All he wanted to do was hammer something.
Eli* wasn’t a regular church-goer and wasn’t sure how to find the book of Galatians in his Bible, but he heard there might be an opportunity to build things, so he signed up.
“When are we going to build stuff?” he asked as we settled in for our group devotion.
“Soon,” I said, but I wasn’t sure. Not at all. We were barely 24 hours into the youth-group service trip when I realized things were out of our control. Our group was randomly split up at lunch, placed in prayer groups with people we didn’t know, and assigned to various work-sites without our consent. Clearly, we weren’t in charge. Continue reading
Every year, as Easter draws near, I think about Will*, a student in my Sunday school group a few years back. One morning during Lent, we were revisiting Jesus’ arrest, suffering, and death.
We discussed the road to the cross and the method of crucifixion. We read about the inscription, the casting lots, and about how the soldiers didn’t break Jesus’ legs.
The kids, especially the boys, were curious about the details of crucifixion: How did they get the nails in? Since Jesus is God, did he feel it? Did he scream/fight back? Was blood pouring down the hill?
I guess I’m used to their weird curiosities and obsessions, so I marched through their questions like a pro, without flinching, until this one came from Will’s half-shouting voice: (more…)
My piano teacher ended every lesson the same way. After thirty minutes of my plunking on her Steinway, she would scoot me off the bench to watch her play some impressive, advanced piece. At the end of the last note, she’d look up at me, gesture to the keyboard, and say, “Now remember, you have these same 88 keys on your piano at home.”
She was trying to encourage me, but sometimes, especially after a rough lesson, it felt like an accusation: You have everything you need… so why aren’t you playing better? What’s wrong with you?
After four years of lessons, it was evident that I lacked many things, but mostly I needed a deeper desire and a different DNA. No matter how hard we tried, those 88 keys just weren’t enough. (more…)
An online quiz promised to tell me what kind of cookie matches my personality. I was hoping for chocolate chip, but I got oatmeal raisin. The shame. Maybe I’ll do better with my spirit animal …
We’re obsessed. Chances are, if you’re like me, you know your Myers Briggs letters, or your Disney princess, or maybe even what Hogwart’s school fits you best. I’m Gryffindor.
Of course it’s harmless and fun, but with all this talk, I’m finding myself ranking my personality high or low, evaluating, comparing, wishing…. Continue reading
Week four of a New Year’s resolution is not for sissies. Week four is when you notice your biggest supporters, Motivation, Novelty, and Determination, have all packed up camp and headed to wherever they hide. I’m guessing they ran way ahead of me to the final days of December. Or rushed on to Lent. Or are waiting for me in the countdown to swim season. Bye, Felicia.
Chronic doesn’t blow anyone away, it starves you out, leaving you isolated and anemic.
Killing you softly. Casting you out. Making you desperate, irrational, and even willing to try something crazy …. Continue reading
January is a hard month. There are new routines and rules. Special diets and detoxes. Lofty plans and new purpose.
There is this new version of yourself, but you’re not quite sure you like her. There is small progress, but nothing measurable. You know things will get easier, but not before they get much harder.
I’ll say it again: January is a hard month.
I know all too well. Too many of my years have had hard beginnings. Not any more. Continue reading