“In the deep mid-winter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone…” These words from Christina Rossetti’s poem were written in 1872. They have been sung as a Christmas carol by James Taylor and others. They are perhaps an odd choice of words for this beginning, for this welcome–yet we are even now moving toward mid-winter, moving toward the shortest day of the year.
Now is the season when darkness falls earlier and earlier each day; now I feel sleepy earlier in the evening. I dream of hot chocolate, fuzzy socks, soft blankets, and I dream of dreaming. I want to curl up in a cave and hibernate like a bear. Yet, even now, new life is waiting deep in the dark, even now something new is stirring…deep in the mid-winter. The season of Advent has begun, and we wait all together in the dark–waiting for light, waiting for peace, waiting for joy.
My hope is that Apparent Grace might be a place of sustaining nurture for those who care for others–for clergy and their families, for those who work in health care, for teachers, for family members who care for other family members, for others who find their way here. As we serve others, the grace we offer can seem distant to us. And, yet this same grace is within us, visible or invisible. It may be apparent to us only within our souls, but apparent it is–in this life and in the life to come.
Apparent Grace will also offer spiritual direction for individuals and groups, retreats, and workshops for caregivers. I am hoping to be of service to those who serve. I am a spiritual director trained in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and a psychiatrist drawn to the interface between health and spirituality. I am married to an Episcopal priest and we have one daughter. Along with my family and my sisters and their families, I had the honor of being a caregiver for both of my parents in their final years. All of these journeys have led me into facing a Grace so bright I could barely see.
For now, know that I welcome you and invite you to settle into the darkness and join me in waiting for the light–the Holy One who will be born again this season, in our world and in our lives. May we know Apparent Grace and may we rejoice in the wholeness and holiness that is around us and within us.