It’s a night in 1876 and Vincent van Gogh looks outward from his room’s window. In a letter to his brother, Theo, he writes what he sees. “Over those roofs, one single star, but a beautiful large friendly one.”
Rabbits are wonderful animals to bring a smile to any child, especially chocolate rabbits, but you’d never place much hope for peace on the Easter Bunny. Not that a rabbit can’t speak to Easter. It can. Once my little girl’s rabbit went into eternity, so to speak, in Uganda, after the neighbour boy experimented with how many times it might spin in midair.
I’m gardening with my son, the cool, wet dirt between our fingers. I think of John, my friend, a fellow traveller, recently dead of cancer. He’s still somehow, seen. Still felt. Funny how that goes, how you often miss what’s right in front of you. Then, when you take the time to pause, the smelling salts of life get you to sit up and do what your mother always told you: pay attention!
(The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, June 18, 2016) HAMILTON, CANADA ✦ It was my daughter's first teenage birthday party and the family van was full of giggling girls. The verdict on the Tim Bosma trial wasn't in, not yet, when we pulled into the bowling ally across from Carmen's banquet hall and I said, "Tim Bosma's funeral was in that hall. And his wedding too." Silence fell. One girl said it was terrible what happened to Tim. Then my barely 13-year-old asked, "Why would they have his wedding and funeral at the same place?"
(The New Vision – Tuesday, March 22, 2016) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ It’s the foolish things of this world that can shame the wise and the weak that can upend the strong. This is how it was put a couple of millennia ago by the apostle Paul when he foreshadowed this great reversal, this deep sorting out that will be known only fully in the hereafter. But it’s the story-tellers in the here-and-now who often say the very same thing, and you’d have to be blind or deaf or both not to see it in the new Star Wars movie, “Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” which recently made it here to Uganda.
(The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, December 5, 2015) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ I am not Catholic. And, like you, I have my images of fatherhood. The better ones have more to do with the holiness of, say, my boy with a ball and a catching glove on our sun-filled front lawn than with the Holy Father coming to visit.
(Christian Courier, October 12, 2015) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ They’re out there, people who’d say that they don’t believe in hell any more than they believe in heaven, but you can never be sure what anyone really thinks about these sorts of questions because you can hardly expect anyone to be honest with you when they don’t know how to be honest with themselves. Your neighbour might say that it’s nothing but malarkey – heaven, hell, God, the devil, the entire lot of it (this is the 21st century, after all) – but he’d tell you that he doesn’t believe in gravity, yet his disbelief doesn’t run so deep that he’d actually step off a tall building.
(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, June 6, 2015) CHARLESTON, S.C. ✦ We're in the ocean, waves crashing at our knees, salt on our lips, my daughter and me and all these poets in my head. My daughter (today she turns 12) laughs and dances and spins in circles and says, "No, Daddy, don't take any more pictures. Just come and run with me. Enjoy the moment."