“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.

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4 Responses to Welcome

  1. Tamika says:

    I am extremely excited about your new blog, Sarah! Your words are always spot-on, your thoughts, tangibly present. I look forward to enjoying your thoughts delivered to me in a convenient little package via WordPress.

    Love, light, and happiness,

  2. Carolyn Meeks says:

    Beautiful and poetic–thanks, Sarah!

  3. Janice says:

    I kept seeing your blog come up on FB but was never in a place where I could stop to read what you had written. All in God’s timing, right?
    Darkness seems to fall upon the holiday season, at least it has in years past, ever since my Dad passed away 15 years ago and then my Mother, 4 years ago. God’s light seems to prevail and bring joy, year after year and brightens even the darkest of moments.
    This past weekend I had the honor of working with our youth deliver “sack lunches”, home baked cookies, blankets, cards, sodas and holiday cheer to the homeless…something that brings such light to my heart. We began the drop offs under the Pierce Elevated and continued to the parking lot across from “Loaves and Fishes”. ( I have been touched by a homeless person, one that came and prayed with me at my car under the Pierce Elevated prior to my Mother passing. Indeed she was an angel.) So after completing our “Sweet Jesus Season’ downtown Houston we were to feast on our sack lunches… and where did we end up but the Cathedral. So in the darkness of the holiday season, in God’s timing, He brings me out of the darkness once again, as I was reminded of the angel he brought to me under the Pierce Elevated and then when Fr. Ed gave our Youth Group a tour of the Cathedral. My Father’s funeral was there 15 years ago. Before the tour began and even before Fr. Ed came to suggest the tour, I was remembering and imagining my Father’s funeral, the procession as, we the family, followed the casket into the Cathedral and turning to walk out and seeing the sea of family and friends… in their eyes I could see His love and light.
    I had wanted with all my heart to have made those “sack lunches” with my family and deliver them on Thanksgiving to LOTS but that wasn’t the plan for the “sack lunches”, now was it? In God’s timing, the “sack lunches” were made with the youth (part of our community of faith/FAMILY) and delivered in a manner which shed God’s light on two very significant times of my life… being touched by an (homeless) angel and seeing God’s light in the eyes of family and friends.
    When I allow God’s timing to guide me, all is well, as I am brought out of darkness and into HIS Light.
    Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays. Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth!

  4. Beverly says:

    I’m sure I still have this same Firestone album somewhere in my closet…although putting my hands on it will be the challenge. Even those early histories that we didn’t share seem rooted in the same soil. I’m more proud of you than if you were my own sister for embarking on this journey. Like Elizabeth with Mary, I will rejoice in all that is growing inside you.

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