Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016: A Fond Farewell

The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and to be stretched large by them. How much sorrow can I hold? That’s how much gratitude I can give. If I carry only grief, I’ll bend toward cynicism and despair. If I have only gratitude, I’ll become saccharine and won’t develop much compassion for other people’s suffering. Grief keeps the heart fluid and soft, which helps make compassion possible.
Francis Weller, "The Geography of Sorrow"

Clackamas River, Oregon

Happy New Year from the The Rice Place up here in the Pacific Northwest. We are spending some quality time recovering, writing and reflecting over the past 2+ years in Detroit and beyond. In the midst of this season of transition, we are discovering so much grief and gratitude overflowing from within. Here are Ten Deep Things we've experienced this year:

1. Celebrating the Cycle of Life: the birth of our nephew Mason Thomas Orr and godson Cedar Martin Wylie-Fahey (photos: Mason's big brother Riley watching over him in Orange County; Cedar's big brother Isaac protects with the hug on Larkins)

2. Telling "the other side" of Detroit's Comeback story: in workshops, on tours, over meals with friends and family (photo: Lindsay takes the junior highers from U of D Jesuit in Detroit on a tour of the 3rd floor of the Peace and Justice Hive at St. Peter's; we join good friends at St. Peter's during a Joe Reilly benefit concert)

3. Bearing witness to water shut-offs, organizing 25-40 gallon deliveries and advocating for policy change (photo: delivering 1000 gallons to the St. Peter's water station)

4. Staffing Bartimaeus Institutes in Oak View, CA and Saskatoon, SK (photo: with ReconciliAsian's Sue Park-Hur; the Institute after-party in Saskatoon--read Tom's review here)

5. Traveling the continent--from Quebec to Atlanta, Whidbey Island, WA to Minneapolis, MN (photo: five miles from Coulee Dam, WA, the birthplace of Tom's dad)

6. Hosting Marriage Strong retreats and officiating weddings together (photo: the wedding of Eliisa Bojanic and Peter Croce on Belle Isle in Detroit)

7. Cultivating friendships and mentorships, old and new (photo: Lindsay and Solveig Nilsen-Goodin on a Sunday hike in Portland with the Wilderness Way Community; with Detroit Jyarland Daniels of Harriet Speaks)

8. Our bodies and emotions breaking down! Two surgeries for Tom, traumatic mouse sightings for Lindsay, bike accidents, sprained ankles, chronic back pain, and wrestling the demons of fatigue and despair in the wake of personal and communal loss.
(photo: our friend Cait's car on Cecil Avenue in Detoit--a metaphor for some of the agony experienced this year)

9. (semi)Weekly sabbath treks to Ypsilanti on Thursdays to sit by the Huron River and celebrate life with Happy Hour (photo: Mustard!)

10. Getting the opportunity to write about our adventures:

From the conclusion of Lindsay's RadicalDiscipleship.Net post on the "Persistent Widow" of Luke 18:2-5:

Another way is possible. It is the way of hope-inspired, self-loving, gritty resistance—offering us a liberating detour from the tired road of resigned, hardened and complicit cynicism trod by the Judge and his good ole’ boys club. It is up to us (as it always has been) whether we will count the costs and consider ourselves, along with every other living being, worthy enough to throw in with those making a beautiful, more just way out of no way.

From Tom's article "Thirsty in Detroit: Water Shutoffs and Baptismal Witness" in The Christian Century Magazine:

The real Detroit is, and always has been, its neighborhoods, the familial and communal incubators of those who, two generations ago, put America on wheels and manufactured the arsenal of democracy. What ultimately happens to their children and grandchildren will measure whether Detroit is making a comeback or not.

The complexity of this social analysis beckons Christian disciples back to the simple, sacred waters of baptism. At the font, followers of Jesus hear the messianic commission of Psalm 2, “You are my beloved child,” alongside Isaiah’s prophetic blessing of the suffering servant, “with you I am well-pleased.” Like Jesus, we are challenged with the conviction that royal personhood is bestowed upon all humanity and commissioned to give our lives to self-donating service.

See you SOON in 2017!!!!


  1. Thanks for sharing the journey T+L. Your commitment to justice and love is (and has always been) inspiring and encouraging. Much love to you both.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thank you, Mike! We love you so much, and are grateful to have shared so much of this journey with you…thank you for coming alongside us in so many meaningful ways. You have blessed us tremendously along the way. Here's to a continued shared journey of more justice and love... and everything else in-between!

  4. BlueHost is definitely one of the best web-hosting provider with plans for any hosting needs.