Monday, September 18, 2017

Looking Down



Based on Luke 19:1–10

     “Hey Zacchaeus, how’s the weather down there?” The kids giggled as they ran away. Another short joke. He’d heard them all a thousand times. Children should treat adults with more respect. Especially successful businessmen, like himself. But these little monsters probably took their cues from their parents. Everyone turned up their noses at tax collectors. Most adults spat out the job title like a curse word.  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Laughter in the Doctor's Office


I was sitting in the oncology waiting room for a follow-up visit after surgery. I hadn’t started chemotherapy or radiation yet, and was waiting to meet with the doctor to get clearance to begin treatment. It was a small waiting room and everyone looked very serious--cancer is serious business. We were mostly avoiding eye contact with each other as if in the hallway waiting to meet our elementary school principal, knowing we were in big trouble.
     In the middle of this bleakness my brother whispered in my ear, “You can have my hair.” What? “You can have my hair. When you lose yours, you can have mine.” I looked at his golden head. He was wearing his long hair in a very nice style fresh from Los Angeles. I pictured myself for a moment with his hair, my face with his flowing locks. Then we both cracked up.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Am I Prejudice?



In 1994, somewhere between five hundred thousand and one million people were murdered in Rwanda during the genocide against the Tutsi people. I was twenty-four years old. I heard the stories on the news. I prayed for them. But I felt distant from their circumstances.
Years later I met a missionary who had lived in Rwanda. During that tragic season in Rwanda’s history, she and her family and a small group of expatriates were holed up in a government building protected by the French military. As they waited for evacuation, a few Tutsi waited with them.
The building was on a hill.
As they waited they heard chanting. It started low at first, and then grew louder. A guttural, tribal war cry. The missionary shuddered as she remembered the sound. A group of Hutu armed with machetes was making its way up the hill, killing all the Tutsi in its path.
Weeks before, the Hutu and Tutsi worshipped together in the same small church. But that day, neighbors were murdering neighbors.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Free



Based on Mark 5:24–34.

How many years had passed since she felt normal? She’d lost track. The doctor appointments, trial medications, and quack therapies all merged into one long blur of disappointment. She just kept getting worse … and her pocketbook more empty.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Losing Heart



Amy was always a good fighter. When we were young we would do physical battle. It would start out as a wrestling match, sparring, a test of our strength. Then one blow would fall a little too fiercely and war would break loose. I distinctly remember Amy’s mom admonishing us, “Little girls should not fight.”
One winter we built an igloo on Amy’s front lawn. It was a glorious snow dome with one room and a tunnel door. We enjoyed it immensely until we got mad at each other, probably over something trivial. Then Amy said I couldn’t play in the snow fort anymore. “But I helped build it” I said. “It is on my property” she countered. War. Punches flew. Half nelsons, full nelsons. Tumbling, tumbling, tumbling right through the roof of our snow fort. It was destroyed.
Amy was fierce, a worthy opponent. That is why it was particularly hard to hear defeat in her voice during some of the difficult days of her illness.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Man in the Ceiling



Based on Luke 5:17–26

He felt ridiculous and thought his situation ludicrous. Yet, he knew life was often compiled of absurdities. He was a keen observer of his world, often blending into the background, privy to the actions people concealed from others. 
Perhaps they believed his presence merely a background prop, a non-threat. He understood. He rarely drew attention to himself, his body continually still. He was paralyzed. Yet though his body was useless, his mind was active. So as the people passed by, some treating him as nothing more than a piece of furniture, he took it all in: their movements, nuances, lilting steps or self-assured heavy footfalls.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tattoed



     I went to my first radiology appointment and sat in the exam room with the nurse. She explained the procedure and asked, “Any questions?” No. By this time I had adopted the philosophy that if I didn’t ask questions there would be no answers I didn’t want to hear.