“Ben,” the African asylum-seeker whom we are sponsoring, has now been in detention in New Mexico for four months, waiting to be paroled or bonded out. As I’ve written before, he is part a cohort of a dozen or so Africans who came through Mexico and arrived at the border at about the same time—and the last one still in detention.
We’ve been talking regularly on the phone these four months. He calls us Mom and Dad in the African way (he’s actually about the age of our children). We’ve written letters, too. Sometimes it’s easier for Ben, who is a journalist, to express his feelings in writing. The one that came yesterday struck me profoundly. He gave me permission to share it. Continue reading
A few days ago I learned that the community On-Site Prayer Ministry was scheduling a vigil at the location of the shooting of Traychon Taylor, the one that took place practically in our backyard a few weeks ago and that I’ve written about here and here.
Since I’ve been doing my own vigil in my backyard rather sporadically (I’m easily discouraged by weather), this seemed like a next step in whatever might be unfolding. I looked forward to it. Continue reading
When you start out on something that seems promising but outside your comfort zone, you can easily lose momentum, chicken out. You hear the countering voices. What was I thinking? I am making too much of this. I’ve been feeling this about my little Traychon project, about the young man who was shot behind our house, which I wrote about just two days ago. Nevertheless, I have persisted in following my impulses or perhaps the Spirit. Continue reading
So this happened a week ago Sunday night, at around 10 pm as we were watching a movie at home: a pop-pop-pop that might have been gunshots or firecrackers. Fifteen minutes later I looked out a kitchen window and saw police cars, lights flashing, crime-scene tape, cops with flashlights behind our long backyard, in the street and in a parking lot that belongs to a business at the back edge of our property. Definitely, it had been shots.
I don’t want to go overboard on this Mayor Pete thing but when I examine myself and also look at the extraordinary response he is stirring in others I have to wonder what is going on, exactly. So do many analysts, like Amber Phillips in today’s Washington Post (Why is Pete Buttigieg so popular?). She puts forth the theories she’s gleaned: his novelty, the parts of his resume that appeal to liberals (he’s young, he’s gay), the perennial search for leadership from outside the Beltway, his potential to beat Trump (highly speculative at best but at least he seems unflappable), and finally, simply that he’s got “the intangibles.” Which means that the analysts haven’t come up with a name for whatever it is. Continue reading
With one of my literacy teachers (the tall one) and three of her students.
I recently realized that life in my 70s has a guiding question that could have come straight from Marie Kondo, the tidy-up guru, though I have never watched a single one of her TV shows or videos and my house still retains pockets of clutter.
In fact, I apply the question, “Does it bring you joy?”, more to my life as a whole than to my dwelling and possessions, though I make sporadic efforts to apply it there, too. I use it to tidy up my life, so to speak, to focus on the things I really want to do.
It has not been an easy question for me to answer. One reason that it guides me now is that my answers to it have evolved over the years and shown up in surprising ways that I would not have guessed in earlier times. Continue reading
I just finished a huge project, editing a memoir and taking it all the way through the self-publishing process. It is not my book. It is the memoir of a remarkable 91-year-old former missionary to Congo, Martini Reimer Janz. Stargazer’s Children is available—today!—on Amazon. It was a labor of love all around. Continue reading
I am just back from a 3-day Wisdom School on the Law of Three and I am seeing triangles everywhere.
Law of Three, in the Wisdom tradition of Christianity, is the theory that the most basic, most pervasive dynamic of life is a triangular dance among three kinds of forces: FIRST FORCE– affirming (positive, active); SECOND FORCE—denying (negative, passive); and THIRD FORCE—reconciling (neutralizing, transforming, catalyzing … etc.). The first two forces may end up in opposition but Third Force is present (though hidden) in the stalemate, and when it comes into play, change happens. Something new arises. Still, all three forces are necessary for that to happen.
This waltz is how things evolve on every level, from the subatomic to the universal. It is in the very nature of God (think Trinity as process more than persons). It operates at the level of the individual human psyche and in our interactions with each other. Continue reading
Last night as I was getting ready for bed I noticed my right hearing aid was missing. I have not lost a hearing aid for a very long time. I have developed hearing-aid awareness, that is, I can usually sense when one has become dislodged and might be about to drop. So how did this happen?
I went through the clothes I had just taken off and tossed in the laundry basket. I went through the whole laundry basket, twice, scrutinizing and shaking everything. I checked the chair and its surroundings in the living room, where I’d been watching TV with headphones and had just removed them. I checked the kitchen, where I’d prepared dinner. Vic had cleaned up nicely so I decided to go through the garbage and trash he’d discarded as well. That was messy, but I felt my way through all the coffee grounds and kale stems. Continue reading
The four months of not writing this blog were an accidental experiment. It started when I didn’t feel like writing because of all the body stuff going on. My suffering was never acute and it is not as bad as it seems to sound when I write about it. What I was doing in that last post was exposing the little complaints that linger under the surface of the good front that we all present to the world. Mine are no worse than most people’s. But laying it all out there has attracted a lot of sympathy and advice that seem to be out of proportion to my degree of suffering. Maybe that is because, for fear of seeming like hypochondriacs or complainers, we don’t usually expose our discomforts to each other. Our facebook posts are smiles and celebrations.
When I write anything longer than a facebook post, however, I am usually trying to get under the surface of things, and what has been there for the last four silent months has been physical discomfort. I didn’t find that an interesting topic to write about. And so I moved into this inadvertent experiment: What would happen if I just stopped writing? Continue reading