Thoughts from March 12-16, 2018

Once a week I compile the reflections I’ve offered on Facebook into one blogpost. Here are the thoughts from the past five days:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

It’s been a long few weeks here in the Northeast, as any parent of any small child can tell you. Here in my part of Connecticut we are on snow day number TEN for the year. Lovely as my view out the window is, we were ready for spring and instead got walloped with three storms in a row, power outages, and kids who haven’t gone to school for a full uninterrupted week since October (I might be exaggerating, but I might not…).

We are at a stage in our family life where snow days aren’t as much a burden on me as they used to be. We enjoy the lazy mornings. We cuddle up and watch movies. I sneak away for a few hours to post things like this on Facebook. But now that our kids don’t need me to attend to them at every turn, now that a screen or some neighborhood friends or even a coloring book or a game with siblings can occupy them and I can do my own thing, I’ve started to think about the difference between being with them and observing them.

When I’m with them on snow days, I’m on the floor playing a matching game. I’m pretending to be Samantha, one of Marilee’s dolls. I’m reading one page out loud with Penny and then listening as she reads the next one. I’m dancing to Taylor Swift and painting fingernails. And it’s in those moments that we laugh together. It’s in those moments that they know I love them and that my love for them means enjoying who they are.

When I’m observing them on snow days, I bring my computer downstairs and they play or watch stuff or read on their own. I still enjoy them a lot of that time, but I’m not sure they receive that enjoyment. I still love them, but I’m not sure they receive that love.

Which all brings me back to the Christian idea that God is Emmanuel, which when translated means “God with us.” God is the one who gets down on the floor and plays, not the one who stands far off at a distance. God wants us to know that God loves us, God enjoys us, God listens to us.

What if God wants to be with you as a way for you to know God really loves you and takes great delight in you, like a parent who finds she actually enjoys her children?


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What comes to mind when you hear the words “Bible study”? For me, I get excited. I love school. I love literature. I love thinking about God. BUT I am starting to think that for many people those words are a non-starter.

They either signal boring, irrelevant, or intimidating.

Would you be interested in a group that reads a book from the Bible and talks about it, kind of like a book club? A group where intellectual curiosity (including respectful skepticism) is honored, where you learn something new, and where there is a possibility of spiritual growth? Where you aren’t expected to bring anything but honest questions and honest responses to the table?

If you would be interested in this kind of a group, what would you call it?


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I know you all have seen the cover already, but it is really fun to see the book available on Amazon.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

I read Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones–winner of the National Book Award–last year. It is worth reading on many levels with a strong main character, gripping storytelling, and compelling prose. BUT I just read Where the Line Bleeds, Ward’s first novel, and I recommend that one even more.

Where the Line Bleeds is set in the fictional town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. It’s a simple story–twin 18-year-olds graduate from high school and need to figure out what comes next. One of them, Joshua, gets a job at the docks. The other, Christophe, gets no response from the many job applications he fills out. He doesn’t want to go into the business of selling pot, but that feels like his only option.

As I write this, it occurs to me that there’s a moral dilemma at the heart of this novel, but it is not a morality play in any way. It’s a story–a beautiful, heart-wrenching, loving story–about two boys and their family and the way one decision leads to another and another until it feels like there was nothing to decide in the first place.

And then there are phrases like this one: “a loose rope of wind wound its way through the screen” or “the asphalt shimmered like a handheld fan down the length of the road” or “the air reminded Joshua of melting butter.” The prose doesn’t distract. It paints a picture of a world that makes this book read like a film.

I highly recommend it.


Friday, March 16, 2018

It’s certainly worth 2 minutes of your time to see this report about a man with Down syndrome who has just been hired as Boston Children’s Hospital as a full-time employee. Again, new frontiers and new possibilities!

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