Shame

Shame on Me

I think I’ve been brainwashed.  The unexpected thought pierced my sleepy fog. Although after midnight, we girls were dragged from our sleeping bags for a special lecture. Clumped together on a couple of couches, we yawned and tried to listen. I was sadly aware that my alarm was going off in less than six hours. […]

In Bed with Shame

Confession: Sometimes I watch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” just so I feel better about my own life. I can’t always tell them apart, but there’s something satisfying about seeing Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, Kendall, Kylie, Kris, Caitlyn and Rob weave in and out of drama. (Thank goodness for Rob, as all good alliteration must come […]

Learning the Language of Hope

Shame was a language I learned early, right along with how to say “please” and “thank you.” There was an unspoken etiquette we learned growing up in the Southern United States. The tea should be sweet. You should address people older than you as “ma’am” and “sir.” I knew the taste of collard greens and […]

Another Thorn, Another Rose (Mental Illness as a Blessing)

I fight against harm perpetrated both by the myth of the Strong Black Woman and the stigma my culture attaches to mental illness every day. Since 1619, America nurtures me to mute my emotions, my pain, and my fear.

Breaking

I’ve had my share of youthful indiscretions. (Mom, please exit here and look at some of my baby pictures instead.) Not least among these was that time in college when my roommate Marie and I finished finals early. The cumulative stress from the completed semester was palpable. So we let loose like any other restless […]

The Stories We Make Up

Mutual friends said we’d get along, this new friend of mine and I. They recognized our common interests and desire to go deep. Plus, we were both mired in the mess of transition, looking for new connections, longing for rootedness here. We chatted over coffee and discovered our mutual friends were right—we did hit it […]

It’s Back. Period.

I used to curl up on the bathroom floor the day my period started. I wanted the cool hardness to counter my writhing body, and I’d lay there for hours, uninterested in books or television, until the pain calmed. The blood and the discomfort seemed unjust then, and now, for me, and especially for women […]

Excerpt from A Prayer for Orion by Katherine James

 Editor’s Note: Kate James has written a vibrant memoir about her son’s battle with heroin, and her own experience during that time. This is an important book and we highly recommend it. Kate generously allowed us to use an excerpt today as her book launches! Few parents can say the word heroin. It took me […]

Naming Your Longing, Not Always Getting It: A Lesson from Advent

My daughters vie each night to flick the BIC lighter for our Advent candles. They know it may be another twelve months before they’re allowed to touch it again. Likely, next year, we’ll also spend four weeks reading Bible stories and proclaiming “Come, Lord Jesus, come!” Each Advent, we name our longing for Jesus’ second […]

Muddy-Handed Hope

He’s seven now. But I often remember him as the two-year-old who looked into my catatonic eyes. I have a hard time forgetting what this little one must have felt when I went crazy. Because Grace is real and memory imperfect, his little mind has no recollection of when I had to enter the mental […]

When You’re Afraid of the Church

We were church shopping again. I tried to steady my breathing as we stepped into the building. I gripped my husband’s hand as we chose our seats. He asked me if we were going to fill out the connection card to which I shook my head. I showed up. That was brave enough for today.  […]

Hello, I’m Weak

 “You may want to consider going on antidepressants,” my counselor says at the end of session. My eyes widen in shock and fear. And shame. Lots of shame. This bomb continues to reverberate in me as I leave. I have no problems with people taking antidepressants. I have many family members who do and I’ve […]