Welcome to the official website of Leah Perrault
Every day, each of us is given the gift of one thousand, four hundred and forty minutes. Each of these minutes is set before us and what we do with them will be, in the end, the story of our lives. Thank you for including me in your story. I hope the minutes you spend here are a gift for some of the rest of your life’s moments…
Read from the Column “Barefoot & Preaching”
Steps have featured prominently on my social media feeds in the last week, as back to school pictures get posted. I love the glimpse into the lives of all the kids and teens, eager and annoyed, performing and resisting the annual tradition.
Every summer, I wait and hope for our plans to cooperate with the weather and give us a day or two on the lake with (my parents’ beautiful)boat. We need the sunshine to keep us warm enough and the wind to stay mild enough that we can pull the tube behind the boat. The driver and the wind work together to make waves, and the riders delight at the efforts to stay on or fall in. On these rare and perfect days, I might be the biggest kid of all.
There are always lots of questions in a house with children, and the most common one in my world right now is “What’s the plan for today, Mom?” During the school year, we fall into a rhythm of learning and activities, but the summer has all this space for questions and finding different things to do. And it sometimes feels like rest and recreation means more pressure for a mom in the summer – rather than less.
I am less interested in your opinions and mine than I am in how much we care about mutual suffering, hope, and commitment to a world of love and belonging.
Joy is a way of being in the world where I focus on what is good in the moment right now and recognize I have done nothing to earn it. Joy just is, and I can dwell in it, if I let myself.
I felt the wind blow across my face as the lift neared the top, whispering something I forgot: I know how to fall.
Both in communities of faith and in twelve step groups, I have found glimpses of this God who sets us free. I love to get to a place with people where it is possible to ask the question: “Tell me about the God of your understanding.” The God of my understanding is not afraid of our freedom but delights in it.
This is the thing about profound human pain, simultaneously physical and emotional and spiritual: I begin to identify with and feel attached to the fog, frozen by the fear that what comes next will be even worse than what is now. Twelve step spirituality and mentors have whispered to me in the fog, as many times as I needed to hear it: you will not move until the pain of staying here exceeds the pain of changing. It is a whisper of tenderness and compassion through my tears.
Especially when the gift we long for is a person, receiving the gift changes everything.
I have made slow and real progress at breaking down addiction to perfection. It is so hard to allow myself the time it takes to become ready.
On the other side of grief, of leaving the broken, of destruction is recovering, healing, and growing something new. And one of the practices that carries through both seasons is presence. Just plain showing up for what is and who I am today is both difficult and courageous.
A beautiful mess is a privilege. The resources you need to love in it are right in the mess itself. Its imperfection is an invitation rather than a threat.
In writing the story of my life, however, I live through a lot of moments that won’t make the cut in the highlights or the bloopers. Our world is currently obsessed with capturing the moments and sharing them, but there is so much (and maybe more) value in the things that happen between photographs and bonfires.
In all the sifting, I am seeing the moments that make up my life.
The forest floor is a mess. Dropped pine needles, interrupted with deer droppings. Broken branches and fallen trees from the windstorm days before, layered on the trunks from seasons past. Grass and leaves and tiny flowers breaking though wherever enough light and water allows.
Even while we hold our own and the world’s pain, we can practice resurrection. We can take a walk and delight in the signs of spring. We can count the buds forming on trees, the flowers breaking through cold earth. We can set our prayers for the suffering in the arms of God for an hour and let ourselves laugh till our sides ache.
As the world feels like it might give way into dust, I’m clinging to a promise of hope. I can still feel the faint dry spot on my forehead where it was marked with ashes.
After a major trauma, it has been my experience that human capacity for intentional progress on goals is diminished. My therapists reminded me constantly that healing is rarely linear, and though we participate in it, we respond to life in healing ways rather than direct our own healing. I dislike this. And still, I have found it to be true. Healing is a flow of grace that comes from beyond me.
Fumbling but faithful disciple of Jesus.
I am so in love with this crazy, amazing life. I’m not sure how God dreamed up a world where I get to walk, unfiltered, through creation, tasting and seeing so much beauty and joy, heartbreak and sorrow and then I am invited to love through it all. Mostly, I am standing in awe at the miracle of showing up for my life, being able to experience this moment, and the next one, and the one after that. I am a lover of words, a think-out-loud processor, and a regretful oft-interrupter (I’m sorry – God and I are working on that last one.) Still, words are frequently insufficient to capture a person, but for the sake of introduction, here are a few phrases for most essential details: Fumbling but faithful disciple of Jesus. Grateful wife. Practicing parent. Recovering oldest child. Big thinker. Life observer. Fast talker. Eager apologizer. Gratitude practitioner. Exercise hater. Unquenchable learner. Compulsive multi-tasker. Board game lover. Deep feeler. Mercy receiver.