• word

    ash wednesday: word

    by  • February 10, 2016 • 7 Comments

    One morning as I sat with my mother in hospice I received a text from Sarah, who pastors alongside of Ginger here in Guilford, asking a question: “What is your word or song for today?” That first day I answered only with a song: “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” The next day the words...

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    the last time

    by  • February 6, 2016 • 10 Comments

    the last time you showed up, I didn’t know what to expect. you kicked in the door, filled the room with a dead chill . . . surprise attack: a stroke, a call, a funeral; and then miles of ache and absence, but not this time. she made choices; we made choices. we had...

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    my eulogy for my mother

    by  • January 24, 2016 • 18 Comments

    Version 4

    Here are the words I spoke at my mother’s funeral: When my father died, I adapted a poem I had written for him a few years earlier, which allowed me to tell his story, express my feelings, and get through the whole thing without breaking down here at the podium. To my disadvantage today,...

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    my mother’s obituary

    by  • January 21, 2016 • 16 Comments


    I have been in Texas for almost three weeks. My mother entered hospice care on January 2 and died on January 15. Here is her obituary. Barbara Schultz Cunningham of Waco, Texas died on January 15, 2016 of kidney failure. She was eighty-four. She is survived by her two sons: Milton Brasher-Cunningham (and his...

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    marking time

    by  • December 27, 2015 • 9 Comments


    December 27th. The day after the day after. For me, it carries some significance, however. On this day ten years ago I wrote my first blog post here at Don’t Eat Alone. I was four years into coming to terms with my depression, which was still kicking my butt at that point. I was...

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    advent journal: a christmas story, again

    by  • December 24, 2015 • 3 Comments


    I had visions of a post and even the beginnings of a poem for tonight, but the days were not accomplished to see either born this night. I will, therefore lean into an unintentional tradition on this blog of posting my Christmas story, which I appear to have done for the last few years....

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    advent journal: the things we carry

    by  • December 23, 2015 • 4 Comments


    Today was my first day riding the train since I finished The Illusion of Separateness. As I was packing my book bag, I looked around for new literary accompaniment and saw my copy of The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, which I started rereading before we left Durham (I read it two or...

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    advent journal: kindling

    by  • December 22, 2015 • 2 Comments


    I wonder what the shepherds did the year after the angels came, or how the Magi went about their business when they got back home. I wonder if the innkeeper woke in the middle of the night and sat in the barn for no reason. How did they keep the story fresh— Did they...

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    advent journal: the right punctuation

    by  • December 21, 2015 • 9 Comments


    When I consider that the early Christians could have chosen any night to mark the one in which Jesus came into the world, I wonder why they didn’t pick this night—the longest night—to show, as John said, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it. Then again, marking the birth...

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    advent journal: links in a chain

    by  • December 20, 2015 • 2 Comments


    Two Sundays ago, one of the men in our church stopped me after worship and asked if I wanted to be on the Christmas Tree Committee. Before I committed, I asked what it involved and he said, “Meet here next Saturday morning to go cut down the tree and put it up in the...

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    advent journal: we . . .

    by  • December 19, 2015 • 3 Comments


    He did what they told him to do. He would have done anything they told him to do. He hid inside the pronoun we. (The Illusion of Separateness 189) Life is a team sport. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve uttered that sentence I’d have enough to take us all to...

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    advent journal: redolence

    by  • December 18, 2015 • 1 Comment


    redolence we drove south of the city, and straight into a sunset that had no sense of time we were going nowhere together, following our noses, as the saying goes, breathing in the evening reading in a bakery,I discovered “the fragrance of our lives in the world” . . . from someone else’s words...

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