Keeping Our Word

Listen to Audio When our oldest son Andrew was about three, he loved climbing things. Ladders, trellises, trees. They all beckoned him to clamber up toward the roof or the sky. In the house, we found Andrew mounting our coffee table and leaping off. Not wanting him to mar the furniture or bump his head,…

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Cynicism, Courage, and Belief

Listen to Audio Hulga Hopewell was an atheist. At thirty she held a PhD in philosophy, lived with her relentlessly shallow mother, and sported a wooden leg. A hunting accident had claimed her real leg from the knee down two decades earlier. Her mother had named her Joy. As an adult Joy had legally changed…

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Forgiving Yourself

Listen to Audio “Some things can’t be forgiven.” Jim said these words as if he were reporting a fact so obvious as to be trivial. Judging from his tone, he might as well have said, “The sun rises in the east” or “Chickens lay eggs.” It’s the way things are. No point in discussing it…

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Lies and Secrets and Funerals

My father died in high summer. The sun had already baked the red Georgia clay into stretches of hard crust across much of the landscape. Tiny black gnats floated drunkenly around eyes and lips and ears. Slow. Persistent. Annoyingly elusive. The Baptist graveside service was scheduled for ten in the morning. Even under the canopy’s…

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