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. I thought about my parents, and their parents, great uncles and aunts and more, who sang similar hymns. While cleaning the garage just a day earlier, I’d come across an envelope of cards sent to me on my first few birthdays from these very people. “We’re praying for you every day… we think of you often… we love you”. Besides their signatures, the cards didn’t say much more, but seeing them some forty years later had caused me to weep. I could not have seen at age 3, as I could now, that they really meant it. They took joy in me, loved me, and through the years would constantly remind me how they prayed for me every day.
When I read the cards, the evidence of prayer seeds planted four decades ago, I was forced to ask, “Were those prayers answered?” Continue reading “The People are the Promises”
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?
Continue reading “What I learned from my first PRIDE Parade”
A24 Films have done it again, first horrifying us by exposing our high school hearts @ladybird and now a disturbingly honest portrayal of @eighth grade. Spend your therapy money on seeing this film twice.
That is, if you’re ready to revisit 8th grade. Continue reading “Eighth Grade”
From a skyward Seattle hotel room, I watch strangers walk in the rain, past a McDonalds drive-through painted into the parking lot like a toy playset. The gray and drizzly afternoon is filled with people going about their business. They move on, oblivious to the cartoon duck overlooking the “Duck Rides” touring company, an old relic now penned in by modern high rise buildings and greyish-green hills beyond. People on the way home from work, looking neither left nor right, not knowing who they walk amongst, stepping unconsciously from one block to the next.
They don’t know she is about to hear her name called Continue reading “Walking the Sidewalk”
If the Return of the Prodigal Son were a theater production, which part would I audition for? After spending Advent immersed in the story, I know I could play either son well. But do I have what it takes to play the father?
I set out on this writing project without knowing it would end where it started: Continue reading “Living the Painting: Advent Week Four”
When the father runs off the front porch, down the pathway to meet the son staggering home – THAT is the Christmas story. All those months waiting on the parental porch, hoping for a return, praying into embrace, THAT is Advent.
Our Christmas morning wrapping-paper-flinging has always Continue reading “The Porch: Advent Week One”
The film Lady Bird transported me to places familiar: to high school, to trying to fit in and longing to get out. To shutting your parents out while hoping they would stay in. To driving nowhere, anywhere, just to fill the car speakers with the soundtrack of teenage friendships. To shopping in thrift stores and Continue reading “Lady Bird”