Thursday, March 22, 2007

The angel and the cup

After Jesus' terrible prayer at Gethsemane, an angel came to him and gave him strength, but did not remove the cup. --Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow

Some writers seem to have an inborn ability to capture a certain mood and sustain it until you become mesmerized. Berry is one of those. There is a certain silence that you can cut with a knife--a silence you can feel. And you feel it most when you are alone. That feeling is what Berry captures so well. It is a "Be-Still-and-Know-That-I-Am-God" kind of solitude, the kind that causes the pang behind the pang to well up inside you.

It's been three months since we held our precious Caroline. The pangs of sorrow are still very deep and for some reason they have risen to the surface this past week. Today I had to go approve the etching for her gravestone. I had no idea how difficult it would be. When I walked in the door, it felt like someone punched me in the stomach. There, laid across a drafting table on thin white carbon paper was my dear daughter's name with the date underneath: December 16th, 2006. Underneath will be a picture of a small lamb with the inscription, "I Am Jesus' Little Lamb -Isaiah 40:11." That verse says, "He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; and gently lead those that are with young."

Sometimes it feels like he didn't really drink the cup all the way down. That some has spilled out on us.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

King of Queens

This weekend we're hanging out with our good friends the Hickmans in Queens. Pat and Stephanie Hickman started an RUF ministry at St. John's here about the same time we started at UConn. It has been so good to connect with friends who are doing exactly what we are doing (in a very different setting). When they visit us it's for a break from the stress of city life and when we visit them it's for a break from feeling like we're in the middle of nowhere :). Today we took the kids to a really cool place, the CMA (Children's Museum of Art), where Nadine, Patton, Hogan and Libby got to paint and make clay sculptures. Then we walked about 15 blocks through Soho to Washington Square and ate at the Peanut Butter Co. Pat and I got the "Elvis" sandwich--peanut butter, banana and honey of course--but with a unique bonus that I'm sure Elvis would have loved: bacon. I think it goes without saying that it was good.