Cracks in the Foundation


When the pandemic started, I observed that our society was unceremoniously being shown the cracks in our foundation. Specific areas had become incredibly dysfunctional and were obviously in desperate need of dramatic, multi-layered healing.

The nationwide explosion of heartbreak and anger over the last couple weeks has highlighted in a new way the severe cracks that have been there for an unimaginably long time. The awful ramifications of this instability, this fissure, remain with us.

Racism is not in the past, no, not at all.

I knew this intellectually, and yet I still didn’t get it. I didn’t get how insidious it continues to be on a daily basis for people of color, nor how compounded the injustices become from generation to generation. The extent to which the harm of racism flows through our inherited attitudes, our finite-mindset institutions, our hidden assumptions, our careless words, our unintentional silence.

#antiracism #stoptheviolence #seattlestreetscenes

Our silence. My silence. I never had any intention of talking about racism publicly, because it felt political, and not my issue.

That’s done and over with.

Black lives matter, without exception.

My area of influence is not politics and never will be. But I am an artist, and I have a heart for supporting artists. So as a start, I intend to begin to intentionally highlight and encourage black artists and their work, known and unknown, past and present. For their lives matter and their voices also matter.

How are you going to help heal the cracks in the foundation?

Breathing With Both Lungs

meditations, photography, poetry, prayers

Lungs. A place of life and death and vulnerability…

Breathing With Both Lungs

I once heard it said
Our lungs are where we hold our grief.
When I inhale sharply, to remember
Why does it hurt to breathe?

Lament happened so long ago
Or has it been only a moment or so.

How fully has my memory constricted.
Can I locate the dull ache I long to forget.

Who’s counting? My breathing,
Your breathing, Our breathing. Exhale.

Is the level measured by exhales
Do our inhales even work anymore?

Can we fill our lungs with Presence
Or is it far too late for that now
Now that absence is all we know
Will it always hurt to breathe?

If I practice, will I remember how it was breathing with both lungs?

A few reflections:

This minuscule invader, the virus we are all shellshocked by, attacks the lungs severely.

The two people closest to me who I have lost, months and years ago, both succumbed in part to pneumonia.

My own lungs are the weakest part of me, bronchitis dozens of times as a child, often out of breath more easily than I’d like.

And this day of Good Friday, the crucifixion… this torture meant they die of asphyxiation. A horror many are living now.

Here we are, together in this great collective gasp. Anxiety is stealing our joy breath. Sadness saps our life breath. God whose breath once went out, You suffer with us and for us, and we suffer with each other. Teach us how to breathe again.

~ Janelle


meditations, photography, poetry, prayer

Throughout shadowed corners of churches crisscrossing Europe sit tiers and tires and trees of glowing candles. Icons of the voice of our longings, singing of our hope to recover what we’ve lost, to connect with beloved ones gone yet alive in our hearts.

Remembrance ~ Belgium, 1997

This image from my B&W film days calls to me every November, the month that has long been dedicated to remembrance of those separated from us for a time in this earthly life. The shorter days and the long shadows here in the North envelop me, bring me back around to the memory of my gentle father, each of my vibrant grandparents, my dear aunts and uncles – even ancestors, those who I have met only through the pages of history and yet feel connected to me.

Losing a parent, I would say, is the most surreal thing one can go through. Nothing can prepare you, and it remains forever a journey through uncharted wilderness.

I wrote this poem years ago for my boyfriend at the time, who had just lost his elderly father. For all those missing a parent, this is for you…

lament the separation
yet even more give thanks 
for his life, and for the gifts... 

life, love, faith.  

grieve with all your might, 
and may Mercy bring comfort to your heart.