I will die? Wait, what?

Do you remember the first time you realized that you would die? It happened to me when I was in my 20’s. Why? I don’t know but it caused such a rush of adrenaline that I spent the next few minutes in panic mode.

Facing this ultimate, unchangeable fact is an emotional and spiritual challenge to say the least. For most of us, we experience it differently at various times in our life.

I haven’t had that overwhelming shock now for as long as I can remember. I have however been shaken by the death of others. The feelings that come then are as close to death for me as I can imagine.

In the winter of 2004-05, my very close friend, Dudley Weider, died suddenly while out cross country skiing. For weeks and weeks, I couldn’t seem to get away from pain of loss and the fact of my own mortality.

I was glad that I worked in a huge research and teaching medical complex because it enabled me to quickly and smoothly get an appointment with a counselor. I sat down with this insightful psychiatrist and told her I was afraid to die. And she asked “What specifically are you afraid of?”

I am not sure why it took what it took but it was such a relief to answer that I really wasn’t afraid of death itself but I hated the thought of how that would affect those I love most dearly.

A dreamless sleep without awareness is not so daunting for me now. The agony for my spouse and children, however, is the thing I would so like to avoid. That of course is just as impossible as living forever.

What can one do? One simple thing is talk to them, hoping they understand. I think of Ira Byock’s book, Four Things That Matter Most.  “Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you” which carry great power to heal and to mend relationships. They can also help one feel some resolution at the end of days when said to those closest to you.

From there, I guess we are on our own, in most ways but not right now. So, maybe the best bet is to stop thinking about it for now.

The morphing of a blog

Words from Warren started out as thoughts on marriage. Then there was the election of a President who, with his marriages, flaunts disfunction as a virtue.

Besides, what do I know about marriage that you don’t already know from your own experience? Most importantly, only you and your mate have that exact relationship.

The rest of us sometimes try to speak of  a couple’s marriage. Don’t we say they are “happily married”?  What does that even mean? The phrase is trite and so uninformative as to be useless. What then?

Don’t try to describe a marriage. Huh! Now there’s a thought.

Consider this: two people seem to be “happily married” but flinch because they know what they are dealing with on a daily basis. Not really UNhappy but still… Then, there are gossipers who may say something like “Their marriage is a little rocky.” Then couple gets wind of this and it can only stir up guilt or anger. That helps them? I don’t think so.

All of which is to say, in your marriage just be kind, try to listen, have patience, and don’t give up too soon. Forget what others think about your relationship. And don’t even think about their marriages, don’t compare.

And if nothing else, as far marriage goes do not, and I say again do not, let your relationship go the route our adolescent President’s.

We can do it…so let’s do it!

I have a coverless, water-stained copy of an Unitarian Universalist meditation from when I served as an interim minister in that denomination in the early eighties. It is  73 Voices Chris Raible and Ed Darling, Editors. (Check out the UUA Bookstore for a whole list.)

Today I share one of my very favorite pages.

Assurance   -John Corrado

Be gentle with yourself;

You’re okay.

Life has no erasers –        but  life is okay, too.

Don’t wait for forgiveness.

The only forgiveness you get

is that you take.

Don’t be afraid.

Have faith.

Say “yes” in spite of the temptation to say “no.”

Be a healer.

Address the world with wonder. Engage it with courage:

Daring love Daring trust Daring hope.

Open your soul as if

it were a window

Letting the sun shine in

and letting the light of yourself out.

You can  do  it.

We can  do  it.

So let’s do it!

Is there a dating site for Neo-Nazis? What percentage of white are you?

-Europeans -Normies -Red Pilling

What do you think of when you see these terms? If they are not familiar to you turn on your podcast app.

Friday, August 18th’s episode of the New York Times podcast The Daily is an eye opener (an ear alert?) An “investigative reporter” lurks in some white supremacy chat rooms. What he heard might be hard for us to believe. Hate, arrogance, calls for civil war, just to mention a few, are shocking.

Maybe they shouldn’t be so startling. It might be time for us to understand what is going on and accept that these people say that with this President they are free to do whatever they want. Take a look at RationalWiki to see this incredible glossary, the introduction of which reads:

“The alt-right uses a lexicon filled with memes, stolen left-wing terminology with altered meanings, and in-jokes. Whether this is because the alt-right is just a bunch of cringey 14-year-olds or because they hope to hide their racist intentions, the world may never know. (spoiler: it’s both)”

When we see young white men marching along at night with the tiki torches chanting hate and bigotry, it is frightening. But we can’t cower in fear. We can not be bystanders. Let’s arm ourselves, both with information and determination. We are not a white country and we do NOT want to have a white country.

