Week of August 18

Dear Friends:

 This is the time in the summer when one can’t help but have the sense of an ending.  In ways subtle and not-so-subtle, autumn seems to be waiting in the wings for its cue to enter. The subtle: the shifting angle of sun giving several fewer minutes of light each day; the leaves have taken on that deeper, duller green rather than the more exuberant chartreuse of early summer; and the cicadas and crickets have set up their constant chorus throughout the day. The not-so-subtle: the ubiquitous advertisements for back-to-school supplies; the mum displays making their required annual appearance outside garden stores; and, most appalling, a Halloween candy display in the aisle of a local grocery trying to get an early plug in for their candy corn.  

Noooooo! Don’t go, Summer! 

Still, we know well that “for everything there is a season, and a time for every a purpose under heaven…” 

So even us we live into these last, golden days of summer with its feeling of expansiveness, let us be praying for our younger children as they prepare to start school again, and for our older children as they begin to leave for college, graduate schools, new jobs, and other new beginnings.  Let us be praying for all those embarking on new beginnings.

But summer isn’t over yet! We need to taste and savor the particular sweetness that comes when an ending is in sight. I think this final stanza of Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s poem, Summer Haibun captures well the paradox of both savoring and saving:


“There are not enough jam jars to can this summer sky at night. I want to spread those little meteors on a hunk of still-warm bread this winter. Any trace left on the knife will make a kitchen sink like that evening air

the cool night before
star showers: so sticky so
warm so full of light”.








"Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you."

― Oscar Wilde

"Look to this day, for it is life,
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the verities and realities
Of our existence:
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of beauty
For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow only a vision,
But today well lived
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day."

Sanskrit proverb

Week of August 11

Where is your querencia?  

Do you know this word? It comes from the Spanish verb “querer” which means to desire or to want deeply. A metaphysical concept, querencia was first used in bullfighting, to describe the particular spot in the ring the bull would stake out where it felt strongest and safest during the fight.  It has since come to be understood as the place where one’s strength is drawn from; the place where one feels most at home and most authentically oneself.  In English, we might describe this as our “happy place,” but I don’t think that phrase does justice to the concept the way “querencia” does.

Where is your querencia? Where do you feel most authentic and safe, from where do you draw your strength?

Perhaps your querenciais not one particular place at all, but a person, or a series of places, or an act of doing. My husband said his querenciais on the soccer field—any soccer field in the world—playing his heart out. A friend of mine said it is when he sits down to play his guitar, wherever that is. Another said for her it is the happy work of toiling in her gardens.

I just returned from several weeks at our cottage on the shores of Lake Michigan, a place I have gone nearly every summer since I was born. It is where I connect with friends, have a chance to pause and draw breath, and check in with myself. In many way, this summer community in northern Michigan is as much a “querencia” for me as any earthly place can be— but even there I always feel a restless longing and vulnerability.  

Maybe that’s because, ultimately, no earthly place, no matter how safe or beloved, can totally remove us from the world, and all the challenges life brings. Maybe, in the end, our only true “querencia” is God, who is, paradoxically, both everywhere and place-less, totally intimate and utterly transcendent.  

We need our earthly “querencias”—thank goodness for them!--  but what a joy to know that in God we have an immovable Querencia from whom we can always draw our strength and breath, where we are always home and with whom we can always be authentically ourselves. 

Yours on the Journey,



“On the surface, we are all different. We ascribe to a variety of belief systems, attain our identity from various stories, get our customs from diverse cultures, and so on. And, rightly or wrongly, we generally define ourselves by these differences—there is no denying that. However, when we look beneath the surface, we discover an equally valuable truth – our shared humanity and the universal elements of the human experience."

--Gudjon Bergmann