When the Light Turns Blue


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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Reading and Writing

My four year-old sits quietly in the pew with his pen and paper. All around him, the sanctuary is dark and full of mystery. 
His slow hand moves and concentrates across the space and centimeters of paper. I hear deep, unspoken conversations taking place between him and the lines and shapes. 
He works like a surgeon, speaks from behind a mask. On my side of childhood, words can get lost here.

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Lord, I’m Listening to You, Too.

Lately, my wife and I have listened to problems fall down and stack up around us like walls of Lego blocks. So if we can’t see over them right now, could we at least listen to something different?

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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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The Joyful Force

In the fresh, buttery light of morning, a door cracks open from a two-storied brick home. A small boy shuffles away from his cereal-eating and teeth-brushing to descend the steps of the front porch.

He waits for mom on the sidewalk. As the sparrows shoot from the shrubs, his head and body whirl around like R2D2 wearing an oversized backpack.

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“Just eat it.”

“I’ve come to believe that we expect too little of teens. We ask them in school to dissect Shakespeare; what are we asking them to do with their faith?” — Laura Leonard

This is a frustrating, difficult question. But we should still ask it. I currently teach in a small, rural high school, where a Christian walk is assumed and expected of everyone for the most part. Unless you’re one of “those” kids, that is.

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