Lying Hillary

Ever since that night in November as we watched the results of the 2016 Presidential election roll in, I have often almost cried that Hillary Rodham Clinton was not elected.

She said once:  “To every little girl who dreams big, I say: Yes, you can be anything you want–even President.” And then this country allowed misogyny and gutter politics to block her from the White House.

Will we soon, or ever, have a female President? I don’t know. I am a male who has worked hard on ridding myself of sexism but I think many of our institutions and political movements still have not.

The problem is that wonderful women like Hillary bog down and are rejected not because they are aren’t exceptional in their work but because they are not male.

The Democratic Party is faced with a kind of Hobson’s Choice. If it wants it’s candidate to be elected then he must be a man or…what? nothing? Which is what we got. Plus, not only nothing but a mean spirited, dangerous, cry baby. But he is a man, right. Goddamn.

In my not-so-humble opinion, the Democrats should nominate another woman and let out all stops to do whatever it takes to get her elected.

Wedding readings that tell your story

Wedding readings that tell your story  Author Cindy Dumont

poem image

To create a beautiful and powerful wedding ceremony, your wedding officiant will strive to weave together your past, present, and future as a couple. A collection of just the right words, placed in just the right order, tells the story of who you are, touching the hearts of everyone within earshot. Readings play an important role in that narrative.

Yes, you may already know you want to incorporate readings to help define this moment, but perhaps you don’t know where to begin. Readings and quotes can come from almost any source, but here are some classic sources to consider.

The Bible 

Many rely on their faith as a GPS for life. I officiated a wedding for a couple who ascribes to this philosophy. Here are a few readings they chose, setting the tone for their sacred ceremony.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs…”
  • Ecclesiastes 3: 1-14 “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up…” 
  • Song of Solomon 2: 10-13 “My beloved speaks and says to me: Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land…”

Song lyrics

As an officiant, when couples tell me their love stories, I often hear their words set to music, almost like a soundtrack to their lives, and I think of the perfect song. Here are a few recent situations and the songs I suggested.

  • Samantha and Ronny were separated during Ronny’s military tour in Afghanistan. In an effort to feel close to her after he’d been away a while, Ronny asked Sam to go outside and look at the stars. He promised to do the same. The lyrics I read were from the song Wishing on the Same Star by Diane Eve Warren. Incidentally, when Sam went outside, Ronny was standing there. He had finished his tour and come home to marry her.
  • Brittany and Dave met in the second grade and were each other’s best friend until life took them on different paths after college. After being apart for six years, each came home to the other, physically and emotionally, and married. The song lyrics I chose for them was You’re My Home by Billy Joel.
  • If you use song lyrics in your ceremony, consider using that same song as your first dance. You’ve introduced the lyrics to your guests in your ceremony, and then they get to hear it during your reception. How about I Choose You, written by Sarah Bareilles or A Thousand Years written by Christina Perry?


Think of all the great love stories portrayed in movies. Do any of them sound like yours? Here are a few epic examples to inspire you.

  • Replace the words in When Harry Met Sally with those that apply to you, “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts….”
  • In The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks writes, “I am who I am because of you. You are every reason, every hope, every dream I’ve ever had….Every day we have together is the greatest day of my life….”
  • Love Disney classics? Steal a scene from Pocahontas“If I never knew you, If I never felt this love, I would have no inkling of how precious life can be…”


It seems like I’m stating the obvious, but books are a great source of readings. Whether you’re looking for pretty prose or silly sonnets, books are where it’s at.

  • This is from The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach. “A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are…”
  • Children’s books provide a clear path to truths. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams is a bride favorite. “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real…”
  • The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle is one that my own husband chose for our wedding. “But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take…It is indeed a fearful gamble…”


Poets are the ultimate artists, using words as their medium to express the profound mysteries of love. Weaving poems into your ceremony will add a sense of romance like nothing else can.

