Over the last couple of years, I’ve become a big fan of Glennon Doyle, the author and activist. A writer for years, she became one of Oprah’s acolytes with her captivating books on relationships. She recently released Untamed about the demise of her marriage and the re-creation of her family with her subsequent marriage to Abby Wambach, the now retired Soccer star.
Doyle has an approachable, often humorous, writing style, and I adore the word play and etymological devices she uses to get her point across. Early on, she said, “Life is Brutiful,” combining the words “Brutal” and “Beautiful.” Life is hard, because it is hard, she says—not because we are doing it wrong. A consistent theme of her work is “We can do Hard Things.” Surviving a pandemic and economic collapse—these are hard things.
I’m a consistent user of Facebook (I’m old), and I was reminded how brutiful life is when I scanned my “memory” timeline today. Look at the wonderful and awful things that have happened on this date, in my life and the life of my communities.
Today April 18 is one of my oldest friend’s birthday, Sara Block (aka Sara Beth McKinney). She was born on Easter, I believe, which I’ve found to be a lucky charm.
Two years ago on this date, America was mourning the death of the much loved First Lady Barbara Bush. Despite your political affiliation, everyone I know adored “Bar.” She had an authenticity that is hard to match. Seeing her family, and especially her husband George H.W. Bush, mourn her loss was extraordinarily moving. On April 18, 2018 I posted a video of students at Texas A&M (Aggies) holding a candlelight vigil on their campus in College Station, where GHWB’s Presidential library is located.
On April 18, 2017 I posted a set of beautifully exquisite flowers and flowering trees in Central Park, perhaps the most beloved spot in New York. As we have been sheltering in place this year, I have all but missed one of the most beautiful times of year in our great city. Also, on that date, I posted a video from Chickasaw.tv, heralding pioneers—in the arts and sciences, politics, business, and the military—from the Chickasaw nation. My sister’s husband and her children are Chickasaw, and I couldn’t be more proud to have some loose association with their nation.
On April 18, 2016 I posted a photo of a cherished Ohio State t-shirt gifted to me by my favorite Buckeye, Joseph Hambor, my Dean and mentor from my inter-faith seminary program in New York, One Spirit Learning Alliance. Joseph is a man filled with wisdom, kindness, compassion, and bravery. I miss seeing him regularly. Also on this date, I paused to remember the anniversary of the horrific Oklahoma City bombing, the great domestic terrorist attack killing 168 innocent men, women and children. The bombing occurred on April 19, 1995 and mourned by all Oklahomans and President Clinton, highlighting the “Oklahoma Standard,” the decency and integrity of our people. And finally on that date in 2016, I thanked my dear, forever friend Janet Rockhold Price for sending me a copy of “Streams in the Desert,” a book of devotional meditations.
On April 18, 2014 I posted a picture of one perhaps my favorite children’s book Ann Can Fly. I gifted the book, now long out of print, to my friend Paula Winicur, who is raising a strong, smart, kind daughter.
On April 18, 2009 I honored my Greek friends wishing them a Happy Easter. Tomorrow is Orthodox Easter–Christos Anesti!
As demonstrated by this date, alone, life certainly is beautiful and horrible and joy-filled and sad. It is Brutiful, and yet We can do Hard Things.
God be with us.