A Longing in Stone

By | 2019-04-30T12:17:16+00:00 May 13th, 2019|

“Ah, every pier is a longing in stone!” says a line in Fernando Pessoa’s Portuguese poem “Ode Marítima.” Pessoa’s pier represents the emotions we feel as a ship moves slowly away from us. The vessel departs but the pier remains, an enduring monument to hopes and dreams, partings and yearnings. We ache for what’s lost, and for what we can’t quite reach...

Love Won’t Stop

By | 2019-04-30T12:15:16+00:00 May 12th, 2019|

After I turned nineteen, and years before I owned a pager or a cell phone, I moved more than seven hundred miles away from my mom. One morning, I left early to run errands, forgetting our scheduled call. Later that night, two policemen came to my door. Mom had been worried because I’d never missed one of our chats. After calling repeatedly and getting a busy signal, she reached out to the authorities and insisted they check on me...

Beyond the Neighborhood

By | 2019-04-26T16:29:04+00:00 May 3rd, 2019|

In the summer of 2017, Hurricane Harvey brought devastating losses of life and property to the Gulf Coast of the US. Many people provided food, water, clothing, and shelter for those in immediate need. The owner of a piano store in Maryland felt prompted to do something more. He considered how music could bring a special kind of healing and sense of normalcy to people who had lost everything...

God’s Retirement Plan

By | 2019-04-23T12:14:33+00:00 April 28th, 2019|

Archaeologist Dr. Warwick Rodwell was preparing to retire when he made an extraordinary discovery at Lichfield Cathedral in England. As builders carefully excavated part of the floor of the church to make way for a retractable base, they discovered a sculpture of the archangel Gabriel, thought to be 1,200 years old. Dr. Rodwell’s retirement plans were put on hold as his find launched him into an exciting and busy new season...

Enjoying Beauty

By | 2019-04-23T12:08:07+00:00 April 27th, 2019|

The painting caught my eye like a beacon. Displayed along a long hallway in a big city hospital, its deep pastel hues and Navajo Native American figures were so arresting I stopped to marvel and stare. “Look at that,” I said to my husband, Dan. He was walking ahead but I hesitated, bypassing other paintings on the wall to gaze only at that one. “Beautiful,” I whispered...

Not Like Yesterday

By | 2019-04-18T15:44:31+00:00 April 25th, 2019|

When our grandson Jay was a child his parents gave him a new T-shirt for his birthday. He put it on right away and proudly wore it all day. When he appeared the next morning in the shirt, his dad asked him, “Jay, does that shirt make you happy?” “Not as much as yesterday,” Jay replied. That’s the problem with material acquisition: Even the good things of life can’t give us the deep, lasting happiness we so strongly desire. Though we may have many possessions, we may still be unhappy...

Seeing the Light

By | 2019-04-18T11:30:19+00:00 April 23rd, 2019|

On the streets of Los Angeles, a homeless man struggling with addictions stepped into The Midnight Mission and asked for help. Thus began Brian’s long road to recovery. In the process Brian rediscovered his love for music. Eventually he joined Street Symphony—a group of music professionals with a heart for the homeless. They asked Brian to perform a solo from Handel’s Messiah known as “The People That Walked in Darkness...”

Second-Wind Strength

By | 2019-04-16T16:55:22+00:00 April 22nd, 2019|

At the age of fifty-four I entered the Milwaukee marathon with two goals—to finish the race and to do it under five hours. My time would have been amazing if the second 13.1 miles went as well as the first. But the race was grueling, and the second-wind strength I’d hoped for never came. By the time I made it to the finish line, my steady stride had morphed into a painful walk...

Washed Clean

By | 2019-04-16T16:49:14+00:00 April 21st, 2019|

I couldn’t believe it. A blue gel pen had hidden itself in the folds of my white towels and survived the washing machine, only to explode in the dryer. Ugly blue stains were everywhere. My white towels were ruined. No amount of bleach would be able to remove the dark stains. As I reluctantly consigned the towels to the rag pile, I was reminded of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah’s lament describing the damaging effects of sin...

Who Is That?

By | 2019-04-15T16:53:46+00:00 April 20th, 2019|

When a man installed a security camera outside his house, he checked the video feature to ensure that the system was working. He was alarmed to see a broad-shouldered figure in dark clothing wandering around his yard. He watched intently to see what the man would do. The interloper seemed familiar, however. Finally he realized he wasn’t watching a stranger roam his property, but a recording of himself in his own backyard...