Eyes to See

 

Recently, I decided to drive through Winnipeg's North End. I wanted to see for myself the part of the city that everyone tells me to avoid.

I saw heartache, felt it as a woman leaned against the dirty brick of an old hotel in a known prostitution district, where rooms are rented by the hour. Another woman with orange-red hair walked in front of my car. Her eyes gambolled beneath a glaze of overstimulation. She barely made it across the street. Old men with long, frizzy beards stood on the sidewalks, their net worth bundled up in shopping carts.

No one wants to see this desperation.

So we chase after the larger city, a Winnipeg lined with beauty. Continue reading

Valerie’s Got It Covered

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The sun enters my classroom after my students leave, and I’m thankful once again for how light can melt the side of my cheek.

Valerie parks her heavy custodial cart just outside my room. Through the window in the door, I see her unroll and tear off two trash bags. She reaches for the doorknob.

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Stretching a Prayer

This is my seventh hour in the classroom, and the sun surprises me, clearing up my coffee mug with fresh peppermint tea.

Today even the boys band together. They’re wearing pink t-shirts for a reason. Especially the basketball players. One sits at the back of my room. But he’s not reading, at least not like the others.

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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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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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Praying Hands

A heavy heart operates its hands like a small fleet of construction trucks. Together, they build or destroy.

They move as the heart guides them. They take on many works.

The illustrated hand that I included for today’s post is one I created with a very unprofessional hand. But as I drew it, I wondered what the other hand was doing.

My wife, though, said it looked like a raptor when she saw it.

This morning.

Maybe because the news this morning was awful. Continue reading

Praying With Bill

Meet Bill. Bill likes kids. Bill likes our kids. Our kids really like Bill.

And, now, I really like Bill, too.

Bill’s a praying mantis. I met Bill Saturday. I brought Bill inside to meet my family. We had a great time. We decided to keep Bill.

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