Unbroken Bones

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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…)

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The Same 88 Keys

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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…)

When You Ask First

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Recently, I was at a retail store grabbing a few last-minute things for Christmas. I checked off my yellow post-it in record time and headed to the registers.

For the holidays, that particular store created “human corrals”. They cleverly funneled all shoppers into a chute leading up to the cashiers. Instinctively, I followed the herd and wound up wide-eyed and shuffling forward. (more…)

Guilty of Gusto

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I can’t help it. I just love them too much.”

It was the confession of a grandmother. Her daughter lives nearby with her husband and two small children. She was admitting she was an over-grandma. Over-caring, over-providing, over-serving…

Too much love? 

Her tearful angst came at the end of our study of idolatry and traveled around our circle of women.

And when it came around to me, I felt the tension. I’m guilty of gusto, too.  (more…)

When You Just Need A Little Honesty

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If you’re like me, you try hard to remain positive, look on the bright side, and count your blessings.

But some days, you just can’t  …

I’ll never forget one day during my student-teaching in a second grade classroom. Early in the year, one student, a stringy-haired boy with scabby knees, was having a bad day. He eventually crawled under a table and refused to come out. I was eager to prove myself to the lead teacher, so I rushed across the room to coax him.

None of my persuading was working:

“Come on out, you’re missing all the fun! Your friends are looking for you at the Craft Corner. You are so good at reading…!”  In fact, the more I talked, the further under the table he scooted.

Finally, the veteran teacher walked over, asked me to keep an eye on the rest of the class, and did something that changed me forever… (more…)