Seventeen Times I Felt Reverence.

(Inspired by a beautiful part in a beautiful book, 100 Birds Taught Me To Flycalled, “Twelve Times I Prayed.”)

Pie Chart Poem, 2/100 - 100 Ways to Spend the Days

Pie Chart Poem, 2/100 – 100 Ways to Spend the Days (

My sister, C, holding my baby, singing, “I’m just a little black rain cloud, hovering under the honey tree. I’m only a little black rain cloud. Pay no attention to little me.” A young neighbor boy putting his arm around my confused toddler daughter, helping her to the stage for her first musical number, and then to the very front. A returned sister missionary speaking, the first in her ward for over twelve years. Her father’s testimony: “I hope Joseph Smith is a true prophet. I hope the Book of Mormon is true. I hope the priesthood has been restored.” Standing in the kitchen, mourning with my mother after her cat, Chekov, died. Watching the Perseid meteor shower with my parents, and my mother using her spied stars to make individual wishes for each of her seven children and fourteen grandchildren. A conversation over smoothies and popcorn. An old friend changing my babe’s soiled diaper. Reading Ada Twist, Scientist to my daughter. Reading 1oo Birds Taught Me to Fly to myself. Sitting in a room filled with original Brian Kershisnik paintings, crying, while two love-filled women listened. My sister, L, helping me the next morning as I frantically packed. A friend’s poem piechart: rebuild, rebuild, rebuild, rebuild, rebuild. Listening to Carol Lynn Pearson read her poem, “Pioneers,” in person, before singing her primary song “I’ll Walk With You” with the gathered women. An invitation to a gala I wanted to attend, but couldn’t otherwise afford. A friend and mentor hugging me while I cried, and her whispering, “Anything you need.” My daughter wearing white booties in the Hartford temple, pressing her face and hands against glass, peeking down at the oxen.


Rachel is a PhD student in Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont Graduate University. She co-edited _Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings_ with Joanna Brooks and Hannah Wheelwright. She is also a lover of all things books and bikes.

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8 Responses

  1. Annie Blake says:

    So many lessons to be learned from such a list. Love you, Rachel

  2. Ashley Hoiland says:

    so beautiful. thanks, friend.

  3. Jason K. says:

    I love this. And, selfishly, I’m glad you got invited to that gala!

    Ashmae’s book is a gift. I can’t wait for more people to experience it!

  4. Olea says:

    So lovely! This makes me want to compile my own list.

  5. EmilyCC says:

    Beautiful! I also want to make my list…a lovely idea. Thank you.

  6. BHodges says:

    Thanks for this, Rachel.

  7. Linda says:

    A lovely litany. I want to try this rumination, too. Love you.

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