Rev. Catharine Is Currently
On Medical Leave

Celebration Time

Celebration Time

Dear ones –

I write to you under the azure sky of a sunny autumn afternoon. These days are beautiful in the Pacific Northwest, when the rains have begun but aren’t yet constant. The dogwood in the courtyard is turning the most lovely and unexpected russety red. We have put new lilies into the ground, lilies named after our comrade Judy Welles’s mother, in fact. The bulbs are going in. The annuals coming out. More deadheading, a third round of roses blooming, “God’s in His Heaven, and all’s right with the world.”

At least, that’s how it feels to me, with the sun streaming in at its autumnal slant, shining on the plants above my workspace where they are overseen by a statue of Aphrodite as a mermaid braiding her hair.

This is what I see every day. I am so blessed.

And I realize how happy this vision makes me. How I have written to you, over and over again about how beautiful the lilac has been, how astonishing the roses—rose after rose after rose after the one crimson rose just in front of the kitchen sink window—the clematis, the lavender… How we bought too many annuals in the spring and ended up with them everydamnwhere.

I was reminded today that plants, especially flowers, make me happy.

They just make me happy.

Like the aforementioned Rev. Judy Welles, I love to have flowers on my dining room table, on the side tables, in my workspace.

Flowers say celebration to me. When I was a little girl, one of the things I imagined about my wedding—you know, as some young children do—is that there would be lots of flowers.

So when the time came, I went to the florist. I went to a florist recommended by friends, a place in downtown DC owned by two aging gay men who had run the place for thirty years and more. Well. The gentleman with whom I spoke was appalled that I was wearing a BLACK underdress. Never mind that the corset I was wearing over it was fuchsia dupioni silk shot with gold; black was unacceptable. So there was that. And THEN there was the vast expense. Holy guacamole, friends! Flowers from a florist in downtown DC.

Let’s just say, my pocketbook doesn’t recommend it.

So plan B.

Plan B was that we would give friends some money to go to the Eastern Market the day of our wedding (we were being married at 8:30 that evening), and buy as many flowers of as many different kinds as they could with the money we gave them. I’m certain they contributed to the cause, because they came back with a car STUFFED with flowers. I mean, it was stuffed. They had five-gallon buckets of flowers!

And flowers of all kinds. It was high summer and there were just all kinds of cut flowers growing. Roses, of course, but hydrangea, the late-bulb lilies, statice and other amaranths…just everything of every color. Forget, “My colors, Mama, are Blush and Bashful.” Our colors became every color imaginable.

And we had pitchers and candleholders and tall glasses, and oh yes, vases too. And where there weren’t lanterns or twinkly lights or torches… where there were window sills or tables… where there were the heads of our oh-so-indulgent attendants (one for each of the Four Directions)…in all these places there were flowers.

I had gotten my little girl’s dream. Flowers. Flowers. Flowers everywhere, and a gorgeous display on our altar. All put together by our comrade from The Way of the River, Ingrid Parsons. All of it. Poor thing; by the end of the day, all she wanted was a gin and tonic and never to see another flower again!

But I got my dream. My racous-color-loving wife was happy, and I was over the moon.

That was a special night. One of the most special of my entire life, for certain. (I know people say that all the time, but it’s true!)

And I’m telling you this story in such detail because I want you to think.

What makes you happy?

What makes you happy? 

Is it blueberries for breakfast, as it is for our comrade Kerry Pitt?

Is it paint chips of every imaginable color? (Yep, that’s Julie again. ? )

Is it the taste of real whipped cream with not too much sugar, but whipped, thick, fluffy, and delicious? I won’t call it decadent or bad or sinful, no, because all that implies that anything about this delectable stuff is bad or wrong or associated with the fall of the Roman Empire. Does it make you happy?

What makes you happy? 

And yes, I’m talking about a special happy.

But for you, is it the kind when you’ve accomplished something that’s been put off for a long time, and you get to stand back and say, yep, that wall is orange and it has art on it: I did it.

Is it when you put that altar to rights? You set up the tools and the images, the statues and the offerings. You made it look the way you’ve so desperately wanted it to look since you moved there.

Is it that little candle that smells like home in the wintertime?

Is it someone rubbing your feet, your back, your hands with aromatic oil?

What makes you happy? 

I’m asking, because I’m encouraging you to do something for yourself that makes you happy. Not out of “self-care.” Not because you need something to soothe the violence of the status quo out of you. Not because justice will be accomplished if you get your nails done. Not because a feeling of abundance will bring abundance to all the world…

Not because any of this will be undone.

But because every one of us deserves a bit of celebration just for being here. Just for making it through.

We are resilient. We have made it through 100% of the days that have come our way so far. And one day, we won’t, but today, we have. And for that, I am grateful. I am grateful for you.

And gratitude is the thing. Celebration that emerges out of gratitude is just beautiful. So what have you to be grateful for today? How can you celebrate that thing, those people, that accomplishment, that beauty you’ve created?

For my part, I’m getting some flowers. (And maybe a new fountain pen. ? ) Some really pretty ones, with a rose and some statice tucked in there. Yeah, baby. Bring on the flowers! Bring on the gratitude! Bring on the celebration!

So much love—


PS – I still have room in my spiritual deepening group that will meet on the second Tuesday of each month at 8 pm Eastern. Interested in learning more? Email me at and we’ll set up a time to talk!

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