Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Crack that Saved Christmas

I don’t know what exactly happened nor when or how...

Nobody assumed responsibility for the crime.

Perhaps somebody sneezed.

Or coughed.

Or took a deep breath and exhaled too hard.

Or gave them a mean look?

Maybe there was no crime committed at all...

Maybe it wasn’t anything that happened from the outside that caused it.

Perhaps it was from the inside - the internal weight of the burden held by the delicate vessel over time… until it became too much...

Without a bump, a look, a cough, a sneeze or even a breath, the rocks cradled inside the glass vase became too heavy to hold in, and all of a sudden, all by itself, the vase... cracked




From the inside -

- OUT!

I know that most people do not walk around like see-through glass vases, revealing the burdens they carry inside their fragile frame. But the burden is there. And it is heavy.  

Ironically, Christmas season, despite all the good intentions of good people to bring 'good news of great joy', often makes the burdens even harder to bear.  The crushing weight of loneliness, illness, broken relationships, grief and loss is only intensified by the pressure to act happy regardless of how one genuinely feels on the inside.  

No wonder the cracks are appearing all over the carefully decorated facades. 

Tempers flare. Arguments erupt. Depression deepens.

Which makes me wonder if these cracks could be the best gift of the season, after all...

An invitation to forgo the rush…

Let go of the pressure...

Simply skip the pretense…

A call to pass over the unreasonable expectations and demands on time, wallet, physical, mental and emotional energy…

...and take a breath… 

...and another deep breath…

Until we can hear our own soul breathing again.

And who knows? 

The good Lord might surprise us and reveal that 

the Christ Child 

is already cradled there, 

just waiting... 

waiting for us to come... 

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Best Doctor in Town

I have something to tell you, Joe starts while shaking my hand vigorously, as if thanking me for a great favor I didn’t do for him. It’s a saying I heard on my last deployment… 

I am already getting used to his 'emphasis pauses'. I think it's his version of Jesus', Truly, truly. I play right along.

Yeeeesssss???? I am all ears. 

The doctor who has no patients is the best doctor in town.

He lets go of my hand, still looking straight at me.

I chuckle at the irony of the saying. It doesn’t seem to be in the best interest of the doctor to lose all his patients. And yet… it certainly doesn’t seem to be in the best interest of the patient to perpetually need to go to the doctor, as is the habit of some.

The point of his saying is slowly dawning on me, although there might be an entire lifetime to live it both in and out.

It's a wise saying, nonetheless, one I needed to hear as much as I did his No Parent! No Librarian! 

The Lord bless you Joe.  We can only give what what we have received. I feel like I have received much from this shaggy toothless prophet.

And you too, he beams, the carnage and the gold inside his mouth somehow transformed with the broad smile that lit up his face.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Dueling Theologians


It could have been Wimbledon finals – the verbal ball whacked from one end of the court to the other.

Joe’s question.

Cris’ answer. Or at least attempt to answer, followed by Joe’s:

Parent! Or,

Librarian! Then,

Librarian!, again, then back to:


Between Sam’s and my scrape-thump-scape-ing, and Joe’s ra-ta-ta’s to Cris’ apologetics, we sounded almost like a Broadway musical. Before I knew it my trunk was filled up with Publix plastic bags, now bulging with dark soil ready to receive some good seeds.  I rinsed out my hands and drank water, then walked back to the dueling theologians to bid my good bye.  

I noticed that Sam had stopped shoveling even though the bed of their truck was only half-full. He reappeared from around the pile, his arm stretched out towards me, holding an ice-cold bottle of water.

Sometimes it’s the smallest simplest actions of thoughtful kindness that bring us to our knees.

It was pleasure meeting you gentlemen, I choke a bit, and Cris, in his burly, warmhearted way, walks up to me and gives me a bear hug, which he punctuates, just in case there is any doubt of impropriety, with an energetic, 

The Lord BLESS you!!!

I receive the blessing and give one back in kind.

Joe watches our exchange of blessing with curiosity. He knows I’ve been a silent witness to their entire duel.  That fact may come as a bit of a shock to him since we Christians are better known for our ability to talk than our ability to listen.  I extend my hand to him and he takes it. I must be one enigma after another.

But, before I leave he feels compelled to add one more thing to our compost pile group date.