It’s amazing what miracles can arise out of friendship and connection.

I have a dear friend, whom I fondly call “Thelma”; “Thelma”, of course, calls me “Louise.” Our friendship began in seminary and has deepened since then, especially since she moved to Baltimore a few blessed years ago.

Thelma is the kind of friend who knows what I’m thinking without me having to say a word. A soul friend. An anam cara. You know, I think, the kind of friend I mean; and I dearly hope you have such a friend in your life, too.

Thelma and I were talking a few weeks ago, about how life-giving it would be to routinely arise out of bed early enough in the morning to exercise and get our bodies moving, before the rest of the day unfolded. You see, she and I have tried, on our own, for over two decades to establish such a morning routine as a true habit, with fits and starts. Was it time, we wondered aloud to one another, to throw in the towel? To simply accept “our natures”? And that some people are “morning people”, and others, like us, are just not?

And then we had one of those “aha” moments. You see, Thelma and I live 7 (yes, 7)  minutes away from one another, with Cylburn Arboretum and its lovely walking paths in between. Could Providence have made it any easier for the two of us, together, to finally succeed at something that has eluded each of us, alone?

Thelma and I talked about what was realistic and achievable, and what was not, knowing one another and ourselves the way we do. Get up at 5 regularly? 5:30? Heck no! What about 6? Okay, possible. And how to overcome a particular weakness that one of us has for endless tapping of the snooze button on our i-Phones?

“How about you text me at 6?” I asked, “And then again at 6:10? And I’ll text you back, just to confirm I’m up and conscious?”

Thelma agreed.

We made a covenant (like true Episcopalians) to walk the paths at Cylburn together 3-4 mornings a week. Having heard or read somewhere that 40 is the magic number to make an action a habit, and given that 40 is one of those sacred numbers in scripture (for desert wanderings, and such), that’s what we’re aiming for. One day at a time. Or to borrow from 12-step spirituality, just for today. Yesterday morning was Day 7 of 40, of Thelma’s and my “experiment” in exploring the power of friendship and connection, in achieving what was heretofore “impossible”.

Yesterday evening was Day 10 of 10, of another “experiment” in friendship and connection. About 140 Baltimoreans gathered in our sanctuary last night for the final evening of Conversation THREAD ( exploring the idea that together as Baltimoreans, reaching across lines of race and gender and socioeconomic class, we can achieve together what heretofore has eluded us, alone, in achieving a truly just society in our beloved city.

Will Thelma and I succeed, I wonder, in our experiment? And what about we, as Baltimoreans, in our city?

Together, and with God’s help … I think, we can.