Sunday, May 13, 2018

this is my mom

This is my mom. She lives in a rural community in Wisconsin. I called her today to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. She worked last night taking care of others who, for various reasons, are unable to take care of themselves. Her workplace looks like a house but it’s really a special care facility. She’ll work tonight, too. Her shift starts at 8 and ends tomorrow morning.

She’s a trained hairdresser, so she does the hair of the residents when it’s needed. Among other responsibilities, she helps them get in and out of bed, cleans the house, and makes sure they are comfortable. In many ways, she mothers them—even though some of them may be older than her. I loved hearing about one resident they had some time ago who tended to be cranky or unresponsive to just about everyone, except Mom. I think it’s because this woman saw in my mom someone who can be tough and loving at the same time. One thing I admire about my mom is the way she can say something firm to you without hurting your feelings.

A couple years ago, another resident at the house also took a particular liking to my mom. This woman had trouble speaking, but Mom understood her. One of the favorite things she liked to do was just hold my mom’s hand.

My mom is a woman of simple belief. She’ll tell you she thinks you need God without any hesitation, without apology, just matter-of-fact. She might throw in a verse from the Bible because she trusts it. My mom is one of those you might hear say, “The Bible says it; I believe it; that settles it.” I owe my belief today to my mom because when I was in middle school she took us to church three times a week: on Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night.

My mom isn’t perfect. She spent a number of years running from God. I think what I love most about her is her authenticity. What you see is what you get. She’s always happy to talk, she likes to cook, bake, garden and sew. She likes to get gifts and she loves to play games. She has a big laugh. Rarely have I heard her just faintly chuckle; she’s all in when she finds something funny.

When I called today she was over at her brother’s house. He’s married and they were expecting other family members to join them for dinner tonight. I called her cell phone and, when she answered it, she was outside picking rhubarb. She’s going to make rhubarb sauce and rhubarb pie with it later. When she told me that, I could almost taste it and my mouth began to water.

I wish I could sit down with her at dinner this week and just enjoy a piece of pie with her and play a game. I miss her and I love her.

I owe a lot to her. She shows me what perseverance looks like. She shows me how to find joy even when life throws you some hard turns. She demonstrates loyalty to family, to friends. Her beliefs are not prone to waver. She’s known to get her fingers dirty, to work hard with her hands. She gives strong hugs and she has cried a lot.

This is my mom and she’s part of me.

I thank God for you, Mom. Keep holding on to Jesus' hand.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

my soul. joy!

Will you share in my joy?
This afternoon I have hope.
My eyes moisten with tears,
life is sprouting,
death is not the finality we think,
resurrection is no dream—
I see hope in friendship,
I see grace in long shadows,
I hear a child’s laughter just a few houses down,
there have been birthdays lately
for kids and kids-at-heart,
souls especially beloved,
dear to me.

I remember and am remembered.
I see Jesus—mimicker of the Father—
in mimickers of the Son,
by the power of the Spirit.
I see the eternal in the present.
I taste love, the salt of sweat,
the sweetness of drink,
the staple of Bread.

God has lightened my load
by his humility, a burden to me
but not to him.
He has taken the weight
of these worries
and, in exchange,
given promise.

I will remember.
Tomorrow is today.


my soul. joy!
by troy cady

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

the lampposts

the cars this morning
were stop-and-go
through several traffic
on Peter

slow enough
to notice
the littered parkways

the paint
at the base
of each
is peeling
and the metal
is rusting

and I wonder:
will the posts collapse
before the lights burn out?
who will stop the rotting
when so many gridlocked souls
depend on the light?


the lampposts
by troy cady

Monday, April 16, 2018

midnight thoughts

Sometimes when you share something from your true self:
1. Some will offer advice.
2. Some will judge you.
3. Some will think you’re a fool.
4. Few will…just listen and receive what you have to say, where you’re at right now, how you feel, what you’re thinking. Few will “trust…the slow work of God”—the work God is already doing and will do, if we will just let God do God’s work and resist the urge to play God…and resist the urge to rush what God wants to do.

