• I plan to cut out caffeine, limit social media use to once a day (because work obligations will not allow me to cut it entirely), and read The Word in the Wilderness. After much deliberation, I also plan to write a poem a day about something I’m reading of the life of Jesus from one of the gospels. At first I was afraid it would feel like another…[Read more]

  • In a recent episode of The Habit podcast, Matthew Clark mentioned that you are on a spiritual warfare ministry team and that you once prayed a prayer of exorcism over a group before diving into poetry together. That’s the first time I’d ever heard anyone mention a relationship between poetry and spiritual warfare, but it correlates to my own…[Read more]

  • Hi! I’m Rachel, in North Carolina. Upon hearing T.S. Eliot’s “The Journey of the Magi” being taught during preview days at our Bible College, I immediately decided to attend and become an English major. After finishing my degree, my husband and I spent a dozen years doing mission work in Spain. It was after we moved back to NC that God rekindled…[Read more]

  • The ark of the covenant was hidden behind a network of barricades. You couldn’t stroll into the temple and lay hands on the seat and symbol of God’s presence. There were sacrifices to be made, garments to be wor […]

  • I haven’t kept up with the news for years. Years and years. My long-suffering husband helps by giving me highlights and summaries. He knows that a childhood heavily seasoned with End Times Prophecy and an u […]

    • @caleb-fetterhoff That’s a big question. I have done a little bit of everything over the years, from arguing passionately to completely avoiding conflict in all the worst, most cowardly ways. But I am beginning to understand the degree to which people operate out of fear and pain. Dealing with our pain, wrestling with God, feeling our horribly uncomfortable feelings, and receiving Love and Healing are not easy things to do. But I think they may be prerequisites for moving beyond presuppositions and prejudices and learning to listen. “There is no fear in love, and perfect love casts out fear.” When I look at Christendom (and I’m speaking VERY broadly here), I see an awful lot of terrified, hurting people who have no room to hold anyone else’s suffering or anyone else’s perspective. I see a body of people who talk a great deal about the radical, redemptive love of God, but who don’t seem to have experienced it. I cannot bring about that transformation for anyone. I can only be transformed and be honest about my journey. I can be counter-cultural within Christian culture by imagining all the ways God is at work in the messes humans make. I can release my white-knuckle grip and allow God to surprise me. No argument I’ve ever made has been as powerful as allowing God to change me. 

    • Thank you, Ms. Sorensen!  By the power of God’s love, may we submit to his work of changing us, and may we testify to that change in the presence of others who may be fearful like us.

    • Thank you!  A lot of this resonated.

  • I’d forgotten how chaotic it feels in the midst of the research process. I look back at the path that brought me from an initial idea to a completed, printed copy of The Door on Half-Bald Hill and everything f […]

    • Thank you, Helena! I bet your 1984 peat man is the same one that inspired Meet Me at the Museum, which I picked up because it is a novel told in letters. I also have some people who I love too much to abandon. Your encouragement is perfect.

    • I’ve had this happen when I’m writing too…pieces you didn’t know fit together (or even existed, at first), fitting together. I’ve also had similar experiences as you did in Ireland when I’ve traveled to Scotland. Looking forward to reading about the hill and what you came to know.

    • Thank you for sharing the building of your story. You’re right that when we’re in the mystery of the making and becoming- it seems like such a lost mess of pieces. It’s only after we’ve made the journey and have the distance to look back that we’ll see how it was a puzzle that fit together with some sort of magic… What a hopeful promise to hold onto when we’re in uncertainty and muddle-ment! This was beautiful and encouraging, Helena.

    • Hi, Brent!
      I believe it’s out of print. The publisher is Abaris Books, Inc. Copyright 1978.

    • Aaron! Of course you’re right! I have Stephens’ name in the acknowledgements of the book, but I somehow got him mixed up with Mayhew in my notebooks! Thanks for the catch. I’ve updated the post. 🙂

    • And, to add to the fun, I’ve now spent ten minutes reading differing arguments on whether to use Stephens’ or Stephens’s.

  • I wasn’t expecting to see so clear a picture of Jesus in Pixar’s latest movie, Onward, though I ought to know by now that unexpected places are his favorites. He’s always turning up with a wink and a grin when […]

    • This is beautiful!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!! Ian’s desperate longing to meet his father was the thing I connected with most in this film, so much so that it broke my heart when (spoilers) he didn’t get what he’d been longing for in the end. I love the parallels to the Gosple that you’ve drawn here. Definitely helps me better understand what the movie woke up in me, and gives me a new way to approach its message.

    • Just watched this movie with my little sister, and we loved it. I was also very moved by the surprise twist at the end. Your review adds a new layer of resonance to the story for me. Thanks for sharing!

