Poems from Holiness in High Heels Conference

Laurie was invited to be the speaker at the North Alabama Women's Clergy Conference this weekend. The theme was Holiness in High Heels, which might be the best clergy conference title...ever!

Being around such an inspired and amazing group of clergy women always gives me renewed faith in the Church and its mission of sharing the message of love and vulnerability. So thank you!

Several of you asked for the poems I used during my presentations. Here they are:

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-Rumi (trans by Coleman Barks)

Trust the slow work of God
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown,
Yet something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability - and that may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually - let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as through you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you.
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ.

Be Alive
Sooner or later we find her.
In dreams, she appears, that child,
That one who ran wild, free of the rules,
The expectations.
The “But you’re supposed to be perfect!”

When all is swept away, we find her.
Under the garbage of our lives,
Starving from all the accolades and successes we’ve heaped upon her to feed her,
Smothering under the labels and names,
In a basement under the basement.

Somebody tried to kill her. 
She might even blame you.
Frightened, she ran downstairs.

God finds her there. 
Calls to her.

“Come, just be.”


One hour a day, let her play,
let her sing, let her dance,
let her be with her dreams.
Let her run wild.
Let her draw.
Let her be.
She will grow strong.

She will live. She will be alive.

Based on a poem by Marion Woodman


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