To my son on his birthday

Today you turned nine years of age, my eldest son, today is your birthday.

I still remember that pre-Dawn drive to the hospital on that rainy Oklahoma morning. After waiting all morning you finally arrived in the afternoon, to a clear and breezy beautiful afternoon.

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Ignoring history/doomed to repeat

Over the last few days, last few weeks, I’ve seen an increasing amount of commentary on the death of a black Florida teenager at the hands of a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer.

What started as an isolated, and obviously unfortunate incident in an obscure corner of suburban central Florida, has now swelled into a great festering boil on the backside of the American consciousness.

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A promise of Heaven in every Spring

I have to admit that I am far more influenced by the seasons than I perhaps should be.

A gloomy gray rainy day creates such a strange feeling of gleeful melancholy, the sort of feeling that makes you want to wrap up in a blanket and read dusty old books with a cup of Earl Grey tea. A breezy and bright sunny day makes me want to walk around outside without any shoes on and take hundreds of photos of trees and clouds.

So with the first “official” day of Spring that we observed yesterday, I feel the final slide into the groove of the warmer turn of the season has occurred.

Of course, it’s a place those of us in the Deep South have been in for a while. Winter was rather painfully mild this year. Indeed, I wonder if Winter was little more than a tepid prelude for what bodes to be a tempestuous vernal season.

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A wound that never heals

There are certain things I simply cannot imagine.

I cannot imagine the vast infinite capacity of the universe. I cannot imagine the heart behind the greed and avarice that seems to motivate many of the wealthiest individuals of our society. I cannot imagine the daily suffering endured by most who live a meager life of subsistence and suffering in the Third World.

And I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child…  let alone an entire generation of them.

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All worthy work finds its goal in worship

I found myself “pondering the great mysteries of life” as I prepared to write this column.

Some stuff I’d heard different friends and colleagues talking about was bouncing around my head, and I was enjoying the various tendril of thought, when a sudden terror pounced upon me like a sopping wet sheepdog: I’m not working! I’m just sitting here daydreaming!

See, I flatter myself to be an industrious chap. A little downtime here and there is a psychological necessity to be sure, but long spans of leisure are discouraged at a daily newspaper. Someone’s got to “feed the beast,” and a cursory glance at the masthead indicates that’s my department. But I digress…

My intellectual meandering was prompted by a question a good friend of mine asked, suggesting that we pursue our waking hours as a means of worship instead of looking upon our daily work routine as toil.

“I wonder if our results would be different?” he said. “Might be worth a try.”

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To my daughter on her birthday…

Dearest Gaelynn,

Today is your 12th birthday, and you’re sick.

You had a sore throat on Monday but you toughed it out and went to school, through your usual routine of chores and diversion, but early Tuesday you awoke feverish and speaking in a painfully dry croak.

An armchair diagnosis from your mother determined strep throat and you’ve been quarantined ever since. So, thus was I robbed of the honor of giving you a hug and kiss for your birthday.

Looking at you in this condition, sickly wan and bundled up on the couch, your brow furrowed at one of the puzzle mazes on your Legend of Zelda game, I cannot help but marvel at you. Your age represents something of a transition: your last year of “official” girlhood. Next year you’ll be a teenager, trading one arbitrary cultural grouping for another. But enough about that… for now you’re only 12, though even that seems too much.

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