Today is an empty altar: what offering do you bring?

Because It is no small thing that you and I got ourselves out of bed this morning.

It is the height of summer, and a dry spell to boot. 

The wild ginger that fills my shade bed is prostrate. 

I’m wilted with the heat, a little woozy, not up for standing on a ladder to maneuver two floppy 2×4 fluorescent light panels back in place, where they have to be nestled precisely on all four lips of the opening.


I’m guessing that, like me, you are already scheduling meetings and medical check-ups and family and professional gatherings well into 2019 and beyond. 


Joan’s sister is recovering from a life-threatening medical event.

Sharon is scheduled for her fifth stent. That hasn’t prevented her from stepping for the first time in her life into a hub of activism in her community.

Pundits across the political spectrum pedal their tired wares.

Four men drive up in a 4-door Infiniti, and shoot 10-year old Makiyah Wilson in the chest as she is headed towards an ice-cream truck.

Tim, who never sang before in public, takes to the stage during Talent Night and belts out The National Anthem. Some stand. Some take the knee. Some holler out at the end, “Play Ball!”

Evelyn’s daughter is treating her to a couple of days’  of midweek quiet at a monastery.

A childcare resource staffer ends up taking a call from an active suicide.

Irene spends countless hours engraving and fusing glass as gifts for our healing community.


For just a few days I am taking a vacation from making plans.

Because along with the happenings just described among the countless stream of events, there is this: a web of helping hands.  

“I’ve got meals covered for today.” For a single woman nearing the end of life.

“Can I give you a hand with that?”  (Moving easels and tables at 1:00 am.)

“We need help repairing this hurt – I’ll go knock on ——-‘ s door.”

“I’m heading for: Haiti, the Texas border, the local ICE office, the corner of Northern Parkway and Roland Avenue to talk with that prophet who hangs out there.”

“Just checking in to see how you’re doing – we haven’t talked in a while.”

“No, you can’t use that language in my company.”

“Yes, I am ready to listen.”


Instead of planning, I’m stepping back and looking around.

Where are my hands needed? 

My words?

My physical support?

My open heart?

My firm boundary?

My gut wisdom?

My opinion-of-the-moment?


What mistaken beliefs, partial understandings, outright delusions prevent me from seeing  who and what needs help?


Support. Succor. Benefit. Being done good to. Cure. Aid. Assistance.

All stemming from the Old English helpan.


As full as life is, every day is an empty altar, waiting for the offerings of my hands.

Your hands. A web of hands that circle the globe.

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