  • The works of Maya Angelou are provocative. Here is one of her classics called Touched by an Angel. “We, unaccustomed to courage exiles from delight live coiled in shells of loneliness until love leaves its high holy temple and comes into our sight to liberate us into life…”
  • In a recent wedding I officiated, two people read this e.e. cummings poem in concert. The second person read the words in parenthesis. “i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)…”
  • Graham was a gardener. A tree in his future mother-in-law’s yard was dying. Together, Graham and his fiancé Erin, nurtured it back to life until it bore fruit. Erin chose the poem Together, by Jo Lynn Wood as her reading. “Two trees near to each other stood when they were young and life was new. Their limbs reach out and their branches entwine and thus together they grew…”

Another important reading resource is your officiant. Use these examples as a starting point when searching for the perfect words to describe your unique love story. If not these, it’s likely your JP has a notebook full of beautiful words for you to choose from.

Contact Cindy Dumont at her beautiful website

The time for resistance is upon us

If you think President Trump is a joke, you are right. He is also a dangerous ignoramus. We cannot let him have our country. We refuse to be a fascist dictatorship.

Does that sound like extreme hyperbole? It isn’t. The danger of this President is as serious as that.

Suppose you were a patriotic German in the 1930’s. You said things like “Give him a chance.” or “We need to work together.” or “He is just a fluke.” or “At least we didn’t elect that lying Hillary.” (Well, not that last one but you get the idea.)

Then before your very eyes, people were being forced to wear a Star of David on their clothes. Pink triangles began to appear. The Brown Shirts marched.

And the  “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei” – the National Socialist German Worker’s Party began to invade other countries hell bent to execute the idea of Lebensraum in order to expand over all of Europe.

Today makes me think of the time that Hitler came to power and if you don’t accept  the possibility that with this President fascism can take our democracy over then START BELIEVING!


I Am the Woman With the Hemorrhage: Identifying With Biblical Healing Stories

Michelle L. Torigian

medcOn June 29, 2017, I stood on the lawn of the US Capitol and spoke for approximately 15 minutes as part of a 24-hour interfaith vigil for healthcare.  Below are my remarks.


I am the New Testament woman with the hemorrhage.

Over 13 years ago, I was diagnosed with endometriosis, a health issue of migrating tissue, imbalances of hormones, and pain.  While I dealt with pain for years prior to my diagnosis in 2003, much of the time I’ve dealt with the issue the best I can since sometimes it’s just an hour or two of rough pain with mild to moderate pain on and off during the other hours of the day.

But occasionally, the health issue will flare up like it did earlier this year.  I’ll try various methods to try to control it.  Physicians will say to me: Let’s try this pill.  How…

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A “Repeat Day” Prayer

So very insightful and poignant

Michelle L. Torigian

fractal-1128622_960_720God of all eras and places,
Of all dittos, agains, redoes, duplicates, and echoes,
We want to celebrate the best of times over and over.

From the richest pieces of chocolate cake,
To the extravagant vacations we’ve been on,
And from the times we’ve fallen in love or to the liveliest parties we’ve attended,
We want to relive the greatest moments of our lives.

Sadly, those moments are often once in a lifetime-
Encapsulated within a fleeting moment.

On the other side of the coin are the moments which we hope to forget…
The breakups in which our hearts feel like they will collapse,
Or the illnesses that take days or months or years to subside.  Maybe.
Or the acts of violence that plague our world again.  And again.
And again.

We hope those never happen once.
But they often reoccur.

Another surgery.  Another funeral.

The news reports one more bombing across the…

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The Disturbing Story of King Ahasuerus

This is a story from the Bible but Rev. Michelle L. Torigian has captured the “backstory”. Esther (flawed?) was a faithful and powerful woman but look what she was against.

Michelle L. Torigian

V0034399 Esther faints before King Ahasuerus. Engraving, 1767, after Wikimedia Commons

Once upon a time, there was a king who ruled over many provinces.  His name was King Ahasuerus.  While he was on his throne in the Citadel of Susa, he threw a tremendous party.  The palace was decorated in marble, silver, various colors of stones and, of course, GOLD.

On the seventh day of the great banquet, in his state of mirth, he commanded his wife, Queen Vashti, to remove herself from her separate banquet and parade around his banquet full of men wearing her crown…

Probably ONLY  her crown…

…Because, of course, he was king.  And rich.  And celebrated.  Some would say a star, perhaps.  And he could demand such exploitations.

Queen Vashti was fair to behold- possibly a “10.”

But Ahasuerus failed.  Queen Vashti refused to become another prop in his life, to be objectified by not only her husband but the many men who may grope…

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