samedi, juillet 17, 2010


Yesterday came the call no pastor ever, ever wants to get.

A one-car accident. Two teens dead. One critically injured.

And in a little town, every one knows every one else. Last night parishioners told me of talk in the grocery store, neighbor to neighbor -- even the man who owns the filling station and went to get the car is connected to our parish.

We are plunged into mourning.

These are the details. The journey doesn't have any markers, except for the absolute certainty of grief.

Please pray for the parents of these babies.

And if you have a moment, pray for all -- our church, our town, our faith, as we walk in darkness together -- not even ready, yet, for the light.

vendredi, juillet 16, 2010


I told him I wouldn't write about the specifics on the blog, and I won't. Not that he deserves mercy.

But I'm a little worried. I'm losing my general air of skeptical distance.

Instead, I feel nauseated. Mostly, it's because I thought he was an honorable person -- until he turned out to be something else.

And I wonder, if most guys wouldn't do what these opportunists do -- if they thought they could get away with behaving like foxes in heat.

Another proposition issued -- and rejected. What's the harm?

Well, try being on the receiving end -- for years. It doesn't matter of they have letters after their last name. Who cares if they send you emails replete with typos, or freaking gilt-edged Hallmark cards.

The end result is the same -- the sense that they want to use you -- for one purpose only, and then move on.

If it had happened once, it might be mildly amusing. But there seems to be a trend.

It feels degrading -- disgusting. And, frankly, infuriating.

I know a lot of decent men, kind men -- mostly, they are married. Of course, that doesn't mean that all married men treat their spouses well. Or that it's better to be married and unhappy.

And I know these propositions speak more about the guys than about me.

But I must admit that the tide of murk that drips onto my computer screen has an effect on my self-esteem -- while the men who administer this punishment go blithely, and ignorantly, on their way.

lundi, juillet 12, 2010

The courage to say "no"

It's a good thing that I have friends in real life.

Friends to debate the ethics of capitalism (if such a thing exists) with over a beer or a hot fudge sundae.

Buds to walk with on those mornings when we can see our exhalations mist the chilly air.

Pals to climb along the rocks in the tropical humidity of midsummer.

Middle-aged moms and dads, writers and sextons, seniors and thirty-somethings who laugh at me and hold my hand and sometimes @#!*% me off.

Because if I had come inexperienced and innocent to this world of online relationships, friendships, potential romances and business ventures, I might think that they only needed the touch of reality to melt like an ice cream cone does in your hand on a summer's evening.

Saying "no" to someone you have met briefly in real life -- saying that you don't see a future for friendship or business association -- takes courage.

Possibly, the person on other end of email or phone call may argue with you.

Perhaps they may insult you.

Maybe they won't get it, and it will take a while.

But I keep remembering, whether I have met the person or not, that their emotions aren't "virtual."

And, perhaps most important of all, whether they are down on their luck, or grapple with mental illness, or aren't attractive to you personally, people aren't disposable.

I suspect that those who find it hard to say "no thank you" or to face conflict, or to work something through in real life also find it difficult online. It certainly is harder. But I still (knowing that sometimes I fail) believe it's worth the attempt.

If you can't say "no," then your "yes" becomes a rather cheap knockoff in a world in which authenticity is the rarest jewel of all.

If they aren't getting it?

Pick up the darned phone -- I'm pretty sure that communication is what Edison invented it for.