Month: January 2004

Why I Write –2

Good morning, everyone. It’s somewhere south of thirty below zero, not to get above -25 today. A hard time, quite beyond quaint and romantic.

I woke up on this cold morning to the following message:

Good morning Kent Nerburn,

I pastor a small church in the suburbs of Milwaukee.

One of my members, Doris, died on Tuesday and her funeral is tomorrow afternoon.

On her bedside table, her daughter found your book “Small Graces” that she had been reading. She had marked the next reading as the final chapter, the closing of the day. The last chapter she had read was the death of your friend and the distant shore. It was eerie.

We are reading parts of “the closing of the day” in her funeral service tomorrow.
I am preaching from John’s gospel story of the wedding at Cana. It was the reading on the last Sunday she was in church.

At the funeral service I am going to allow water to be water and shift the miracle on changed hearts, so filled with laughter and love that ordinary water tasted sweeter than any wine anywhere.

Doris’ magic was in her ordinariness. The ordinariness of water and air.

Her death is a huge blow to our church family where she has been a member for 38 years.

Thank you for keeping her company and journeying with her these past few months of her life with “Small Graces”.



My day has suddenly gotten a lot warmer.

A touching note

I just received this in an email. I pass it along because one does not often hear messages of such pure heart. It was written by someone who has the wisdom of 83 years on this earth. We would all do well to listen.

> Dear Bertha,
> I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting in the yard and admiring
> the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more
> time with my family and friends and less time working. Whenever possible,
> life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. I’m
> trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.
> I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every
> special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the
> first Amaryllis blossom.
> I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I
> can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries..
> I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for
> clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank.
> “Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary;
> if it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it
> now.
> I’m not sure what others would’ve done had they known they wouldn’t be
> here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted.
> I think they would have called family members and a few close friends.
> They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences
> for past squabbles.
> I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for
> whatever their favorite food was.
> I’m guessing; I’ll never know.
> It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my
> hours were limited. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I
> intended to write one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my
> husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them. I’m trying
> very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add
> laughter and luster to our lives.
> And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special.
> Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.
> If you received this, it is because someone cares for you.
> If you’re too busy to take the few minutes that it takes right now to
> forward this, would it be the first time you didn’t do the little thing
> that would make a difference in your relationships? I can tell you it
> certainly won’t be the last.
> Take a few minutes to send this to a few people you care about, just to
> let them know that you’re thinking of them.
> “People say true friends must always hold hands, but true friends don’t
> need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there.”
> I don’t believe in miracles. I rely on them.
> Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as
> well dance.