Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

     Many years ago, alone in my church office, I received a somewhat startling call.  “Is that the minister?” said a voice. “Yes” I replied. “I was sexually abused by your church when I was young” the voice said, “and I’m only realizing now how much it’s affected me, how angry I am. I’m going to go public and tell the newspaper and sue the church!” Although the story of abuse (ironically by a trusted lay leader rather a clergyperson) was not new to me, the phone call caught me by surprise. I assured the person that I cared very much about their experience and would be willing to meet with them to hear their story. Then I reached out to others I imagined had more experience than I did in this kind of situation; mentors, colleagues, lay leaders and lawyers familiar with sexual abuse litigation.  I received all kinds of advice and among it was: “Don’t meet alone with the person. Don’t say you’re sorry or admit that it happened. Tape future phone calls. Keep notes and make sure there’s a

Tom Sawyer's Funeral

As a little girl I remember reading the stories of Tom Sawyer and his adventures, but the one that stood out most in my mind to this day is the day Tom died and went to his own funeral!  I don't recall all the details, but I know that he and his friends were up to their usual mischief and were somehow assumed drowned. They arrived back home just in time to sneak into the church and hear their own eulogies delivered by a sorrowing congregation. They were amazed to be missed and so fondly remembered, three boys who only a day earlier were considered the naughtiest in town. Of course, as soon as they were discovered, they were re-granted the title!  The chapter ends "Tom got more cuffs and kisses that day - according to Aunt Polly's varying moods - than he had earned before in a year; and he hardly knew which expressed the most gratefulness to God and affection for himself."   I had my own kind of Tom Sawyer experience when I was in my earliest days of theological school

About My Tiny Little Mind

So, we finally come to the real reason for gathering some of my lifework into a website and a blog.  It’s the first of what I’m calling my “Legacy Projects.” I think we all come to a point in our lives where we think as much about what we will leave behind as we do about what is ahead. It’s not really defined by a particular age, but more by the idea of “generativity” or “planting a tree under which you know you will not sit.”  It’s about wanting to give something to the world beyond yourself and your own life. Part of it for me is knowing that because of when they came into my life, my children may go through some of their biggest transitions, challenges and losses when I’m no longer here to help them. It’s my promise to share what I’ve learned along the way with them and their children. The name of this blog comes from something my mother told me long ago. As a highly extroverted child, she said “You used to drive me crazy when you were little, following me around from room to room,