Tag Archives: love

Passions: Stoking the Embers


I’ve been to a wedding celebration. The bride and groom were delighted in each other, and obviously oblivious to most of what was going on around them. They held hands during speeches, whispered to each other, had that unconscious radar tracking and alignment to wherever their beloved happened to be if not in arms reach, and a stunned awareness that they were finally married.

It was beautiful to see, such hope and passion and excitement sizzling between them. The bride and groom danced, fingers Morse-coding messages against hips, lips, faces, the first couple yet again to discover the hum of passion and sparking delight.

It was also beautiful to see the seasoned couples at my table, each laughing and murmuring to each other as we swapped jokes and conversation between announcements and courses. The full, smiling attention of a wife to her husband as he gave a speech, the gentle clasp of hands under the table after a joke, the sharing of dessert, a wife repeating unheard words into a whiskered, tilted ear.

There was the roaring, emerging flame of a love recently created and newly sanctified before us, and the enduring, patient embers of experienced passion gathered around to celebrate and bear witness. I warmed myself, the bride and groom leaving bright spots of joy before my eyes, while the sincere heat of the settled couples soaked deeper in, warm air stirring up ashes as I returned home.

You can’t have a conversation with the empty half of your bed. You can pretend, but it’s not the same as having a hand available to hold at three o’clock on the morning, just a finger’s stretch away. I remember the fire and sparkle of new passion, the way a first kiss becomes a language in a story yet untold. It’s a giddy time, tripping along heart beats and held breaths, all excitement and discovery, but it’s the embers that I miss.

The embers, those ruby throated coals, which have danced and thrilled before in the flash and burn of passion and delight, when all is youth and beauty, lace and enthusiasm, and have survived to catch a breath. The breath and tumble that comes with kids, or career, or both, with the frantic, shuddering bellows of watching a parent die, or burying a loved one, and holding on to each other and your breath in the same terrible moment. The embers, looking dark but billowing heat, grown from putting the lid on the toothpaste for the seven thousandth time, and distracted conversations, and pillowed laughter at midnight and arguments in the car. Embers that grow as thick and deep as lava, from loving another impossible, incredible, bizarre individual every single day even when and especially when they drive you crazy and they – for some deep, fathomless reasons – love you back even when you’re your real cracked and fragile self.

There’s the obvious, dizzying flash of heat, the sizzle, the unsteady grab for balance and air of early love and attraction, but the sustained, deliberate power of established, active passion and mutual compassion leaves it as dust. In each of us there is a light that cannot be hid, a desire for warmth that never goes out. May we all ignite, burn and coalesce into enduring, sincere passion.

What does passion mean to you? What words do you use to compare new/old love and passion? What do you do to appreciate (stroke) and build (stoke) your passions?

Passions: From Dark Chocolate to Deity

photo by Linda Hoffman Kimball

photo by Linda Hoffman Kimball

We are starting new quarterly themes on the blog. This October-December we will be featuring pieces by several of our staffers on Passions. Do you have something to share on the topic ? Submit a guest post and maybe we can share your passions too.

In anticipation of our theme I wrote out in stream of consciousness fashion what first comes to my mind when I think of the broad concept of “passion.”

Here are my results:

Passion is when I crave something – crave to be involved with it, consume it, handle it, watch it, learn from it, get lost in it, become more fully human and more thoroughly eternal through it, and/or think differently because of it.

When I am passionate about something my voice may rise in giddiness or exhilaration. Or it may deepen in a primal protectiveness (“Don’t mess with me, I know what I’m talking about regarding this”). It can become a low, rumbling, imperative growl (channeling Aslan.) (Or Katy Perry). Continue reading

Kate and John

My heart won’t stop hurting. I’m sure you’ve all heard the news that Kate Kelly and John Dehlin have been summoned to church court for their activities related to the Ordain Women movement and the Mormon LGBT movement. I’m not upset because I’m an ardent supporter of either movement. I’m upset because I firmly believe that every Saint deserves to have a voice in our community. I’m upset because I am so grateful to people like Kate and John who are willing to say “dangerous” things out loud, when so many of us want to, but are too afraid to. I’m upset because of the atmosphere of fear that enters into our faith community when this sort of thing happens. What can I safely say? What causes dear to my heart will be “approved” by my respected church leaders? Do I trust my own spirit to hear and interpret the voice of the Holy Spirit, or do I leave that solely to my leaders, who I am sure listen to the same Spirit? What do I do when those spiritual interpretations collide? This sort of conundrum causes all sorts of self doubt. Some walk. Sometimes I wonder if the best of us walk, and if my choice to stay is foolish or faithful. I’ll say it right here at the start, though: despite all its man-made quirks and flaws, I love the Church and am convinced it holds the power of full salvation. So I stay. But right now, it just hurts. Continue reading

…because right now maybe we can benefit from Chieko quotes and some LOVE NOTES

"Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish? Who, who can understand? He, only One." from "Where Can I Turn for Peace" by Emma Lou Thayne

“Where is the quiet hand
to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.”
from “Where Can I Turn for Peace” by Emma Lou Thayne

When my husband Chris and I were dating he sent me a love note with this observation of my character. He wrote, “You are always striving for excellence and never quite attaining it.”

Happily, I knew already knew that Chris was a very literal person and what he probably meant was something more along the lines of “You do ambitious things with enthusiasm and still want to improve beyond that.”

But Chris’s first version was right, too. I know I am incapable of doing things quite as well as I hope to do them. All of us who are disciples of Jesus, if we are honest, are in the same predicament. We make covenants – and we’re still not as “excellent” at keeping them as we’d like to be. Continue reading



Several years ago I encountered a transition in my faith. I’ve always identified as Mormon, but I realized in those months of moments of heaving breathing and endless fervent prayers to God, that my understanding and ownership of my faith could not return to its former shape. My mind unfurled an image coiled up in my brain since my former professor, and a current member of the Sunday School General Presidency, John S. Tanner, put it there more than a decade ago. Studying the Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake, Dr. Tanner explained the division of the poems and illustrations into two stages of life, the innocence of child-like love and the often growing pain-like cold reality of experience. Then drawing in the air with his finger, he pointed round in a circle, coming back to where he started and around again and again; life is not linear, but round; a spiral.

After innocence is gone, and experience has harrowed out naivete the ground is ripe for something new; the mind can embrace what it once could before, but in a new way. For Blake, this was a turn to Christ, a second innocence that sees as the first one could not, but chooses to embrace hope and love anyway.

I realized I was at a crossroads–what was I to do with my troubled soul, my questions and my answers? Should I wrap myself full-fledged around my new knowledge of church history, gospel understanding and want of more; or bury it in a furtive effort to return to my younger, simpler faith? I heard a question in my brain, What do you really want? I chose both, faith and facts, and began to spiral. Continue reading