“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once,
but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estes


  • replace elastic waistband of black skirt
  • repair seam of brown top
  • replace elastic waistband of flowered skirt
  • repair seam of black and white top

It’s day 42 of my sabbatical… and this is my first blogpost.  I thought I would have written earlier, but my words seemed all used up.

That’s not to say I haven’t been doing anything with this generous gift of time.  I’ve been working my way through a big pile of mending, for starts.  Some of the items have been in the pile so long I forgot I had them. 

There’s something deeply satisfying to me about mending; repairing; restoring something of value.

My body, mind, and spirit have been mending too – as best they can in these days of wrenching national strife.  I’ve been going to bed early.  Getting up late.  And napping.  Lots and lots of napping.  I never used to be good at that, but I seem to have mastered the art.

We’ve been waiting for Rob’s eye to mend.  Yesterday, the doctor said it has (thanks be to God).  So on Thursday we board a train for Atlanta – our first stop on the Civil Rights Trail, and the next phase of our sabbatical journey.

There is much to mend in this world.  Relationships.  Trust.  The body politic.  The Hebrew phrase tikkun olam means to mend (or repair) the worldTikkun olam expresses the notion that it is every person’s responsibility to work towards repairing the world’s brokenness.  In days such as these, that responsibility can feel either hopeful or overwhelming.

In those moments when I am overwhelmed by the world’s darkness, I am heartened by the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes in her “Letter to a Young Activist During Troubled Times”:

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times.

I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now. It is true, one has to have strong cojones and ovarios to withstand much of what passes for “good” in our culture today. Abject disregard of what the soul finds most precious and irreplaceable and the corruption of principled ideals have become, in some large societal arenas, “the new normal,” the grotesquerie of the week. It is hard to say which one of the current egregious matters has rocked people’s worlds and beliefs more. Ours is a time of almost daily jaw-dropping astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people…

You are right in your assessments.  Yet…I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope.  Most particularly because, the fact is – we were made for these times.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency too to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails. We are needed, that is all we can know…

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.[1]

And all God’s people said, “Amen.”

[1] Clarissa Pinkola Estes,


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6 Responses to mending

  1. Such important wisdom. Thank you.

  2. Betsy Gensamer says:

    So wonderful to hear from you! You and Rob are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Your mending is important to all of us. Enjoy those naps!
    It is exciting that you are now able to start your trip south.
    Belated Happy Valentines Day with love,

  3. Barbara histand says:

    That was beautiful and well said.

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