    • Amazing.. Thanks for sharing!

  • The birdhouse fell in a storm. We found it the next morning lying on the ground, roof split, blue eggs cracked and broken. We could make out the bend of a tiny wing, the puckered skin where dark feathers prepared […]

    • All the applause.
      “Sometimes, growing up makes us less honest about how much it hurts to be alive. We lower our expectations and make broad statements about the inevitability of suffering, as though that will mitigate the pain when it comes. ”
      “I thought my son was the perfectionist. Maybe he is just more honest than I am.”
      “My grief is overwhelming. It is older and deeper than my son’s. I’m just better at hiding it.”
      Man. If that ain’t all the hard and important truth. And the end gave me chills. The whole thing is a perfect question, and I’m grateful you’ve asked it into the universe in such a compelling way.

    • Oh, me, too. Me, too.

    • Oh Helena, this is so beautiful and so true…. even without the scars (I can see) to keep getting up each day and beginning again. You captured this so well.

  • I’ve been asked to write a brief pronunciation guide for anyone who might need help with character and place names in The Door on Half-Bald Hill. Pronunciation guides are tricky! It’s always easier to hear a new […]

    • Give me a recording of you saying each one and I can get it in IPA (international phonetic alphabet) for you.
      Although most of your descriptions get it done. 🙂

    • Hey, Adam! Thanks for your comment. I actually studied IPA in college, but that’s nearing 20 years ago. Most of what I learned in college has been forced out of my brain by more pressing matters. 🙂
      There’s a short video on the RR Facebook page and on my personal page (Helena Sorensen Aman) in which I pronounce most of these names. Is that a clear enough recording?

    • I just wanted to double-check one more. “Ollamh” would be pronounced like “Ollav”, right?

  • As a child, I heard a lot about the end of the world—the mark of the Beast, the demise of America, the million-man army that would spread destruction over the face of the earth. Things were going badly wrong, t […]

    • Thanks, Helena. In the end, believers are in a comedy, we all get hitched in the end. So put them berries in the bucket! So looking forward to 1/2 bald hill’s release.

    • “The Romans, he said, insisted on “life marked out in squares.” They built straight roads and sent square units of soldiers, unfeeling phalanxes, to conquer the world, to claim yet more land and draw yet more squares. Their minds were full of lines and corners.”

      Ah! The Romans were Borg!

      i CANNOT wait for this book to come out. i’m going to fling it at so many people.

    • I grew up in that looming shadow of the apocalypse too. As a kid, if my mom and my sister didn’t get home on time, I’d have to push down panic that they’d been whisked away, leaving me behind to eat my way through a seven-layer burrito of suffering and wrath. I don’t think I FULLY got out of that story and into a better one until I discovered the Rabbit Room. Deep thanks to you and everyone here who keep telling that better story.
      That said, waiting for this book to release is becoming a tribulation of its own. If the world ends before I get to read it, I’m going to have words with somebody.

  • Most of the light in the universe is invisible to the human eye. We see an estimated .0035% of the electromagnetic spectrum, and that estimate is based on what we can measure with current information and […]

    • Helena, your post sent me to my copy of Word in the Wilderness to soak in the words of this poem. The lines and thoughts about maps have been echoing these days, as well as the word ‘open’ in a way that says ‘surrender.’ I want to hold my map close, with its worn out folds and creases as if I could chart my way through challenges and failures. God is constantly reminding me how gracious His care is. Never mind my own sin (which is ever before me) but the challenges through uncharted territory of a virus outbreak in my Seattleland backyard have been pushing me to lean on God’s care and love, growing my trust moment by moment.
      Thinking of you all in the Nashville area….your words are a gracious gift in these tentative times.

  • You would have laughed to see it—that mound of walruses piled on the Russian coast. Laughter was my first inclination. I wondered when a male walrus would begin an awkward mating dance or heave his bulk at a p […]

    • Whoah.

    • Wow. This is powerful.

    • I remember reading that the only real difference between a grasshopper and a locust is behavior: that “locust” is just a term we use for grasshoppers that gather together in a swarm and devastate the land around them. If beliefs drive behavior, maybe the only difference between a grasshopper that trusts God to lead it forward into a land of giants, and a locust that rushes to get its fill before all the others take it all, is what they believe about their relationship to the Creator and the abundance He’s given them.

    • This is awesome, Helena.

