Sand in the Gears

That malt shop in the sky

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 Posted in Faith and Life | 11 Comments »

Of all the reasons to cry, the “Beauty School Dropout” number from Grease probably shouldn’t make my list. Yet here I sit, surreptitiously mashing tears from the corners of my eyes just like Danny Zuko would have done, in his ...

A Word for Those Who Would Draw Near to Grief

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 Posted in The Sermons | 15 Comments »

An electric wire runs through her, scalp to sole, and this grief has stripped it bare. His despair inhabits him, and inside he is falling down a dark shaft, falling into himself, into the shadows there. And here you stand, and ...

Eulogy for Mama

Friday, October 11th, 2013 Posted in Faith and Life, The Sermons | 13 Comments »

My mother was born on April Fool’s Day, and I know there were times when she felt like the world was playing a joke on her. A more selfish woman might have considered me such a joke. My mother was drawn ...

Hell and Christmas

Sunday, December 16th, 2012 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 23 Comments »

There is nothing to be done but weep. Cry out for the children with bodies shattered, for the ones covered in blood not their own, for the ones who didn't die instantly. Cry out for those who fell protecting them. ...

On the passing of Sheriff Andy

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012 Posted in Fatherhood, The Artful Life | 3 Comments »

My first miserable year in graduate school I got a used television and paid for cable so I could watch four episodes of The Andy Griffith Show a day. My apartment mate, a math whiz with perfect board scores from Harvard, ...

A boy grows

Sunday, February 12th, 2012 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 5 Comments »

Yesterday was Stephen Caleb's birthday. He's twelve, and there are now only 364 days between him and the onset of teenagerism, which I associate -- at least among American kids -- with sloth and self-indulgence, ignorance and idiocy and all-around ...

More than bread

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on More than bread

When we don't think we can control some things we take charge of what we can. This is why the functionary fastidiously maintains a constant distance between his stapler and his tape dispenser, and why the abused child has a ...

Valley’s Light

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 Posted in Faith and Life, Greatest Hits | 22 Comments »

This morning I drove past the house where she died. The light today is the way it was then, a light that doesn't warn you how peace comes at a cost this day, how once she's sleeping she won't wake ...

The girl who is gone

Monday, March 7th, 2011 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 31 Comments »

I don't know the first thing about how to be a father to a fifteen year-old girl. Today is her birthday and if she had lived I would be puzzling this out, what I think about clothes and boys and ...

On suffering

Monday, January 10th, 2011 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 6 Comments »

If you believe God loves His children, and then you suffer something terrible and tragic, you have to face head-on the question: Is there God? Close on its heels comes the second query, just as hard: Why does He sit ...

Remembering Caroline

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 10 Comments »

Tonight is the night she shuddered out her last breath and left us holding the shell of a girl. I thought for a time it was to make me better, consumed as I am with me, and I thought maybe ...

Every day a memorial day

Monday, May 31st, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life | 4 Comments »

Yesterday the Eastern Orthodox celebrated the saints, and today many Americans celebrate fallen soldiers, and in the midst of remembrances of saints and soldiers I find myself thinking on a little girl who fought a great battle, and endured worse ...

Wishing homeward

Sunday, May 16th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 4 Comments »

I counted, and I've been in my office a total of fifteen minutes since sometime in April. I've been home maybe five days. DC, New Orleans, Atlanta, Detroit, DC, DC, DC. I suppose they'd all be nice to visit, if ...

Fourteen

Sunday, March 7th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 10 Comments »

You would have been fourteen today. Amidst the chaos of cobbled-together derby cars and robot obstacle courses and four sweaty boys we might have made a cake just for you. I would have made you spaghetti, because it is your ...

The weeping Christ

Thursday, March 4th, 2010 Posted in Theology | 2 Comments »

From David Bentley Hart's First Things article, "Tsunami and Theodicy," rightly called once again to our attention, in light of recent disasters, by Civitate: "I do not believe we Christians are obliged -- or even allowed -- to look upon the ...

Caroline

Monday, October 19th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 21 Comments »

Her suffering ended ten years ago tonight. A decade can take forever to pass, with each day stretching into the next into the next, yet you can come to the end of it and feel like all those things you ...

The Glass Child

Monday, June 29th, 2009 Posted in The Artful Life | 5 Comments »

If you're looking for a counterweight to my usual cheeriness, you might get yourself the latest issue of Ruminate, which has my short story, "The Glass Child." Here's the opening paragraph: This is the blood, David tells himself. He twists open ...

Past the words

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 Posted in Faith and Life | 17 Comments »

This weekend I lived at beautiful St. Fidelis Church, situated unexpectedly on the Kansas plains. Oddly enough, I never went inside the church proper, but I'm told there's a large mural behind the altar, of Fidelis being butchered by Calvinists. It ...

Here and gone

Saturday, March 7th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 8 Comments »

The sky is steely grey, with sunshine spilling through where it can, at odd angles. It always finds a way through, this sun. She would be thirteen today. I can't imagine that little girl as a teenager. She has a house full ...

Nine years later

Sunday, October 19th, 2008 Posted in Faith and Life | 23 Comments »

What would make you remember, if you didn't know the date, if you had been so crazy during all of it that the calendar became an alien language, like small talk and plans for the future, would be the slant ...