The Kindness Mandate

Be kind. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden. -Ian MacLaren Today I met a woman with a story that stung. Her daughter gave birth to her first grandchild, a beautiful boy. Sheer joy. But immediately the problems started. The little boy could not suck or swallow. After days of tests and anguish, during…

The Prophet in Solitary

What if you were locked up for twenty-seven years? I am listening to the radio, and a man is talking about his advocacy for prisoners in solitary confinement. He receives, he says, fifty letters a day from men in solitary. He reads from several letters. The one that has my jaw hanging slack comes from…

When the Game Breaks Down

We often speak about life as a game. If we’re going to succeed or “win,” we have to have determination, zeal, a willingness to fight and prevail against all comers. But tucked into the corners of that metaphor is also the sense that human life in society is governed by artificial rules or expectations—the kind…

Overthinking the Miracle

This morning the rains doused everything and then moved on. The clouds broke and the early morning sun broke through. Coming low off the horizon it backlit a wet landscape. I looked out and saw the bare and black tree branches dripping with tiny water droplets and in the brilliant sun they appeared as a…

The Glory of Nothing

In the first blush of the season of Epiphany, I think I had one today. I was talking to a friend on the phone last week. He said, I’m not really enjoying work. My commute to D.C is a bear. My work life is winding down toward retirement. But what am I good at these…