Posted on Leave a comment

Wake-Up Call


My wife and I had a scare recently, when our neighbor battled through a series of seizures outside our apartment door.

I was just getting out of bed, getting dressed for church, when we heard the shouts from our hallway.

The piercing screams of “My baby…my baby!” filled our disoriented ears.

Leah dialed emergency. I ran into our neighbor’s apartment, unsure of what I might find.

And, I prayed it wouldn’t be a Stephen King scenario. Even though that’s where my warped mind went.

I found the child. He was fine. But, adrenaline prompted me to scoop him up–deliver him safely to my wife’s hands.

Meanwhile our neighbor alerted us that she couldn’t see. She felt blind. I looked closer and she didn’t make eye contact. We tried to ask what hurt. Where was the pain. She indicated the throat and head. Then, the seizures set in, and 9-1-1 asked if she had a history of things. At one point, she stopped breathing altogether, and I really freaked.

I do wish I’d taken better stock. I realized how helpless I really was in that moment. The EMS arrived and she followed their promptings to lie on her back and provide phone numbers of loved ones. Afterwards, I had realized she even responded to my questions with slight taps on the concrete earlier.

All of it struck a chord in me of the importance of knowing one’s neighbor. Not just for the emergency moments. (Albeit that is helpful.) But, to know them because I’m supposed to. It’s why I’m living, breathing, moving. Otherwise, I’m just a clanging cymbal. A robot without a heart.

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s Friday! Let’s read Wendell Berry!

The Sycamore

In the place that is my own place, whose earth

I am shaped in and must bear, there is an old tree growing,

a great sycamore that is a wondrous healer of itself.


Fences have been tied to it, nails driven into it,

Hacks and whittles cut in it, the lightning has burned it.

There is no year it has flourished in

that has not harmed it. There is a hollow in it

that is its death, though its living brims whitely

at the lip of the darkness and flows outward.

Over all its scars has come the seamless white

of the bark. It bears the gnarls of its history

healed over. It has risen to a strange perfection

in the warp and bending of its long growth.

It has gathered all accidents into its purpose.

It has become the intention and radiance of its dark fate.

It is a fact, sublime, mystical and unassailable.

In all the country there is no other like it.

I recognize in it a principle, an indwelling

the same as itself, and greater, that I would be ruled by.

I see that it stands in its place, and feeds upon it,

and is fed upon, and is native, and maker.

Posted on Leave a comment

Life in Prepositions


In life…

…Beneath covers

Between parents…

…For months, years

Since birth…

…Until milestones

On the road…

…Among friends

Outside the office…

…Beside the ocean

Opposite the love of your life…

…Plus kids

Minus some…

…Without others

With God…

…Versus the devil

Within life…

…Before the end

Above ground…

…Near it all

Like heaven…

…But not really