Perhaps the strangest thing about motherhood, the part no one really told you, is how it takes up your space. How it hems you in.
How you used to start a day with endless choices and opportunities, and suddenly your options are limited by a tiny human who wants to eat at certain times, or needs you to get to sleep, or bring a cup of milk, or sing a song, or watch a duplo tower come crashing down and then wants help building it up again.
How you used to end the day with a soft collapse on your pillow, and now you tentatively lay down, shoulders still tense, ear cocked for a cry or a “MoooOOOOoooommmm!” How you wake up the next day with the same crick in your neck, to the same call.
There’s just not as much space. Continue reading
I’ve written before about this tension I always feel as a TCK between trying to be content where I am, and at the same time missing the place or the culture that I am without.
I read books about the spiritual discipline of rootedness, of staying in one place and getting connected even though it isn’t perfect (heck, I’ve even written about that!) … but it’s still always a struggle. I live in rented apartments and I get itchy and long to paint the wall, to pick out my own dishes, and not just use ones from Goodwill (because why invest?) I get tired of feeling like there’s no place that’s really mine. I want to build a nest. I want to borrow sugar from my neighbor.
But the other part of me wants to travel the world and live out of a backpack, and never settle anywhere. The thought of getting a mortgage makes me feel like I’m signing a death notice (even though I know you can always sell a house). As I accumulate stuff I am mentally thinking, “Will this fit in a suitcase?”
So I loved getting to read Tsh’s new book At Home in the World, where she wrestles with some of these same ideas. Tsh’s book is all about their family adventure of traveling around the world in a year. They go to China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Morocco, France, Italy, Croatia, Kosovo, Turkey, Germany and England…. all with three kids, all with one backpack each. Continue reading
I’ve been reading the book of Luke lately. In Luke Jesus does lots of cool things, and he tells these things called parables to the crowds who follow him. It made me want to write some of my own. These stories are made up. Don’t take them too seriously.
Jesus went with his disciples to the city, with a great crowd following him. A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the city gates. The boy, who had been shot and killed by a police officer, was the only son of a widow and many mourners from all over the city were with her. Continue reading
Author Julia Alvarez, who escaped the dictatorship in the Dominican Republic and came to America when she was ten years old, has said:
“I would go as far as to say that by reading books, entering other realities, and then taking those adventures back into our own lives, we are freedom fighters. One of the first things that happens in a dictatorship is that books are confiscated, people are not permitted to congregate and share ideas and stories… I know because I lived that reality in a dictatorship. You know it because you have lived that reality in the novel I have written or in other novels you have read about similar situations.”
The English major in me likes this idea. I wrote an essay my senior year about impoverished imaginations being the root of conflict and injustice, and if we read more stories, we would be come more human- humane. I like the idea that even though I’ve never lived under a dictatorship by reading and listening, really listening, to her story, I can understand something about the world, and humanity, and injustice. Continue reading
It was on Maundy Thursday that my husband and I began our pilgrimage in the south of France. Our walk on El Camino –the way. It was night, we were in an old stone church, hearing the readings about the children of Israel walking out of Egypt, and slavery, and starting their long walk to freedom. Continue reading
We are back again. This time it’s very early, and the sun is rising. And the kindly looking bishop takes the pulpit.
“Our scripture reading for today comes from the gospel according to John: “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”
Bodies matter. Disembodiment is evil. But we are people who believe in resurrection. Because Christ is raised from the dead, we believe that all will be raised. Resurrected to judgement or to eternal life. What I do in my body as a white person matters. And what happens to a black body matters. There will come a reckoning. Continue reading
Christ is dead in the tomb. Everything is suspended.The congregation is silent, sitting and mourning the death of Prince, a black youth murdered by a police officer (or all of us), and the death of Christ, murdered by jealous rivals (or all of us). Miroslav Volf steps to the front and speaks in a slightly European accent:
“It’s painful. Death is horrible. I know that you are speaking about his life having a higher purpose in order to make meaning for yourselves. To cope. You’re weaving Prince’s story into the larger story of your Christian faith, and you’re saying that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. That’s in the Bible, it’s true.
But stop! Continue reading
We are all gathered in a small chapel for our normal good Friday service, the candles are lit, the incense is ready, but then Ta-Nahesi Coates stands up in the middle of the service, faces the congregation, and begins to speak:
“When a black man dies, everyone wants to talk about forgiving the killer.They want to weave his death into some kind of higher meaning, some purpose. But I don’t believe in God. I believe in bodies. When I sat in the church Prince’s funeral, my black friend who was rich, well educated, whose mother had groomed him for Yale, when I sat there I couldn’t see a higher purpose in his death. Continue reading
Identity was the word of the year in 2015. Which I like, because I’m obsessed with thinking about how identity works in shaping our world. There’s people who think stuff happens in the social world primarily because people are rational and weighing the pros and cons and acting in their own self-interest. Then there’s people who still believe in altruism. And then there’s people who think people act not because of some rational thought, but because their actions line up with who they are. “I buy a Mac because I’m an Apple person.” “I’m a Twins fan because I’m a Minnesotan.” “I recycle because I’m a green millennial.” Continue reading
So, people have been asking for stories about Texas. And oh, how I want to comply. I have stories. I have stories about going to a rodeo, and the culture shock of all the American flag-waving, horse-riding, gun-toting, public-place praying, Mexican-immigrant joking that went on. I’ve been told that the announcer with his off-color jokes was particularly bad, and I shouldn’t judge all rodeos based on that one encounter. So I’m trying not to. Really, I’m trying.
And then there’s the fact that Texas public schools say a pledge of allegiance to the American flag and then…wait for it… the TEXAS flag, too! I did not see that one coming. I had to mumble through it before a room full of critical second graders. It was traumatic. Continue reading