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A safe place to land.

Some stories are like restorative prayers. They invite (no, they require) retelling, for the healing of our spirit and our soul.
In 1942, the Nazis were actively and forcefully rounding up Jews in France. In the picturesque farming village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon (in southern France), Reformed Church minister Andre Trocme inspired an entire village to change lives. And, as it turns out, the world in which we live.
Each of the citizens of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon voluntarily risked their lives to hide Jews—in homes, on farms, and in public buildings; Jews who were being rounded up by the Nazi SS for shipment to the death camps. (It is said that there was not a single home in the village that did not shelter a Jewish family.) Le Chambon-sur-Lignon became known as the “City of Refuge.”
Whenever Nazi patrols searched the village, the Jews were sent, surreptitiously, out into the woodland countryside. One of the villagers recalled, “As soon as the soldiers left, we would go into the forest and sing a song. When they heard that song, the Jews knew it was safe to come home.”
Can you imagine the feeling when you heard the song?
It is estimated that as many as five thousand lives were saved—many given passage to Switzerland. One reason for this display of compassion? These French villagers were descendants from the persecuted Protestant Huguenots. Their own history of persecution connected them to the plight of the Jewish people hiding in their homes. Perhaps that is true, I do not know.
I do know that Magda Trocmé (Andre’s wife) said this, “Those of us who received the first Jews did what we thought had to be done—nothing more complicated. It was not decided from one day to the next what we would have to do. There were many people in the village who needed help. How could we refuse them? A person doesn’t sit down and say I’m going to do this and this and that. Sometimes people ask me, ‘How did you make a decision?’ There was no decision to make. The issue was: Do you think we are all brothers or not? Do you think it is unjust to turn in the Jews or not? Then let us try to help.”

Here’s what we can take with us…
One, I am so grateful for the extraordinary power in compassion (and the courage to practice compassion in a world that places a premium on power and control). (“Are we all brothers and sisters, or not?”)
And so grateful that compassion is the soil for sanctuary—safe places where our heart can heal. And find a safe place to land.
This from Sara Bareilles…
“When holding your breath is safer than breathing
When letting go is braver than keeping
When innocent words turn to lies
And you can’t hide by closing your eyes
When the pain is all that they offer
Like the kiss from the lips of a monster
You know the famine so well, but never met the feast
When home is the belly of a beast
The ocean is wild and over your head
And the boat beneath you is sinking
Don’t need room for your bags, hope is all that you have
So say the Lord’s Prayer twice, hold your babies tight
Surely someone will reach out a hand
And show you a safe place to land”

Two, compassion is born in the soil of vulnerability, humility and the awareness that we are all connected. Thich Nhat Hanh’s reminder that, “We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”
Three, the power of love and music to bring each and every one of us, home. Home, the place where we are given value and love and dignity, and from that place, value and love and dignity spill to the world around us.
What song did the villagers sing?
What kind of music represents freedom and safety and well-being and home? Or maybe it’s not that important. The song, I mean. (Although I’m torn between Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and Stairway to Heaven.)
There is no denying our knee-jerk need to figure it out. But maybe, just maybe, the song is compassion. Plain and simple.
I only know that for whatever reason, the villagers chose love. They chose Grace. And the rest, well, the rest is history.
Sadly, we bury the music of Grace in rhetoric.
We bury the music of Grace in the need to be right.
We bury the music of Grace in the need to demean or diminish.
I want a world where is it safe to come home… safe places for sanity and restoration.

Our sanctuary is not just for solace, but also indispensable as deterrent. Because with sanctuary, we build immunity; to not be as easily susceptible to fear, or to being at the mercy of every threat.
Our values—gentleness, humility, charity, interior simplicity—tether us. And we are reminded of them when we hear the song that invites us home.
However, here’s the deal: our story doesn’t stop when we hear the song. We leave different than when we came in. And now, we sing (spill) the song to others.
And the song always invites people home to safety (safe place to land).
I cannot tell you what song will bring you out of hiding. But I can tell you this: you have one. Count on it.
And if you sit still, you may hear it. Really.
It is the “song” that reminds us we are beautiful, when we feel ugly.
It is the song that tells us we are whole, when we feel broken.
It is the song that gives us the power to literally give a damn, on those days when we feel done in.
Whatever it is, the song brings people out of hiding, out of unease and out of fear. The song invites courage and renewal and resilience.
And that, well, that is music worth singing. It is the music of Grace.

