"Grace is surprising by definition. We do not earn it, we cannot control it, we will not tame it."
"Sacraments have their own rhythms that beckon us back. Take and eat. Repent and forgive. Bless and heal."
"And yet I do not believe this road ends anywhere else but the alter of unexpected suffering. We lose control of our lives once a baby is placed in our arms, and we do not let go of love even when the pain is too great for us to bear."
"They sorrowed with me: it wasn't supposed to be like this. They turned over my palms and smoothed a blessing into the creases of worry. They lifted up my head from the ground of grief and spoke grace into my red-rimmed eyes. Their words were oil and their hands were holy."
"When I remember that this calling is about sacrifice, then I unclench my frustration and soften into open palms. When I remember that this sacrament teaches us to bend low in love and rise up together, then I turn back toward the spouse I've promised to honor. When I remember that this marriage was never just about us, that we were never sent off alone to make this life a reality, then I welcome back the God who was here all along and ask for the help we need to love each other well."
"Yet without fail, the maddening days are also the ones when a tiny gem of a moment - a baby who smiles for the first time in the middle of bedtime bedlam, a toddler who blesses my door-slammed finger with a sloppy kiss, or a boy who throws his arms around his brother's neck in an unprompted hug - peels back the scales from my eyes. I catch my breath in wonder at how good this parenting work can be, how full of astonishing beauty and joy. My own cliches scramble to capture the truth already fleeting before my eyes -
that God is here, that this is holy, that all is grace."