Crash into me – June 5, 2009 | Part 1
I nod, looking at you, and when I turn my attention back to the road, I notice a red Mercedes convertible in front of me, stopped in the middle of my lane, its right blinker flashing. While we’ve been talking, I have been accelerating toward it, distracted by you. I pump the brake hard, and just barely, I manage to stop a foot from its bumper. Then time slows. I turn my neck to the right and look up into the rearview mirror. I see a white box truck coming up fast. I brace as it slams into the back of the car.
Come with Me – May 22, 2009
Jeremy: hey I've been looking at that conference... I got in touch with the guy in charge, and he sent me a schedule. me: So cool! Live jazz, bach cello recital, music collage, a play, "art as a gift to rehumanize the world"! This sounds like the sweetest conference ever. I hope you're going to go with me, because it'd be more fun to go with somebody I know. : )
Uninvited - May 14, 2009
I do not at all take to heart the passage from Mark 4 that we discuss at bible study the day before: “A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29, NIV) I ignore the truth it screams at me: growth is slow, imperceptible, out of my control. A seed can’t be rushed into a stalk into a wheat germ. I cannot prod it along with my tears and anxiety and journaling and library stalking, not even a little bit.
Even so, I am desperate for signs of change. Which is probably why, when your teenage sister texts – she got my number from you, and she wants to know if I’d like to come over to hang out with her – I think, sure, why not, and by the way, maybe I’ll just happen to see you while I’m at your house hanging out with your high-school aged sister. Surprise!
The Jesus in Mary Jane
I turned my nose up at my weed-smoking neighbors. I described them to friends as “old hippies,” I rolled my eyes at them, and I wondered, “Do they even have jobs? What do they do all day?” I even tried to root my feelings in my Christian faith. But Christianity has this sneaky core tenant about loving your neighbors, even the ones you don’t like. I actually believe that Jesus died for people who hated him, so I could not escape the pang in my gut that told me I was straight-up wrong in feeling so great about myself and feeling resentful toward them — I could not escape it, that is, unless I simply chose to ignore it.
That’s what I did: I ignored this gnawing expertly, just magnificently, until the day I actually met my neighbors.
I Care What Jesus Looks Like
For most of my life, I assumed Jesus was an effeminate white guy. Of course, that had something to do with the fact that every depiction I saw confirmed that: shoulder-length brown hair, blue eyes, creamy skin, clean-shaven face, slim figure. Basically, Jesus looked a lot like me.
Sacrifice | March 5, 2009
I have decided to give you up - no more wanting to be with you so bad that it’s all I can think and talk and pray about. From now on, surrender, no expectation, openness. Or, you know, as best as I can. And like Father Abraham, I decide to burn something to mark the moment – obviously.
Need-Machines - March 18, 2009 | Part 2
“So what is this passage all about, then?” says Suze. We all quiet and stare at the words again, looking for answers.
Anthony looks up suddenly, already grinning, and says, "Kids are need-machines!"
We all begin to laugh, and I glance over at you, trying to catch your eye. "What are you talking about?" I say.
"I get it,” Kristina says, nodding. “Kids are needy. They're not embarrassed to ask for what they need, right, babe? They're pretty bold, actually."
“Exactly,” says Anthony, who winks at Kristina.
Need-Machines - March 18, 2009 | Part 1
We six – you, me, Anthony, Kristina, Suze and Lis (AKA “Shack”) – sit in a circle on the carpet on your parents' living room floor, Bibles and theological commentaries on the book of Mark spread out in front of us. Our group has been slowly shrinking as it becomes less social club and more revival, and former members like Karen and the expert swing dancer have been getting too busy to come, and today even a few regulars can’t make it.
Hearing - January 28, 2009 - Part 2
“Is this your house?” I say slipping off my Chuck Taylors, and resting them near the pile of shoes that has formed in the tile entryway.
“No,” you say, “It’s my parent’s house… they’re letting me crash here so I can save up to buy my own place.”
“Cool. Nice sweater, by the way,” I say.
“You like it?" you say. I nod and smile: your sweater is grey wool with red and blue snowflakes covering your upper chest and shoulders. You look like you've walked out of a Swedish Christmas catalog from the '80s.
You smile proudly. "I just found it today at a thrift store. Three bucks for this!” you say, pointing at your chest.
“Great find,” I say. “I like to go thrifting myself.”
“Well, you’ve got to check out the Goodwills around here…” you say as someone calls you from the living room. You turn your head, and then look back at me—“I’ve got to check on that. Just head on into the living room whenever you’re ready. Put your coat anywhere,” you say, already walking away.