Crazed hatred stalks the chambers of governments; fuels killings in war zones, in classrooms and back alleys, within wombs; shreds trust in all segments of society; demoralizes familes. In desperate straits, we cry out:

Our Father who art in heaven—We seek the center-point of your silence within our shadowy depths.

Hallowed be your name— Arms outstretched, we prostrate ourselves before your inexplicable holiness. We wait.

Thy Kingdom come—We yearn for color-flushes that alone eradicate the global gutting of psyches.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven—We surrender anew to this empowerment; its multifaceted bliss stirs us.

Give us this day our daily bread—We yearn for spiritual sustenance, one day at a time, which alone fortifies our tentative steps across rocky terrains.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us—We own our violence to ourselves and to others and beg forgiveness; such energize us to forgive others and repair rifts in the social fabric. Our part does matter.

And lead us not into temptation—We beg for discipline to listen for true guidance emanating from within and without.

Deliver us from evil—We pray for discernment to avoid the allure of evil in its multiple disguises.

For Thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, both now and forevermore—We rejoice within this freshness and thrive, despite the cloying darkness that still surrounds us. We have the protection.

Amen—And so it is.



The trappings of Valentine’s Day are upon us: candy hearts stamped with love notes, arrangements of scarlet roses and Babies Breath, chocolate-covered strawberries, intimate candle-light suppers, passionate verse, engagements, and so much more.

Within the buzz of this intoxication, however, few remember the third-century priest, martyr, and saint, Valentine, whose feast day Catholics celebrate on February 14. His work with Christians so vexed the Roman Emperor Claudius II that he sentenced him to death. Before his execution, however, he passed a note, signed “From your Valentine,” to the blind girl he had healed while in prison.

But are there more to such heart-quickenings than the observance of Valentine’s Day with its profane and sacred rituals?

What about those moments of blinding beauty enmeshed within riotous colors of a sunset hugging the wintry horizon? Within a newborn’s discovery of her mother’s nipple and latching onto it? Within piercing lyrics found in “A Simple Song,” from Bernstein’s Mass (1972)?

Like a natural sea sponge with a dense cell structure, the serene heart absorbs such subtle energies that enlarge its world; it sees afresh and thrives. From such heart-quickenings, we sense the Presence in our depths who loves us into our next breath. We can’t help but be grateful.


Such is the perspective of Leah Friedman, octogenarian author of this slim book of essays that is available on Amazon; its sepia photo of a framed drying bulb, one taken by her, portends to the richness found on each page.

Through the lens of seasoned wisdom, she counters the strictures of ageism with anecdotes from her kaleidoscopic life as an academic, wife, mother, widow, grand- and great-grandmother, photographer, author, lecturer, friend. Beneath them, stirs a vibrant and inquisitive spirit, because of which her aging readers readily identify with her. In unvarnished words she lays out the terrain of her sixties, seventies, and eighties, each with their tasks and challenges, not without losses and unexpected surprises. Referencing poets, psychologists, and theologians nuances her impressions within a larger frame.

An adept with life-long change, she can now say, “On one level I am awaiting my demise, while at a deeper level I am continually in the process of discovering who I really am.”


Available on Amazon

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