I hope Mother’s Day was a day for you to savor. And a reminder that the truly lucky have been blessed with more than one mother. There are grandmothers and cool aunts, the elderly ladies and family friends, even mentors along the way, who loved us into shape. Here’s to all of you incredible women. Thank you. (Below, our Mother’s Day prayer and blessing.)
And here in the PNW, we’re breaking heat records. No biggie for some of you. But then, you have air conditioning.

Quote for your week…
The function of freedom is to free someone else. Toni Morrison  


Today’s Photo Credit:  “Terry, Thank you for considering using this picture taken September 2022. This year in a silent retreat, the Lord and I named this year’s theme ‘Rest’ and the question, How am I learning to still the waters of my mind, body, spirit so I can reflect your image within and without? Your reflections have been an integral part of this journey. Thank you for your gifts five days a week.” Amelia Boggs… Thank you Amelia… Thank you to all, keep sending your photos… send to 

Yes, your gift makes a difference… Donation = Love…
Help make Sabbath Moment possible. I write SM because I want to live with a soft heart; to create a place for sanctuary, empathy, inclusion, compassion and kindness… a space where we are refueled to make a difference. SM remains free.
(NEW address by check: PO Box 65336, Port Ludlow, WA 98365

NEW Book – Stand Still: finding balance when the world turns upside down

NEW Audio SM… Enjoy — In the shelter of each other
Join us every Wednesday… Audio Sabbath Moment

Letters that do my heart good…
–Dear Terry, Ohh, thank you! “Slow work of God”–no kidding! What is heartening for me is that it is not necessarily me being slow, but God being slow in and with me. It’s been so long. This is a too long journey, to my thinking (and feeling). These are new broken places, it seems. Thank you for every word of this. Jan
–Love this photo and the photographer’s message to you. The message is timely for me as I begin to realize my limitations. I don’t like it but they are becoming persistent so I am going to try to  embrace them gracefully. Becky
–Happy Monday Terry! Last week began with a bridal shower, then the unexpected task of planning a dear friend’s funeral services, then the joyful gathering to celebrate my nephew’s First Communion. What a week. Because of the crazy busyness of work, I am behind on my Sabbath Moment emails, which was frustrating me. It’s May 1st, but I’m on March 27th’s Sabbath Moment. How these words eased the weight of grief and sparked energy in my exhaustion. I pray, “If I should wake before I die…” I am looking for miracles in the moments of today. Thank you. Blessings of abundant Easter life. Laura
–Hi Terry, I’ve heard your Loook story several times and I love it. One of my neighbors recently remodeled their home and put in a beautiful oasis pool.Yesterday we had a Wine Tasting there and invited some of the other neighbors. One of the neighbors that came brought a young adult woman that she cares for named Emma. I believe she is Autistic. Very much like the girl you described in your story. When she saw the pool she was so excited seeing the palm tree and turtle tiles in the pool. The waterfall just sent her over the edge of excitement. And I realized immediately that I was in a Loook moment. I cherished seeing the world through her eyes and excitement. At that moment she was my “seer, my rabbi, my priest, my pastor” I shared your Loook story with the neighbor that owns the pool and the neighbor that is Emma’s caretaker. I know they are as blessed as I was.
Abundant Appreciation for your writing, Malesa 


Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.
Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds

To the Moms Who Are
To the Moms who are struggling, to those filled with incandescent joy.
To the Moms who are remembering children who have died, and pregnancies that miscarried.
To the Moms who decided other parents were the best choice for their babies, to the Moms who adopted those kids and loved them fierce.
To those experiencing frustration or desperation in infertility.
To those who knew they never wanted kids, and the ways they have contributed to our shared world.
To those who mothered colleagues, mentees, neighborhood kids, and anyone who needed it.
To those remembering Moms no longer with us.
To those moving forward from Moms who did not show love, or hurt those they should have cared for.
Today is a day to honor the unyielding love and care for others we call ‘Motherhood,’ wherever we have found it and in whatever ways we have found to cultivate it within ourselves.
Hannah Kardon (Pastor at Elston Avenue United Methodist Church)

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability —
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually — let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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