Once We Give Them Feet

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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.

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When the Light Turns Blue

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The coffee shop is a good place to begin a long walk of conversation. We begin ours with muddy Caffè Americanos.

Nate and I leave for a long walk along the canal. The trail leads us through melting snow and uncomfortable slush.

Occasionally, we stop, place our noses near our cups. Drink. And move on, stepping over a glassy black puddle whenever it comes.

I do most of the talking today, and the words roll off my tongue like vapory white ghosts. I watch how the voiceless thoughts take on new shapes when they’re delivered by the warmth of my breath.

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Even If China Attacks

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.

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Moving

I used to talk to myself a lot during my college years. Maybe I had too much time on my hands. But our conversations were sometimes illuminating. 

Sometimes.
 
It was a sunny day, early in the fall semester. I sat beside a window on the library’s top floor. My limbs weighed heavy with pressing questions, the ones about distant destinations. From my oversized chair, I saw how the laurel oaks were shedding their leaves and already covering up paths. Was one of them mine?
 
I wanted out of that library.
 
The weight of my books didn’t matter. Back then, I needed only a single leather strap over my shoulder to tote around everything that mattered. My blue Jansport fit like a good home, still mobile enough for me to move.

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Writing With My Stronger Hand

A blank page is often black and full of clouds. And when the veil of watery voices rolls across the moon like a dark tide, the writer in me struggles toward the light.

But the fog is thick and filmy, and there is no speaking or writing in its haze. A pale glow sinks, or settles, far beyond the margins, drowning out any light with negative self-talk, shadowy and opaque.

Telling me that I’m trapped. Not good enough. Even guilty.

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Brace Yourself

Soon after our first child was born, the doctor informed us that Henry might have congenital hip dysplasia.

Aside from that, he appeared perfectly healthy. Even so, Mom and Dad left the hospital with a small limp of anxiety.

Another doctor confirmed the diagnosis a few weeks later. As a new parent I knew Henry’s first step was still many months away, but now it wobbled with a new kind of uncertainty.

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A Prayer That Fits

A few years ago Hoosier politicians legislated a moment of silence into the school day. But don’t worry. Those three seconds are not interfering with student learning.

In fact, they could stand an extra shot of espresso.

Because silence is a weak drink these days. In the classroom, in the workplace, and in the home, people are thumbing their noses at it.

Like it’s some kind of cheap coffee.

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