Monday, March 20, 2023

Spirit Strength

To hope is to gamble. It's to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk." - Rebecca Solnit

It has been a bit of a scary, exhausting and confusing season for us in Detroit. 
On the one hand, as we enter our second year putting down roots in this beloved city, we have been finding deep joy and grounding in more meaningful place-based work and opportunities to throw in with folks struggling for justice in our own neighborhood and beyond, as well as delighting in the slow weaving of new and old networks of support and kinship. This first quarter of 2023 has been a time of catching our breaths after the holidays and end-of-the-year grind, and returning to regular rhythms of Sabbath rest, rigorous AlAnon program and meetings, and restorative practices which have been composting deep wells of grief, lament, and pain into unexpected gifts of delight, promise, and new life.  

On the other hand, Lindsay has concurrently been suffering from an extreme blend of insomnia, brain fog and fatigue over the past couple of months, and has become increasingly debilitated over the past month. She is finally getting some clarity and comfort from diagnostic tests, including comprehensive blood panels, in addition to a brain scan coming soon. It could be Long Covid, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and/or other possibilities. Her B12 and iron are also low from 14 years of a pretty strict vegetarian diet. Lindsay is extremely grateful for the avenues of healing, treatment, and diagnosis she now has in place - both western medicine diagnostics (which she wouldn't have access to without our expanded statewide health care) + alternative healing practitioners, who are serving up more tools and medicine for addressing and treating root causes, rather than leaving her only to manage symptoms and live with such a dramatic decrease in functioning. 

Friday, January 6, 2023

Grassroots Gratitude

We touch this strength, our power, who we are in the world, when we are most fully in touch with one another and with the world. - Carter Heyward

On Christmas Eve, it was four degrees in Detroit. Our next door neighbor, Henry, was out grilling steaks in his backyard. He was wearing jeans, a leather jacket, work gloves and a Dodgers baseball hat. We opted to stay inside and enjoy the oven-roasted vegan sausages we bought earlier in the week at the Meijer on 8-Mile. You should have seen the line for the automated checkout. It was at least fifty deep at 11am. 98% of the customers were Black. This year, we’ve been to grocery stores in Mission Viejo (CA), San Clemente (CA), Laguna Beach (CA), Bend (OR), Lawrence (KS), Sacramento (CA), Lodi (CA), Vail (CO), Ypsilanti (MI), Gross Pointe (MI), Troy (MI) and Battle Creek (MI). We haven’t seen anything that remotely resembles the line at the Meijer on 8-Mile. 

A couple weeks ago, the Detroit board of water commissioners held their monthly zoom call. The women of We the People of Detroit rang the bell, recruiting people of conscience to make a public comment. The city-wide moratorium on water shut-offs was (and still is) set to expire at the end of 2022. This year, the water department instituted a “lifeline plan” to help long-time, low-income residents pay their water bills. That’s good news, but too many folks are still falling through the cracks and we are still stuck in a pandemic. The prospect of turning off anyone’s tap is a crisis of ethical proportions - and a public health fiasco too. 

Monday, October 31, 2022

Hope at a Crash Scene

The world is held together, really it is, held together, 
by the love and the passion 
of a very few people. - James Baldwin

Last Friday night, we walked to Fisheye - our neighborhood farm - to buy greens. When we got back to our place, there was a huge car crash at the intersection of Grand River and Rosa Parks, right around the corner from us. A silver Dodge Charger with a blue racing stripe raged around the corner and floored it down our street. It had a huge dent on the side and there was pot smoke coming out of the inside of the car. It was a hit-and-run. Another car came around the corner too. They were following him. 
We ran out to the car in the middle of the street, at the intersection of Grand River and Rosa Parks. The air bags had already deflated and the driver said his back was hurting. He seemed far more concerned about his car. A few young Black men pulled up to the intersection right next to us. They asked what happened. We told them a silver Dodge Charger did this damage and fled the scene. They asked which way. We pointed and they peeled off to hunt them down. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Turning the Toxic into the Tonic

"What's sad is that people claim that poor Black communities need policing the most - to protect them. But this is not quite true. Capitalists need policing the most - to protect their property, billions, businesses and borders by arresting the people whom they've exploited, excluded and extracted from the most." - Derecka Purnell, Becoming Abolitionists (2021) 

We woke up on the last Friday in June to find the red robin's nest removed from where it was resting underneath the roof of our back deck. When we went to bed the night before, three baby birdies were chirping. Now it was silent. It was a sign. The predator showed up just a few hours before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. 

We joined a mass of mad people marching in downtown Detroit later that day. The stories and statistics have been spilling out on social media ever since. About the 10-year old girl who was raped in Ohio but had to drive to Indiana to get treated. About how husbands and boyfriends use pregnancy to control the physical and social lives of women. About how Black women are three times more likely than white women to die during childbirth. 

Sunday, May 15, 2022


"...working to capacity is a luxury only the unintentional can afford, and the unintentional are those who do not wish to guide their own destinies." - Audre Lorde 

It’s been another long pandemic winter. Here in Detroit, the temperature finally rose above sixty for five consecutive days. The Maple tree just outside the kitchen window is shimmering green leaves! We wake up every morning to the songs of red-winged blackbirds and robbins. The butterflies and dragonflies are dancing. The dandelions yellow the landscape all over the city. We’ve been taking late afternoon walks through Woodbridge, where we moved into a little condo four months ago. 

This racially diverse neighborhood is a collection of century-old Victorian homes a dozen or so blocks from the campus of Wayne State University. This little 2-bed, 2-bath condo is our first ever home purchase, a privilege of inter-generational wealth. We are grateful for the frugality of our fathers and the willingness of Tom's mother to be a co-signer! We are loving that Spring is offering us more chances to tread softly in this neighborhood as guests - and learn what it means to throw in with this city once again. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

The Sound of the Genuine

If you cannot hear the sound of the genuine in you, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.—Howard Thurman

A couple months ago, we were circled up around the fire with some friends in Detroit. A couple teachers, a couple therapists, a couple writers, an engineer. We were sharing our struggles with what one of us called “depression.” Heads nodded. We were folks who feel like we are actively engaged with what is happening in the world, tracking the latest wreckage wrought by covid and counterfeit notions of race, class and gender. We listened and resonated. We were a group of “successful” middle-class people whose souls were getting sunk by the sense that society is collapsing as our lives feel powerless and less fulfilling than we expected them to be by the time we got to our 30’s and 40’s.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Little Things

“The nation as it is currently constituted has never dealt with a yesterday or tomorrow where we were radically honest, generous, and tender with each other.”—Kiese Laymon

Over the past couple of months, our ministry of migration got slowed to a halt. The delta variant laid Tom up after catching it on a flight from Central Oregon to Orange County in mid-August. It was a rough five days, followed by a few weeks of fatigue. Tom was fully vaccinated in mid-May. In the last month of summer, these breakthrough cases seemed to sprout up everywhere. To add insult to injury, a few days into September, Lindsay was stung by a bee and her leg was swelled up for more than a week. She kept it elevated, Benedryled and on a rigorous icing schedule. 

Spirit Strength

To hope is to gamble. It's to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than g...