Deborah Smith Douglas

has degrees in literature and law, training in spiritual direction, and is a member of the Episcopal Church. A Camaldolese Benedictine oblate, she has led retreats in the United States and Britain. A frequent contributor to Weavings, she is the author of The Praying Life: Seeking God in All Things and, with her husband David Douglas, co-author of Pilgrims in the Kingdom: Travels in Christian Britain.

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Strong Joy

The joy of the Lord is your strength. —Nehemiah 8:10 God strengthens us for our pilgrim journey in many ways: through the company and example of those who have gone before us, through Word and Sacrament, through prayer. When the going is tough, we sometimes assume that the nourishment God offers is a form of hard tack: meager K-rations of the spiritual life. We may... Keep Reading

Angels Unawares

She was a striking looking woman: Jamaican, I thought, maybe Egyptian. High cheek-bones, mahogany skin, waist-length black hair braided into cornrows and fastened at the nape of her long neck. She took the window seat; I had the aisle. We smiled at each other as we stowed our bags and fastened our seatbelts, but we did not speak. She opened her book, I flipped... Keep Reading

Thanks Be to God: Gratitude as Prayer

This is an excerpt from XXIII/2 (March/April 2008), “Adoration” Several years ago, I joined [an old friend] in exchang[ing] short lists of particular things in our lives for which we were grateful. “Particular” was mandatory: no vague generalizations about good health or pleasant weather. Our identified blessings might be small, but they had to be specific. Soon after beginning this regimen… my friend fell... Keep Reading

Back-story on “Enclosed in Darkness”

Writing on the theme of being “fenced in” had a strong attraction for me, as it gave me the chance to revisit two compelling books I read years ago. More than twenty years ago, a friend handed me a copy of Margaret Spufford’s book, Celebration: a Story of Suffering and Joy, of which I had never heard but which I read at once.... Keep Reading

Stages

Now Dad has “gone quiet,” they tell me. He hardly speaks at all anymore, and is almost completely withdrawn. Soon after we saw him last month, and took him out for that ice cream he enjoyed so much, he slipped into this new, dark, silent place. I keep thinking of submarines “going quiet” as they submerge ever deeper below the surface. And of icebergs... Keep Reading

Take-off and Landing

Dad managed the wedding pretty well. Sometimes he even seemed to know that it was his son who was getting married, that it was me (his only daughter) he was dancing with. Most of the time he obviously didn’t have any idea what was going on, or where he was, or who all those people were. But there were graced moments of... Keep Reading

Prayer for a Soldier

Air travel seems inevitably anymore to involve crowded terminals, and chaos, and delay. And these days the airports seem full of soldiers in uniform, on their way to or from Afghanistan or Iraq or some other war-torn corner of the world. I’m not sure why one particular young recruit, swept along with me that day in the torrent of corridors and escalators and trams... Keep Reading

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