Reflecting on the Reflecting Pond of Life

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Cor 13: 12-13.
A picture of imperfect reality. History, humanity, as a reflection in a pond or lake. The dust, the rocks, the flesh and bones, are all real above, only water and image in reflection.  The landscape shifts. Colors brighten or dim. Sunny days or cloudy ones. Stormy darkness. Warmth or cold. Seasons that are warm for me may be cold for others.
Reality is more than appearance, more than reflection.
The weather is perfect–sunny and breezy, low 80’s and low humidity. We are carefree. On vacation. Nurturing grandchildren with amusement parks, exposure to various cultures, family history, educational experiences. A chance encounter on a busy road.
And there he stands. A bearded homeless man with a sign that says simply, “Hungry.” Definitely a new cultural experience. Continue reading “Reflecting on the Reflecting Pond of Life”

A Price to Our Humanity

The woman stood in front of the church to tell her story. She had never spoken to such a large group before. I was in the auditorium “by chance” that day. I had come to hear my grandchildren sing. But an extended conversation in the hallway meant I missed my intended purpose that day.
I went home knowing I had been there for a reason very different from the one I had planned.
Her story drew me in. She had been pregnant for the second time. She spent weeks in bed nurturing a baby her doctors told her would never survive. And even if the child did survive, it would never walk, never be normal. Continue reading “A Price to Our Humanity”

Answering Only to God: Uncovering Truth about Child Sex Abuse

“I only answer to God.  Bishops don’t bother me.” George Foster.
My local community threw up in its collective mouth a couple days ago.
We are at a loss to understand how so many people could know about child sex abuse in our community and do nothing to stop it. Even work to hide it. To let it continue.
Central Pennsylvania has had its share of child abuse trials. Those of priests. Those of others.
Most notably concerning others, the walls of Old Main at Penn State in University Park, Pennsylvania, shook when the story broke that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of molesting young boys. Sandusky would be convicted the next year on 45 counts involving 10 boys.
He was a famous guy around here. He was beloved because he helped bring two national football championships to a program that had not grabbed the golden ring before. People liked him; they trusted him. That’s how he did it. Continue reading “Answering Only to God: Uncovering Truth about Child Sex Abuse”

BLOGPOST: The Secret Trauma of Abortion

I had a strange dream many years ago. Many aspects of it are unusual; the most unusual might be that I remember it so well. My dreams are usually as fleeting as the smoke from a blown out candle.
I was a young mother then. Only two of my five children had been born. In my dream, it was nighttime and I was lying down in the backseat of a moving car. I don’t know who was driving. Perhaps the car was moving of its own accord.
I was on my way to a nearby town–at the time the only place locally where abortions happened. The entire dream was comprised of the two car rides–going there and coming back. The whole way there, I knew that this something had to happen. “I have to do this,” my dreaming inner self said. Ironically, I had the sense that I had no choice. Continue reading “BLOGPOST: The Secret Trauma of Abortion”

The Economics of Freedom and Happiness

I had the great privilege once to meet Harry Wu, a Chinese dissident who spent 19 years in a laogai, a “re-education camp.” Wu was eventually exiled to America. He worked nights in a doughnut shop until he could learn English and become the voice for freedom that he is today.
Something he said then still resonates with me. “A barefoot peasant can be happy if he is free.” Happiness and freedom go hand in hand. In “The Grand Inquisitor,” Fyodor Dostoevsky presents what at first seems like a different view. Continue reading “The Economics of Freedom and Happiness”

Freedom Nobody Can Take Away

“There you are, Ivan Denisovich, your soul is begging to pray. Why don’t you give it its freedom?” (161) 
In One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, author and Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn presents Ivan, a man yearning to be released from the Soviet gulag. Near the end of the one day the book depicts, Ivan has a conversation with Alyosha, a Christian whose joy defies the prison atmosphere.
In their exchange, Ivan acknowledges the existence of God but he’s seen corruption in the church. Alyosha replies, “It’s because their faith is unstable that they’re not in prison.” Only those with steadfast faith go to jail. Only the faithful pay a price. Continue reading “Freedom Nobody Can Take Away”

Forests, Valleys, Mountains, Rain, and Sunshine

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful, Colossians 3: 15.
Twenty years ago today, I married my best friend. Only then we weren’t quite best friends yet.
God had brought us both through nasty forests before we could be together. But once we married, life was not all sunshine. There were mountains to climb and valleys to endure. Sometimes life rained trials. Continue reading “Forests, Valleys, Mountains, Rain, and Sunshine”

Carrying Treasures into the Light

In 1894, a new play opened in on the London stage. Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest addressed social concerns, gender, wealth, and status issues.
The story centers around a character with a questionable beginning. Jack Worthing doesn’t know who his biological parents are. Until he does, he cannot marry the girl of his dreams. His shady secret?
He was found in a train station–having been abandoned. Jack Worthing finally finds his mother–and his worth. Today, social status and parentage aren’t as closely connected as they were for Jack or Oscar Wilde. But the world today is finding no shortage of abandoned children.
In 1993, a federal study said 22,000 US mothers abandoned their infants in hospitals every year. Today, the nation isn’t even keeping track of the numbers. Continue reading “Carrying Treasures into the Light”