The Strength of Wind and Water

My sneakers kicked a path through the walnuts and conkers. My feet cut through brittle leaves and marrow-less sticks, stirring up dry, airy echoes, which snapped or crumbled into the broken black earth.

Before dusk, my family went for a slow walk through the woods. From time to time, I snuck in a little deeper. I went ahead or off to the side.

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How Are Your Grades?

What if God decided to assess our spiritual performance by using nine-week grading periods?

Or, if the Trinity preferred, trimesters could be instituted, with some form of cumulative assessment at the end of each.

Either way, everybody knows when these terms come to a close. The rectangle yard of my desk usually serves as a harbinger. There, unmarked papers start multiplying like white bunnies, while those with red streaks huddle together next the computer, waiting to be placed in their cage.

Why must it take so long to stuff them inside?

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Rubbing My Eyes

I’ve been bludgeoning my students for years. It’s a hard lesson, but they’ve got to learn it.

“Look for the good,” I tell them, again and again, until they’re good and bloody.

So why am I so passionate in wielding this aphoristic club? Partly because, once upon a time, those daily swings of grace finally provoked me to get out of a pit. That movement first began with a single Post-it note nailed down to my desk at school. I determined to jot down a few good moments for which I could be thankful. In the beginning, I discovered them slowly.

One or two words at a time.

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A Child Who Leads

Jumping and pointing, my son couldn’t stop shouting. “Daddy, a rainbow! Daddy, there’s a rainbow! Look!”

Once I saw it, something in me felt like shouting, too — though not quite as loudly as a four year-old.

Granted, my spirit was already primed for a celebration as we walked out the doors of our church yesterday evening. My wife and I had just finished Continue reading

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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“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

The song fell from the sky like a life-preserver. Not to release me from my environment, but to steady my perspective.

Yesterday I sat among the Lego shards of a primary-colored catastrophe. As two preschool-aged children stumbled and sifted through the ruins, their vulture-like screams blasted across the blocks. Barefoot, Henry stepped on pointy ridges. And victimized, James writhed as his older brother pillaged his stockpile of shiny, glasslike plastic pegs. Continue reading