Thursday, July 22, 2010


"Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows he carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted."

Bloody, mangled,
Escape through barbed wire,
Gashes preferable,
To His crown of thorns.

Bloated, swollen,
Swimming through jellyfish,
Stings preferable,
To the jagged whip.

Battered, raw,
Crashing through pane of glass,
Clarity preferable,
To soldiers' fists.

Body, broken,
Crucified upon a cross,
Mercy preferable,
To deserved wrath.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Clean Underwear

I did my dishes, made my bed and cleaned the crockery-a months’ worth of cleaning in a day. Leaving town on vacation, nothing like coming home to crisp clean sheets and shiny sinks. That’s the face, the place; I’d like you to see. I’m lying to you. I clean for another reason.

One mustn’t leave the house in dirty underwear. If you die in a car wreck, or a helicopter drops on your head, or you choke on a Clif Bar it’s imperative that you are wearing spotless skivvies. Irrefutable logic it’s not, still it appeals to a maternal archetype.

When the plane plummets into the ocean and I die (the seat cushion as boogie board-good; as flotation device-not so great) I don’t want you to find my house in its usual state of ‘controlled chaos.’ There’s something else I don’t want you to find and I hadn’t even thought about it until one night of live theatre.

The folks at “Mortified” describe themselves as “a comic excavation of the strange and extraordinary things we created as kids. ...Adults sharing their own adolescent journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories and more.” Funny stuff and for me, frightening. I’ve kept a journal since high school. You remember high school? Oh, you don’t?

I’d left the place clean but in my closet was a box of journals. When I got home I ripped the box open. Opening to the journal entries for my senior I found entries such as the following:

Thursday Jan. 19: I had a dream. Something with Jude and I fell asleep. I woke up and she was gone. I went to school. I brought my squirt gun.

Friday Feb. 10: Demi is soooo cute.

Monday Feb. 14: I gave Valentines to Judy, Dana, and Cheryl and Demi.

Monday Feb. 20: Keith and I went to meet Barbie and Lynette for brunch.

Wed. March 29: Neca called. Date is all set up for Friday night. Last show ever of Carol Burnett was on. Sob, sob.

Cleaning underwear is easy. Bonfires and Wite-out leave evidence behind.

Monday, July 05, 2010

This Old Tent

It has touched the thigh of a woman and the nose of a bear. It has sat underneath the lightning storm in Spearfish—more awesome than the Black Hills Passion Play, the reason I camped there. From the warm Virgin waters of Zion National Park to cold snow in Yosemite she’s experienced it all. The tears and turmoil of the brutal break-up with my first love was seen through the same eyes that saw my 40th birthday celebrated with wife and child while camping in northern California.

Hailey and I were going camping for Father’s Day. Pulling my tent out from storage started me thinking about the places the tent has gone; Twenty-five years of adventure, a quarter century of road trips; hail and hunger cycling from San Francisco to Malibu, ecstasy and elation on the top of Mt. Whitney, tears and questions in Zion, imagined Indian attacks at Canyon De Chelly. Each journey was a rich time of exploration, awakening and growth; each quest brought perspective and satisfaction of soul.

A tent serves not only as shelter, but as altar to gain perspective and remind of what God has done. No wonder Peter wanted to set up tents at the transfiguration (“Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles (tents): one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”) After bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, God told them to live in tents seven days, commemorating their foray into freedom.

This summer when you take out that tent, when you unpack that camping gear, when you bring out that old ice chest-stop and give a thought to where it’s been, to where you’ve been. When you arrive at your vacation spot and you are settled in, take time to look forward. What does your future look like? What kind of wilderness is God leading you out of? Then take the next steps forward knowing what you’ve already walked through.