have known in creating a home together.

Nuns were here. New neighbors came. Old arts education colleagues emerged. Our parenting friends and mentors joined us with their tikes. Fellow African and French allies honored us with their presence. Longtime loves convened with food, drink and stories. We were surrounded by a groundswell of good spirited people moving throughout our home: singing, drinking, dining on grilled yummies, being agents of love and blessings.

In short: it rocked.

Twenty four hours later, I need to just mark the fullness of it all, in this simple way, composing a post of gratitude. I extend this note to all who were able to join Francois, Marguerite and I in person at 1196 Selby, and say "thank you" to those who have been prayerfully blessing us from afar. We know and feel your love and support.

I'm really not sure any of these good things in our life would be happening without such a community of friends and people around us.

So: Thank you!

On behalf of Francois, Marguerite, and myself:

(Stay tuned for more pix!)