The Wanderer

photo by Adam Whipple

The wanderer draped a thinning cloak over his shoulders. He ran thin, strong fingers over the frayed brim of a felt hat before settling it onto his head. Thus arrayed he seemed no more than a shade. With boots wrapped in soiled rags, he was as silent as one. He left to wander the stygian maze that was his adopted home.

His breath misted as he stepped into the tunnel. The overwhelming reek of mud and mold and rot assaulted him. The wanderer pulled the door tight, smothering the light. He set off down the familiar corridors, through oddly shaped rooms, sliding around the unseen obstacles. Six steps, and a turn to the left. Three more steps and he crouched before moving forward, trailing a hand along the wall. The ceiling dipped low for seven steps before he could stand upright again. The smell of water grew. The floor dipped and he stepped over a metal grate. Loud splashes reached up from the sewer as it flowed from the lake to the Seine.

Read More

A Sacred Quarantine

photo (6)

I sat in the room with the four white walls
and the pristine painted pews
and the cushion on the bench

worn through, but still
padded enough for comfort.

Read More

Native Friend

LaFollette

My current home sits only 39 miles from the small town in which I grew up, but in reality it’s located in a different world. The world I grew up in was the South. If you read that sentence and understood the weightiness of it, then you, too, must be a Southerner. Author Sarah Bessey writes, “Where we live life matter[s] to our spiritual formation, how we are shaped by our communities, by our rootedness, our geography, by our families, and by the complex web of connections and history…” She’s so right.

Read More

Saved By A Whisper

new climberI’ve known I was a writer since I was twelve years old and read about the main character, Jo, in Little Women. Becoming a writer can be like becoming a rock-climber. At first, it seems incomprehensible you can reach your goal, and it’s easy to lose focus, or give up. As a writer I knew the peak I wanted to reach, I just couldn’t see my way to the top.

To get published I thought I’d need to spend eight hours a day at a keyboard. By the time I got married, I was convinced staying at home would be crucial to my success. But, my husband and I needed every penny my full-time job provided at that time, so how could I quit and pursue my dream? That’s the number one advice given to would-be writers—“Don’t quit your day job.”

So, I talked to God about it. Every day in the shower I prayed: “You created me to be a writer. I know this. So, how is this going to happen? I think I need to stay at home and write.” And, “God, please. Please just let me stay at home and write.” This was my daily mantra for three months.

God responded in December, but I didn’t get the message until one weekend in February, on a rock-climbing trip.

Read More

Self-Doubt: An Unwanted Bedfellow

self-doubt

For the past two days, I’ve been lying in this bed, drifting between sleep and the drowsy half-awake that comes with the flu and/or walking pneumonia, the two potential diagnoses bestowed upon me by my out-of-town nurse-for-a-mother. The nausea of yesterday has passed and today I finally managed a bit of reading – significant progress from the state I was in just 24 hours ago when even the thought of reading made my head spin and stomach churn. I still feel exhausted, and my cough (which has kept me company for two weeks now) lingers, but I feel a tiny glimmer of hope that perhaps tomorrow I’ll have the energy to do the simple everyday tasks: shower, dress, eat three meals…That is, of course, if self-doubt doesn’t take me out first.

Read More