Photo by Anita Jankovic on Unsplash

The schoolyard was sunbeaten and drowsy when Mrs. Halderson’s first-grade class filed out for recess. The world just went on producing more summer, even though school had started. After wandering a while I drifted into the shaded alcove of one of the classroom doors that no one ever used or opened. On the cool concrete slab I saw an insect big enough to run a startled twinge through my insides. I leaned down to see. 

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Judith and Phillip

Photo by Andrii Podilnyk on Unsplash

Phillip loved Judith. Not liked, but loved. Even in the third grade, when such feelings weren’t supposed to stir in boys. He loved her dark brown hair, with its pageboy cut and bangs, the way it moved when she shook her head. He loved her brown eyes that sparkled under the fluorescent lights of the classroom, the brown freckles strewn across her nose and cheeks, and most of all her smile when she looked at him. 

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On Poetry

Photo by Robin Spielmann on Unsplash

As a believer in Christ, I struggle often with what feels like the split personality of faith, what Paul described aptly as “a body of death.” I do what I don’t want to do, and I don’t do what I want to do. I am flesh and I am spirit, I am old and I am new. In parallel, as the body of Christ (the church), we are so frequently broken, unloving, impatient, afraid, and reliant on outside systems to provide our security. We know our name but we don’t act like we own it. My struggle to find a place in this often unhealthy body, to love it and call it by name even in its brokenness, mirrors my struggle to accept my name as a child of God in the face of my own daily brokenness.

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Stranger At The Gate

Photo by Marco López on Unsplash

The second time I saw the aged gentleman was at the gate where my wife and I were waiting to board our flight back east. He had been pushed there in a wheelchair by a muscular sheriff, equipped in full gear and accompanied by a social worker. I could understand the social worker’s presence, but a sheriff’s? Law enforcement did not fit the scene I had witnessed the first time I saw the fragile but well-dressed figure, an hour earlier, standing unsteadily in the queue at the airline’s check-in counter, just ahead of me and my wife.

He was alone and should not have been. Shrunk down with age, he was standing alongside a rolling walker as if he were balancing on thin ice. He would inch a tentative step or two closer to the walker and then slightly stoop to grab support from one of its handle grips. The walker sometimes wiggled on its small wheels as he moved like this. Then as if having second thoughts, he would release his grip and stand as straight as his frail frame allowed, for as long as possible – never for long.  

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