As You Go

You’re leaving this week, and I’m a little short of breath.

In a twist of timing, all three of you precious ones are home and then leaving within a week’s span. You have all left before, and we said goodbye. Then hello came again. And here we go once more with cars full of bed sheets and laundry baskets stuffed with Cup of Noodles. New adventures await, and the timing is right.

But before you go, take a deep breath.

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Storming the Castle

The mortarboard has been tossed, the tassel turned, the gown gone. We sat in a stadium full of pride, parents up in the bleachers hovering over their kids one last time. As if designed by Zach, Cal Poly’s graduation was efficient: short speeches, spaced seating, punctual pronouncing.

Forgoing the usual thousand-named alphabeticals, the first to arrive were the first to leave, having passed through a dual-threaded system of readers and diplomas. An hour later he was done; two hours later draining a keg with college friends and their aghast parents.

He starts his career next week, but I’m already sitting at his desk, wondering how we got here so fast. I know most middle children aren’t used to the spotlight, so I hope Zach has his sunglasses on for the next few minutes.

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The Connecting River

As she drives from Atlanta, away from a city church in the city lights, the darkness frames a distant memory: stars.  Not just the dippers, but “stars between stars, a virtual curtain of stardust upon which the larger constellations were hung.” She’s following these stars to a one-room white clapboard church where she will become its first female rector.  She’s also driving away from a certain striving – which it turns out, will follow her anywhere.

LeavingChurchThis beautiful book by Barbara Brown Taylor (BBT) offers a rare transparency from a person inside the clerical robes.  The countryside speaks to her faith. Its pages are full of spiritual honesty and earthy appreciation, as if Henri Nouwen were on a nature walk with Mary Oliver. Continue reading “The Connecting River”

Who You Are

In the grand scheme of things, I’d only just found you, but today was our day. At age 24, I could barely call myself a man as I woke up for the last time as a single person.  Just out of college, I’d had a trip to South America, a year-long city mission in L.A., and a summer camp job bizarrely combining night security and children’s music.

I was finding myself, as they say.  I wanted to leave all Continue reading “Who You Are”

The People are the Promises

Today we visited a church to hear a family we love play music.  Man, the music was so good.  Filling the small, high ceiling sanctuary were the organs of gospel music and the cadence of Americana.  The fat and tender guitar riffs drifted into my soul.   God was pressing on me, as he had many times before in worship.  It nearly always took the form of tears, and this time was no exception.

Though the music was modern, some of the hymns were not: we sang “Standing on the Promises”, familiar from my childhood days at small Bible Chapels on the east coast.  Back in those days, I’d memorized God’s promises from scripture through clubs like Awana: “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.  The promises were God’s, given to a different people at a different time, but we were taught to take them on as our own.

But today I heard the promises in a new way.  Continue reading “The People are the Promises”

What I learned from my first PRIDE Parade

When I was a young parent, the beach we frequented hosted a Pride Festival once a year. On that day we would go to a different beach. I can’t remember all that we were afraid of, but the answer is probably somewhere close to everything. We didn’t know what our young child might be exposed to, so it was avoided. (To be fair, it also wrecked the parking)

As that very child came of age, the ineffectiveness of protectiveness was revealed. She is attracted to other women, and covering her young eyes would not change that. And so, twenty years later, I found myself volunteering alongside her at that very same Pride Festival. How did I get over myself?

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