  • “Jesus didn’t come to change God’s mind about us. Jesus came to change our minds about God.”—Richard Rohr

    Someone asked me recently why the Bible always presents God in masculine form. She wondered […]

  • There’s a certain kind of loneliness that comes of never being asked the right questions. Many of us go years at a time subsisting on questions like How’s the job? and How are the kids? Even the slightly sup […]

    • “Or sit with someone who is weeping and feel the exposure of silence. Endure the stilted conversation. Share the meal. Take the risk. Ask the hard question.”
      How I love this. Thank you for the encouragement and invitation to tune our hearts to the deeper places, and the One who created them, and us for them.

    • Excellent diagnostic skills- I needed this for my own counsel today as much as I needed it as a tool to counsel others.

    • Articles like this are why I so greatly enjoy The Rabbit Room: when I read and say to myself, “Oh, yes, I’ve been thinking something like that! Ah, how lovely to see that other people think that way too.” Mentally as I read I was adding my own thoughts and anecdotes (which I will spare you the length that it would make this comment) and thinking I would like to share this with so many people. For quite some time I have struggled with answering the question, “How are you?” because of the length of time it would take to explain that, and the depth. If that is being asked of me in greeting it feels so insincere. Yet I have not found a replacement, or a good reply. So I particularly appreciate your last paragraph regarding good questions; and you list some very good ones. Thank you for the thoughts you have put into writing and shared with us.

    • I am crying after reading this. Thank you for articulating the intimacy with Him and people I have tasted, but that oh so often as of late is elusive to me. This is more true of my normal experience: ” The only possible fruit of searching the Scriptures to figure out what is right and wrong—to gain the knowledge of good and evil—is death. Why? Because of the terrible distance between knowing about and the kind of knowing that happens in relationship. Distance yourself from the One who is Life, and you enter the realm of death.” Why do we distance ourselves? I do miss being asked good questions that offer space to share my heart, but may I still try to ask them, and even more important, may I hear Him asking me and respond.

    • This reminder comes at a good time for me, as I am trying to use technology and social media in a healthier way, spending less time scrolling through all the opinions and pictures, and more time experiencing people as their true selves and presenting my own true self. To do that, I want to ask the right questions.

    • ALL the applause for this. I have too much to say in response to say it all on here. Hopefully you’re up for a conversation in person some time. Just yes. Yes to all.

    • Thank you for this reminder and deep, strong challenge. Your words piece together thoughts I’ve only scratched the surface of.
      I’m reminded of Chaim Potok saying the best question someone can ask is “What are you going through?”

  • I had not meant to think on dancersNo, nor womanhoodI meant to write of summer,Goodness, and the love of God.

    But then I saw you step out on the stage,The lights all trained upon your faceStumbling feet […]

    • “What rises from the embers
      Is a fierce and lovely power.
      Battle-hardened, battle-softened
      Holy fire.”

      So beautiful, and so true about the beautiful women here. Thank you, Helena ❤️

    • Helena, thank you for this.

    • This was incredibly beautiful. I am a puddle. Thank you for taking the time, Helena to create such a lovely piece. It was very courageous to wade into this tender space. As a mother of two daughters and a soon to be “empty nester”, this was a gift to me.

  • Long ago, in the quiet of our mothers’ wombs, the snow began to fall. Blood and water and food came into our bodies and nourished us. Endorphins washed over us, along with surges of cortisol and adrenaline. An i […]

  • I was standing in the parking lot of our little Valrico, Florida church when a man from the congregation came up to shake my hand. His expression was earnest, his voice impassioned, when he said, “I pray that o […]

  • Two scenes stand out in memory: one a place of beginning, the other a place of understanding. In the first, a nineteen-year-old girl sits alone in her car on a summer afternoon, while the boy she loved walks away. […]

  • Heading south from Salt Lake City, you can drive for hours without seeing anything but rocks and scrub. The road is straight and flat, and the darkening April sky closes down on you like the cover of an old […]

    • Beautifully stated and expressed. I know this feeling – that expanding of the heart – in those canyons and on those mountains. I’ve been there, physically and emotionally. The traces of the experiences of the wide spaces etches memory like gold. Where our hearts have been touched and the soul splayed wide open across the red rock face with nothing but the sound of the wind and the passing Raven. God I know it.

    • Having driven the roads from Brian Head to Bryce and Zion (and back again) I am particularly grateful for this essay. It lifts me right back up there.

      And the concluding sentence is quite a breathtaking punch-line.

    • God has been impressing on me in recent weeks His power and creativity in the microcosms around me; I hadn’t related that to the microcosm within me until reading this beautiful essay. Thank you for leading me to even deeper worship of our almighty Father.

      @dmitchel, I’ll second your comment about the concluding sentence. It stopped me in my tracks.

  • This summer, the recommended reading list for my church community includes titles like The Rule of Benedict (Chittister), St. Francis of Assisi (Chesterton), and Establishing a Rule of Life (The Trinity Mission). […]

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