I’m folding up chairs because that’s what you do after eating lunch at church.
Or at least until you run into Harry.
Harry stops my work. He tells me that he and his wife, Margaret, have been praying for our family. They’ve heard something of the story surrounding our move to Winnipeg, but now Harry, 82, has some stories he wants to share with me. And he’s a much better storyteller.
on this day in Winnipeg even polar bears watch us from Broadway, and we sit and love on these historic steps leading up to our Hotel Fort Garry, and hold, for a time, icy bottles of cream soda and the condensation and rings drive us mad, with love, and people hit their brakes and honk at us, smiling at your wedding dress, here in the northern sunlight, but then we had to leave it in your parents’ basement, for a
time to cross
a country and then a sea of wild rye and nodding needles and the cold concrete at the border station, with its erect black uniforms, silver sunglasses and latex fingers and, the prairie wind howls, whips at the bare skin of our heart, raised today like a flag between two countries.
Oh, Canada burns like a cardinal against our snow.
and so we roar and stomp and leave one paw-print of red in our snow and then go to bed and wait for the visible light to change to faith, some smoldering, infrared glow.
Whitney Houston is gone. But I remember when she was alive in my family’s kitchen. As a boy, I was awestruck by the power of a Sony radio. My parents kept it high on a shelf, up next to all those red and yellow cookbooks and the potted green ivy.
Once I reached a certain age, I was allowed to touch the radio. My fingers stroked its walnut wood casing. I experimented with those clockwise and counterclockwise movements, exploring a world that went far beyond my small Indiana college town.
There, in the kitchen while helping my mom with the dishes, I heard a voice hit a frequency of celebration that only a soul lost and then found could reach.
Surrounded by the toil of clean and dirty dishes, I fell in love with The Voice.
I met Pastor Gary Miller last week at a nearby coffee shop. Isaiah 30 came up. He said he would be preaching on it next Sunday. That might be why our conversation centered around the battle imagery.
Either way, we gathered around a kind of flagpole, confessing our rebellion and oppression.
We talked about the difficult paths. Those behind us. And those ahead.
Here, Gary turns and leans his back against the brick wall. His white hair is long, tousled over like a prophet’s. He keeps that dark jacket on, but not because he’s anxious to leave. He simply sat down and wore what he came here wearing.
James runs past the front door of our church to find his coat. He sort of skids when he looks up and sees Jesus standing outside the tomb.
James slows, then stops, and pivots long enough to find the holes in the feet, and the ones at the wrists. He soaks up the image in the painting, quietly, without the help of adults. And then he’s off running again.