Each respondent will mean well; however, how many will really help one be well, I wonder? Few: those who listen and receive.

Anytime someone shares with you something from their real self, they are sharing with you a precious gift. It is sacred, what they have brought forth from their secret storehouse, the deepest treasure. It is accustomed to hiding in the shadows. When it comes into the light, it is timid and easily frightened. It will be prone to go back into hiding, if we are not careful and gentle with it. It is best met with silence, or, at the very least, gentle words.

What is this I see before me? How is it that what God sees as beautiful, the self sees as foolishness and mere exposure? Who is it that feels foolish and exposed? Is it me? Could it be you, too? Who hasn’t felt humiliated?

Will we now offer advice to the naked? Will we now judge the humiliated? What will it take for us to just receive the gift of the stripped self and trust that God holds them close?


I am learning what perseverance looks like. It is the strength to carry on when you begin to doubt yourself. It is when a calling grips you and won’t let you go. You have no choice but to carry on. You have no choice but to trust God will provide everything needed for the journey, within and without, in time. Perseverance is a work of trust.

Perseverance requires the openness to improvise. Never does the journey of life take you the way you’ve pre-determined. Life deviates. What you originally imagined will evolve into something you never dreamed. If it is in God’s imagination it will be better than what you dreamed, though it may be hard to see it that way at first.

To befriend what God imagines, you must be patient and willing to take life one step at a time. You cannot hold onto what you have pre-determined. You must relinquish what you thought was “the good life” because your “good life” is different than God’s “best life.” God wants to give you his best life. You cannot have it now, however. The best life is precisely a one-step-at-a-time life. Why are you rushing what can’t be rushed? Why so eager to arrive? Enjoy the journey. Be patient with God; be patient with yourself.  

Do you have companions who believe in you on this journey? Listen to them. Draw strength from them. They are to you as the voice of God, because God is for you, never against you.

Pay no attention to the judgmental voices. They spring from a doubting heart. They will give you lots of advice, pretending they know better. They don’t know better. God knows you better and God is for you, never against you.

Do you have companions who see God’s work in you? Listen to them. Draw strength from them. Stay the course and be open to change, but don’t look back. Leave regret where it belongs—in the past, with what-if. The only voice that matters is the voice that goes with you and before you—God’s voice, that voice you hear through the companions who believe God is working in you and through you.



* The quote “trust in the slow work of God” is from a meditation by Teilhard de Chardin

Thursday, April 12, 2018


when we finish
tearing each other apart
it will be easier
to tell what went wrong

open throats
keep no secrets

delicate fingertips
pinned like in
to a page
under glass

who knows
what we’ll find
when we finish
tearing each other apart


by troy cady

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

everyone suffers loss

Everyone suffers loss:
work and health,
relationships and security,

Loss often strips us of joy.
Sometimes loss makes us feel powerless.
It raises frustration.
Feelings of futility may surface
and seem to control.
Anger and sorrow commingle.
Something’s amiss.

Everyone suffers loss.
Most people you meet
are just trying to find their way in life
as best they know how.
Every day is a day to show mercy.
Every day is a day to offer grace.
Every day is a day to listen well.
Every day is a day to remember
there’s more than meets the eye going on.
Every day is a day to be the friend that’s gained
when someone is suffering loss.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

if i am to fail

If I am to fail,
let me fail making a fool of myself
for goodness’ sake.
Let me fail
to project a successful image.
Let me fail
at trying to win approval.
If trust is foolish
make me dense.

I didn’t plan to be here in this place—
how foolish that would have been!—
who wants to be where I am?

Humiliate me more, Lord.
World, take away my last garment.
See me naked, suspended,
going nowhere.
Stab me in the side.
Lay me in the grave.
I’ll just wait to see what happens,
like a fool.


if I am to fail
by troy cady