Showing posts from January, 2017

Regarding Refugees

(in six acts) I.  I do not want to say anything at all. What can be said that is not simply more noise? More often than not, I resonate with Hamilton ’s Aaron Burr: “I’m willing to wait for it  I am the one thing in life I can control  I’m not falling behind or running late  I’m not standing still  I am lying in wait.”  “Talk less; smile more.”  But I cannot. II.  For the past year, I have been haunted by Bastille’s words: “Break the silence open wide  before it seeps into my ears  and fills me up from the inside  Now you’ve hit a wall and you’re lost for words  Now you’ve hit a wall and you’ve hit it hard  It is not enough to be dumbstruck.”  have haunted me for the past year. III.  This week, at conference, we’ve been studying Esther.  Mordecai’s words never cease to haunt: “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise…from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to th

The work of the secret Master of Ceremonies

In the midst of deadlines and sleep deprivation, many things these past couple weeks have felt asymptotically close to perfection. One of these is my "randomly assigned" roommate. To steal a line from Sherlock, she raises the IQ of the whole cohort. She provides me with the perfect excuse to procrastinate on homework by being an excellent (and continually surprising) conversationalist. And she brings so much laughter into my life. SO MUCH. Guys, this picture is never going to not be funny. [for the record, it's coffee grounds] In friendship...we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another...the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting--any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at wor

From Thailand with love

I'm not sure there are many times in  my life when, in the moment, I know that I am truly happy, when I am truly content to be where I am.  Not many, but certainly some. The air in Chengdu was disgusting. Getting to Chiang Mai was not really that way.  Traveling alone is not my favorite thing (although Natalie pointed out that I certainly do it a lot.  True.  But I still stress about it.)  My trip involved a bus to Dujiangyan and then another bus to Chengdu, a night in the hostel, a taxi ride to the Chengdu airport, a delayed flight to Kunming, running around trying to figure out how to transfer to international flights, a flight to Chiang Mai, and then a tuktuk ride to the YMCA.  Objectively, it went very well and very smoothly.  My backpack made it, I made it... but I was stressed the whole time.  The YMCA is in a different part of Chiang Mai than where I've been before, so I have no clue where anything around is.  The transition to Thailand always  throws me, because T

Seeing glory

Last night as I was playing around with a story, I realized: now I’m going to begin noticing every piece of metal work and glass work and craft in general and have this weirdly heightened interest in all things. Actually, this is one of the addictive things about story writing.  It pulls the blinders of familiar, taking-what’s-normal-for-granted off of my eyes for a time at least and lets me be enchanted all over again by the glory inherent in reality, the glory that is so pervasive and bright that I forget and walk through life with my eyes squinched mostly closed.   It makes me think of of G.K. Chesterton's words:   Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, 'Do it again'; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony

A word for 2017

One of my favorite parts of a new year is choosing a new word to grow in.  I have goals (quite a few, actually....) and I really appreciate having a single word to focus on.  2016's word was courage  and it was a good one for so many reasons.  I'm not entirely letting go of it and certainly not saying that I've attained the full measure of courage and boldness.  I have, if anything, become more aware of how difficult it is to choose the course of action that takes more courage and that I cannot expect that I'll do it by default. Anyway. It's 2017 now, and time for a new word. photo by Nathan Anderson Prodigal. Does it sound like a strange choice to you?  It does to me.  It's not really a word with positive connotations.  My computer's dictionary offers the following definitions: spending money or resources freely and recklessly, having or giving something on a lavish scale; a person who spends money in a recklessly extravagant way.   It also ref