“This is the race,” the woman said. As we had waited on our lunch food, I had gotten to talking about the leviathan dominating my anxieties: next month’s Chicago Marathon. After 5+ months of training, we were in our final, grueling weeks. … Continue reading
The Mercedes Benz-branded Superdome appeared like a giant roadside psychotropic mushroom. Funny. I haven’t realized the mark of unparalleled luxury dominating the side. M-B got the naming rights in 2011. Well after the Dome supplied emergency shelter to poor victims … Continue reading
On Syria I’ve been like Lady MacBeth wringing her hands about the ‘dreaded spot’. What to do? What to do? I live in a divided household. We are a microcosm of the American public — my husband believes a strike … Continue reading
Ring, ring, It’s Pope Francis calling. Apparently the busy pontiff has enough time to actively reach out to hurting people around the world. Last week the Huffington Post noted that ‘cold-call Pope’ could be added to Pope Francis’ long list of nicknames … Continue reading
Our church community just finished a series called, “The Things that make for Peace”. It was killer.
I mean I think we really hit the mark with it. People loved this peace series! Bull’s eye. We bit the bullet and went for it – discussing peace with our neighbors, our enemies, ourselves, our God.
I was shooting someone an email later when it hit me: we never drilled down to the elemental level of how we construct our world. I hadn’t touched at all on the primary ways we express who we are, what we’re doing and what we want. To wit: I never talked about how violent words are entrenched in our everyday discourse.
It wasn’t that many years after my kids learned the power of words that they soon began learning the allure of “bad” words. Cuss words, “go to hell” words, and the various anatomical words were tantalizing to them.
Even though I tried to ban most of them, parents know that language takes on a life of its own. So I gave what I thought was real world advice: use these ‘bad’ words sparingly. Sometimes they are the right word. But they’ll only be powerful if you use them rarely.
I was getting a bead on someone the other day when it occurred to me how normalized bloodshed, aggression and brute force are. “The project blew up right in front of me!” Whether it’s Walt White or last week’s photos of downtown Cairo; from office communication to nightly dinner discussions, I speak with violent passion and issue my analogies like a sailor.
I’m not going to become a peace-nick, not today anyway. But I do want to try and better align my values with my words. Beginning with the simple awareness of how I say what I say. Explosions are more powerful when they rarely happen.
You can let me know if I’ve hit the target.
In preparation for the Chicago Marathon, our little team of charity runners faced our first 15-miler yesterday. I started early. Before sunup. I figured 15 miles would take me a good 3 hours. Three of us started together, but as is the custom, by mile 3 our paces have stretched out, and I’m alone with Ira Glass in my ear.
I started losing it around mile 9. It was going on 8 AM, the ginormous sun racing upwards momentarily distracted me while I wondered if I had put on sunscreen and if that grain in my teeth was a trapped gnat. But it was at mile 10 when I believed God had appeared in the form of a golfer.
I was heading back home (“Every step is a step home! I chanted). And oh, was I starting to fade. My chest was heaving, my legs were like concrete. Then I glanced up at the golf course fronting that section of the lakefront path and saw a middle aged golfer giving me a ‘thoughtful, probing’ look. It was the “Keep going” look. The “I’m with you. You can do it!” look.
Had God directed someone to encourage me right then? Right when I thought I couldn’t go further? My husband howled with laughter when I told him this. Well, he laughed after that concerned, anxious, ‘oh my god’ look left his face.
Then, at mile 12, just when I was in most need of water, taking a different route than I normally take, suddenly a water fountain appeared. Almost hidden in the mondara plants, a spigot of hope I had never seen before.
I made it home. Running 14.5 of the required 15, and limping the last hundred yards, I made it home.
I don’t know. I’m sure these are random moments. (I’m not going to even bother telling you about the last ‘visitation’ at mile 13. Let’s just leave that for another time). But I will say, this running thing is about more than the physical. It’s a head game. A mental challenge. And ultimately, a test of dogged hope.
More on that later. Today is our day of rest.
It’s that time of year. Graduations. Weddings. The ones you love the most move toward new opportunities, new cities, new beginnings. And you are left with memories, moments of a former time, happy celebrations….and, likely…regrets. A family reunion forced me … Continue reading
Ah the memories of rocking with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Dancing in the weed-hazed air under the blinding sun of central Florida, TP, the Gainesville native, gave me a marching order. Gonna stand my ground. And I won’t back … Continue reading