Thursday, October 29, 2015

Grammar and the Gospel

I grew up the progeny of a professor.  My mom held a PhD in English and taught various forms of that field at the university level.  She was a lover of literature and a guardian of grammar.  In our home, words mattered and the improper use of syntactic structure could get you in as much trouble as the crude use of cursing. 

Mom taught me that grammar is the glue that holds context and content together.  When the glue is improperly applied, meaning can fall apart and crucial pieces of conversation can be lost. We talked often of using accurate articles, properly applied pronouns, and correct verb tense. 

I didn’t care much for those language lessons as a child (particularly not as they were being drilled into me over summer vacation!), but, as the years have rolled on I’ve grown in my gratitude for the phonemic pedagogy of my parent.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Word For the Secret Keepers of the World

My kids have always loved literature. When they were little I would enter our local library with a HUGE wicker laundry basket whose high purpose in life was not much unlike that of a pack mule.  That faithful old basket would bear the books that would become our companions for the next few days.  

It wasn't unusual for us to leave with 50 or more books per trip ... and then return in a few days to do it all over again.  

Through the years I became quite familiar with almost everything in the children's stacks - because we had checked out almost everything in the children's stacks. 

I knew the good books, the bad books, the boring books, and the books that pierced the human heart in poignant ways. 

At the top of my list for poignant piercing parables is a fairy tale written by Kate Coombs. It's called "The Secret Keeper"  and it tells the tale of a single woman named Kalli who (literally) keeps all the secrets of all the people who live in the village of Maldinga.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Scene From My Story Along the Autistic Road to Belief

Everyone has a story.  The details may differ. The settings may not be the same. The tale of one man may look like a divine comedy, while that of another may best align itself with an allegorical adventure.  


Well, I like to think of my story as Greek tragedy meets the Twilight Zone. 

I came crashing on the scene as the result of an adulterous affair.  My birth parents were middle-aged professionals and they weren’t banking on a baby. The introduction of my story would add a whole heap of conflict to the narratives of quite a few other folks.  In response, it was decided that I would be aborted and I narrowly escaped that fate when my birth mom abruptly exited the abortion clinic she had earlier entered, committing to carry me to term - at great personal cost to herself. 

I was adopted, but all was not well. My adoptive mom, a brilliant woman, suffered from mental illness and I sometimes suffered at the hands of that which haunted her.  Years later, after I was married and had children of my own, her paranoia pushed her to cast me out of her life completely - re-orphaning me in the dust. She told me that she no longer loved me and really never had. 

Those are hard words to hear.

At her request, the relationship remained severed until only a few weeks before her death. In God's kindness she allowed me to be with her as she died - even asking me to wash her feet during her final day of clear cognition. Her last words were spoken to me in that moment.  As I kneeled before her with basin and towel in hand, remembering 4 decades of struggle and strife, she simply said, "Please forgive me." 

I did forgive her - because Christ has forgiven me!

My adolescence was spent as an angry atheist.  From my earliest years I had longed to know and understand God, but my constant questions were either met with petty pat answers, calls to blind belief, or hypocritical hubris. Fed up with it all, I turned the page on God in high school and began a new chapter of theistic disdain. That section of my story could best be described as “a dark and stormy night.”

Thursday, April 16, 2015

His Absence Changes Everything

This past Friday I was filling out a form that required me to write down the day’s date. 

The date was April 10th, and as is always the case, seeing that date sent a flood of memories surging through my mind.  I shared the following statement on my Facebook page not long after having traveled back through the corridor of time:

“April 10, 1985 ... 30 years ago.

On that date, I was a sophomore in high school - one who'd grown deeply weary of living.  It was a bright and sunny Wednesday outside, but in my heart and head all was bleak and black.
I skipped school that day, after having purchased a bottle full of pills - pills that I thought might finally lead me to a place of peace and rest, for in my life I knew no peace and rest. 
I was a weary young woman who had no hope and I was on the verge of my first true consideration of and attempt at suicide. 
I battled against that bottle for hours, finally flinging it aside - not from a place of faith that things would get better in life, but from one of fear that I might fail in my attempt and find myself in even worse straits than the current moment contained.
While my reason for remaining wasn't the best (and wouldn't truly be resolved until years later when once again I sat in a suicidal state and was met by the saving mercy of Christ), I am thankful for the fear that foiled my foolishness.
Today, 30 years later,  I'm thankful for April 10, 2015 - thankful that I'm even here to write this post, thankful for all the other manifold moments of mercy that have met me, and thankful for the sovereign grace of God that has kept me. HE is why I am here."

The comments on my page resounded with cries of thanksgiving, gladness, joy, and praise. 

The post was seen as good news in the face of what could have been the most macabre of moments.
The next evening, while scanning my Facebook news feed, I ran across a post from an old high school friend.  I was surprised to see that it was a “cut and paste” version of the quote above. 

What had been “cut” was any record of my Redeemer.  

Here’s how it read: