To the Prodigal’s Brother

I know your story well a familiar blend of nurture and nature— but I don’t know you, not really. Not your name, your interests, your fears (well, I can guess at them). Just your birth order– firstborn, a millstone. You don’t come out well in your story sad to say—not at all. Resentful, ungracious, even…

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Our Better Angels

“Please stop watching.”   The round, green eyes of my traveling companion flash as she whispers these words toward me. We are sitting in a crowded, delayed airplane stuck on the runway. Hot, stuffy, and impossibly close. Bodies of all sizes are wadded into same-sized seats like so many sausage parts stuffed into casings. The man next to me,…

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Lavish Affection

I don’t remember the exact moment I decided to stop regularly reading the Bible. Ironically, I think it was around the time I finished a “read the Bible in a year” plan, faithfully executed out of a sense of duty. This time through, something shifted for me, and I began to realize that scripture was…

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Grace Is the Way

She looked at me with tears in her eyes, as if she was seen for the first time. Between the tissue sopping up her wet face and deep sighs, she said, “I don’t know what I did wrong. I can’t escape his mental and emotional manipulation even though we aren’t even together anymore. I’ve been…

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Tailor-Made Grace

I hadn’t met her before this cold January night when we were sitting in a terribly outdated conference room on the fourth floor of a downtown hospital. She kept fidgeting with her hands, and her eyes darted between her text messages and the clock on the wall. Her bright red sweatshirt was the loudest color…

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A Gracious Pace

Eighth graders at my former middle school were asked to memorize Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” in English class. To be honest, I wondered why. Why was this poem required instead of Frost’s popular, oft-quoted “The Road Not Taken”? However, I didn’t create the syllabus, so I held my…

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May You Walk as the Woman in White

Who is the Woman in White? Is she you? Is she me? What does it mean to be the Woman in White? Is she respectfully standing in solidarity with other women as a declaration, or is she the ghost of a beautiful woman who was once scorned or betrayed? Does she represent purity, virginity, goodness, light,…

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The White Dress

Bagpipes resounded “Amazing Grace” as the June rain pounded the roof of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church. After the bridesmaids processed in pale pink tea dresses to the tune of “Canon in D,” the large wooden doors shut. Thunder clapped, marking the redemption of this day, the many dark chapters of our stories now expanding and…

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Navigate

My boys have not brushed their teeth in six days. How do I know, you ask? Well, their toothbrushes and toothpaste are separately sealed in reusable bags on the window seat in our bedroom since I unpacked six days ago. I’m tempted to let them go one more day at least, so they have the…

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