Grief

Finding Grace in the Missing Parts of My Story

I reflect on pictures my mom kept of me posing on grandma’s front porch, my three-year-old little body donning a Fiesta dress with intermingled colors. They dance with each other far from lament. Dad’s sailor cap is tipped over my face, covering my left eye, making me giggle as I reach up to catch it […]

Dear Portia: My friend got healed, and I didn’t.

Dear Portia, I keep praying for healing, and I am not healed, but someone else in my circle did get healed and I am trying to be okay with this but I am not. A Dear A, Is it even possible to address your question without using some sort of unhelpful or even offensive platitude? […]

When Healing Looks Like Boredom

The suburbs and the country scared me as kid. There were too many dead ends and cul-de-sacs, not enough lights. The vastness of open fields and the emptiness of woods caused dread and panic to rise in me and I would find myself looking around me, behind, feeling exposed and unsafe. When I was 7 […]

Losing and Finding Your Tribe

A lot has been written lately about “finding your tribe.” Every time I hear this phrase I am filled with excitement, hope, and also fear and disappointment. What if you have had phases in your life where you were so convinced that you had found your tribe—that you had found acceptance of who you really […]

My Improbable Love of “Happy Birthday”

I should get bonus points when I surprise my friend Shoshana: she’s remarkably unflappable. If I’d told her I was getting a giant bat tattoo on my behind, she’d probably nod and say, “Oh, interesting.” But the other day on the phone, when I told her I love it when people sing “Happy Birthday” to […]

Ink, Blood, and Tears

I got off the bus at my new school and saw the parking lot filled with cars. This was nothing like my former crowded, noisy, urban Philadelphia high school with the dark stairwells and constant police presence. I’d never seen so many Ford Tauruses in my life. Some even had monograms on the doors. I […]

The Red Handkerchief

In the story The Giver, they had a phrase “precision of language”. This was an admonition when people used an irrelevant term, something their culture didn’t believe in anymore. We have antiquated words that don’t serve us or even offend us now, and we have phrases whose etymologies are hard to trace. I’m captivated by […]

The Waging and the Waiting

This essay is an excerpt from the anthology Soul Bare: Stories of Redemption published by Inter Varsity Press in August 2016. In 1977, my mother left my brothers and me with sitters to go looking for an apartment and didn’t return for days. When she finally did, after what most people considered a “lost weekend,” my […]

The Welcome of What Is

There are many rhythms that carry me through daily life and into the presence of God. As a Midwesterner, the four seasons have become a perpetual joy and sometimes annoyance, but a cadence upon which my body, mind, and soul have come to rely.  As an Anglican, the liturgy, Eucharist, and church calendar have carried […]