Treading Water

Tread water, get pulled under, push to surface, gasp for air, tread water, get pulled under, push to surface, gasp for air. Slowly drowning has become my way of life. There is a rhythm to it, one that is familiar. A pattern that should probably feel scary or dangerous instead feels like home. So even…

Read More

Complicated Love

When I was young, my faith was expansive. I listened as friends told desperate stories of an unplanned pregnancy; of the fear of deportation; of the explosive anger of a boyfriend she couldn’t stop loving; of the courage it took to tell parents of a same-sex attraction. I shared my own fears, desperations, and foibles,…

Read More

Bolus of Change

In honor of the tenth anniversary of Red Tent Living, we are featuring a monthly legacy post written by one of our regular contributors from the past decade. Maureen Gebben was one of the original Red Tent Writers; this post originally appeared in September 2013. I’ve had a bolus of change in my life with…

Read More

Release

I finger the three separate baggies in my hand. They contain the remains of my father (age 95; died February 16, 2019), my mother (age 96; died July 22, 2020), and my youngest brother, John (age 64; died February 19, 2022). My two older sisters and I gather on the Oregon coast to celebrate the…

Read More

Inside of His Arms

I sit on my front porch alone. Although I was invited to the graduation party, I simply cannot go. My heart simultaneously longs for connection and dreads the pain of showing up in community. Our family has been navigating acute crisis for more than a year. I am battered and bloody and desperate for care.…

Read More

What Are You?

What are you? demands the bag boy as his hand makes sweeping, circular motions in front of his face. I am fire and I am frail. I am strength and sarcasm. Demonstrative and demure. I cry, I am human.

Read More

The Ache

It has been 40 years since my dad died and almost 25 years since my mom breathed her last. My in-laws have been gone close to two decades. As a young woman, I was already navigating life without any hope of a living presence of my parents.  During certain stages of life, this absence has…

Read More

Two Worlds Collide

From the moment she and her mom walked into my office I wondered if she deserved more of a professional than me or more tenderness than I felt like I was able to offer. I felt like she could’ve been me had some things gone differently in my life.  We started by talking about her…

Read More

Finding My Way Home

I wandered the aisles at Barnes & Noble, looking for a captivating story—a much-needed break from dense clinical textbooks. Scanning the shelves, my eyes lit up as I noticed Kate DiCamillo’s new book, The Beatryce Prophecy. Kate’s stories always leave me feeling tearful and full of hope at the same time—my favorite kind of story.…

Read More