Six Feet

We went to the site together, you and I— I drove you there to inspect the stone, newly placed. The summer sun was bright, your grassy spot speckled with shade. You stood six feet back, shoes planted near their final resting place. Six feet of summer green and creeping shadows.     We went to…

Dear Dad

It’s Father’s Day week. In honor and memory of my dad, I’ve been drinking out of one of his mugs. I think I gave it to him for Christmas 2004—at the end of one of the most difficult years of my life. By Christmastime I was halfway through my first year as a graduate student…

A Holy Week

This has been a Holy Week to remember—or, some might say, to forget. With COVID-19 flying around the globe, most of us have “been sent home until further notice,” and the most holy week on the church calendar has been forced into cyber space. I began the week Facebook chatting with my church family before…

Dad

It won't be long now. We’re about to lose our dad for the second time. We lost him the first time on June 1, 2005. That morning as he prayed with my mom—as he did every morning before the day got going—he suffered a massive stroke that robbed him of a great deal of cognitive…

“I want to go home.”

As I stared into the porcelain bowl of a hotel bathroom on Sunday night, I wanted two things. First, to stop puking, and second, to go home—in that order. A stomach bug when you’re an airplane trip away from home is magnified misery. Think TSA, crowds, and carry-on luggage. Think airplane bathroom. Think seat-in-its-upright-position. On…

Minding the Melody of a Marriage

It was Christmas Eve, and we were spending the morning with my dad, who passes most of the day in his recliner—napping or staring out the window. I looked around for things I thought might interest him, a challenging exercise since he seldom tells you. Questions are usually answered with a stare or a shrug—neither…

A Daisy in Winter

It’s a mild January afternoon in Minnesota, but no one here is fooled. Daffodils and daisies, some of the earliest and cheeriest signs of spring, are months away. Plenty of subzero temperatures, sheets of ice, and piles of snow lay between here and that most wonderful time of year when winter gray gives way to…

A Little Red “R”

The face value of my dad’s gift was only one dollar and thirty-nine cents, hardly a fortune and barely even a gift. But it was a treasure from the man I have loved all my life to the man I will love for the rest of my life. The recipient of the one-dollar coin and…

“We’ve Had the Better.”

My dad and I stood at the double doors to the sanctuary, waiting for twelve bells to chime and the doors to swing open. Looking at me, he said, “I’ve waited a long time for this day,” and I said, “Me, too, Dad. Me, too.” What I didn’t say—because I would have come undone—is that…