Archives For February 2017

A Life Still Worth Living

February 28, 2017 — 1 Comment

When theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS more than 50 years ago, his doctors told him he would live a short life–a few more years. He is now 75 years old.

Eight years ago, Irish filmmaker Simon Fitzmaurice faced a similar diagnosis–with a similar prognosis. Before he became ill, he had married. He had children. He had won awards. He had climbed mountains. But life gives us real mountains and metaphorical ones too.

Now he faced the mountain of debilitation.

After Fitzmaurice lost his ability to breath on his own, his doctor suggested removing his ventilator–letting him die peacefully. But Fitzmaurice said no. Continue Reading…

The Food of the Soul

February 24, 2017 — 1 Comment

Knowing the truth about God would lead to a purpose beyond oneself.

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“The Christian life, properly understood, cannot be merely a set of propositions agreed to, but must also be a way of life. And that requires a culture, which is to say, the realization in a material way–in deeds, in language, in song, in drama, in practices, etc.–of the propositions taught by Christianity. To be perfectly clear, at the core of all this is a living spiritual relationship with God, one that cannot be reduced to words, deeds, or beliefs,” Rod Dreher (emphasis his).

With little fanfare from the mainstream media, the Washington Supreme Court last week unanimously sided against Barronelle Stutzman, a 71-year-old florist who refused to provide flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding.

Stutzman has been battling the legal challenge, which threatens to relieve her of her life’s work and earnings.

She is appealing to the US Supreme Court. A ruling favorable to religious freedom seems unlikely since the court has already refused to hear an appeal from a New Mexico photographer, also sued for refusing service for a same-sex wedding. These cases are a harbinger of things to come.  Continue Reading…

For five children and me, times were dark. Then one of them lit a candle. You can light up a dark room, you know, with just a bit of humor.

A mere two months after their father left, my ten-year-old daughter told a story to her friends on the school playground. And because of our family history, they believed her.

That evening, my phone rang.

As I said, “hello,” my friend cried out, “Is it true?”

“What?”

“Are you having another baby?”

“What!?”

My daughter had told my friend’s daughter that the number of siblings in our tribe would increase. My friend and I pondered a moment.

Then we understood.

It was April 1.

Grace under fire. A child showed me what those words meant.

Thirteen years later, my phone rang once more. I knew at hello this call had joy in it. This same daughter had a wonderful lilt in her voice as she told me she and her husband were expecting their second child.

But a few months later, my phone rang again. A blood test had come back positive. Perhaps the child would have Down Syndrome. Doctors wanted to do a more invasive test.

“Come over for dinner tonight,” I said. “We can talk about it.” I knew that the test was not without risk. And the risk could be greater than the value of the information gained.

But when they got there, there was little to discuss. They wanted no part in an invasive test. They would welcome whoever was coming in whatever condition he would come.

“I would rather have a Down baby than no baby at all,” she said.

A few months later my phone rang once more. This time in the middle of the night.

It was time.

At the hospital, her labor seemed stuck. We walked around the hallway once. Then things began to happen quickly. So quickly that an emergency room physician rode up in the elevator just in time to attend the delivery.

A beautiful boy emerged. Perfect in every way.

What had the false test recognized? Not an extra chromosome. Perhaps an extra dose of talent and wit?

But the gift he is today would not be less if he had one more chromosome. It would only be different.

We are no less perfect in each of our imperfections.

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We are missing the underlying question. Treating the symptom rather than the cause of the problem.

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Snow Day

February 9, 2017 — 1 Comment

Time moves. Seasons repeat. But each new one is never the same as another.

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Doing a Hard Thing

February 7, 2017 — 1 Comment

An older woman invited him to her book club. It was a club of readers and he had become a reader. Nevermind that everyone else in the group was an over forty woman. Malcolm joined anyway.

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He was helping me carry my packages to my car. I was buying some items for a church group donation. We were collecting for a men’s group home in a nearby town. Most of the men there are homeless veterans making their way back into their communities.

This man was a veteran from Iran. That caught my ear. I’d never met a veteran of Iran before. Continue Reading…