Sand in the Gears

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 ...

Lament

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 Posted in Faith and Life, The Sermons | 26 Comments »

When we tucked what remained of that little girl into the earth, I was relieved it was over. I was filled with something that felt like transcendence. We had weathered the storm, we had kept the faith, we had given ...

The prodigal and I

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 Posted in Faith and Life | 26 Comments »

I passed through Wichita today, which was no small thing for me, because on every corner is loss. That is the place we took our children to see a game not long before we divorced. There is the building where ...

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. ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Steadfast to this turn

Monday, January 4th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life, The Artful Life | Comments Off on Steadfast to this turn

This in memory of Peggy Rabb, who I knew only a little and a little while, but who was all kindness to me. In our first conversation we talked about things I have written and things she has written and ...

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 ...

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 ...

The Shape of Eleven

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 Posted in Faith and Life | Comments Off on The Shape of Eleven

She would have been eleven today. I would have made her favorite meal, which is spaghetti, and we would have had cake, probably something with pink frosting, and I would have eaten a slice even though I gave up sugar ...

A Whisper

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006 Posted in Faith and Life, Greatest Hits | Comments Off on A Whisper

The day after I wrote about the miraculous recovery of Caleb's goldfish, the damn thing up and died. We had a funeral service in the back yard, beside a tiny redbud sapling. I decided to make it a dual funeral, ...

Tracks

Wednesday, May 4th, 2005 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 8 Comments »

Some things are stitched through your life like a thread. I'm thinking of railroad tracks, which really are like threads, or perhaps great running scars. I learned to fear them when I was little; my grandmother would remind me often ...

Flowers

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005 Posted in Faith and Life | 10 Comments »

I keep finding tender purple pansies growing in corners of my yard where they were never planted. Stubborn and fragile, cheerful without cause, they remind me of Caroline. Purple was her favorite color. She used to help me plant the ...

Birthday

Monday, March 7th, 2005 Posted in Faith and Life | 23 Comments »

Sometimes when people learn that I have three boys, they say something like: "don't you want a little girl to go with all those boys?" I remember when we thought we were in the worst of Caroline's dying, after she ...

The Path

Tuesday, October 19th, 2004 Posted in Faith and Life | 1 Comment »

With a sigh she was gone, five years ago tonight. Somewhere in these last years it became true that the time since we lost her is greater than the time we had her. I've come to measure the years by ...

The Indian Princess Year

Sunday, March 7th, 2004 Posted in Faith and Life | 31 Comments »

I haven't written much about Caroline for the past year. I felt like I should just be done with this. So I put all my energy into other writing. But she is always there, lingering in the back of my ...