Red in the Face

fullsizerenderMy little brother, Chris, had a speech impediment when we were kids. His speaking problems manifested themselves in a number of ways, but the one I remember most was his inability to pronounce hard r’s. So he spoke in the way that we find laughably “cute” in children. Baby talk. A sentence like “Where is the right chair, Andrew?” became “Whey-oh is the white chay-oh, And-oo?” It’s darn cute, I can’t deny it. The trouble is that it’s only “cute” until about the age of five. After that it becomes a problem. Continue reading

Smile, Today

Smile, because your brain doesn’t care if you think smiling is stupid or for the weak and ignorant. Your body could care less about your opinions or being cool. It doesn’t care about all of the terrible things that have happened to you today. Smile, and your body will agree with you. “You’re right, life is pretty awesome” your brain will say. And then it will go to work commanding your body to pump out neurological soldiers to fight off anxiety and depression, and provide relief from pain. It’s like Xanax, Prozac, and Vicodin all in one. With no side-effects. Smiling is pretty hardcore. Continue reading

Survivors

I almost drowned when I was 17.

I was in a canoe floating down a river towards an indigenous village located in a Panamanian jungle. These things happen when you’re a teenager who thinks he can save the world. The water had been calm when we pushed off hours earlier. Not a cloud in the sky and fair weather in the forecast. We didn’t have enough life jackets for everyone, but none of us were worried.

Hours later rain was coming down cold and heavy. Storms have a sense of irony, I think. We had no umbrellas or coats. We were not prepared. The rain agitated the river and the water was running wildly, dragging us with it. Someone in my canoe shouted and pointed ahead. Further down the river, a small whirlpool had formed. There was nothing we could do. Within moments our canoe was tossed upside down, hurling us into the water. Continue reading

The Fear of God

This morning before I walked into church I heard news of the suicide bombing in Pakistan. As of this writing, the dead number 72 and hundreds more were injured. The majority of the victims were parents and their children, celebrating Easter in a park.

In recent months the world has witnessed attack after attack. Targeted terrorism and senseless violence shake us on a daily basis. People are living in fear. As I sat in church this morning my heart was heavy, and as I thought about the fear pervading our atmosphere, my thoughts drifted to Jesus before he was to be arrested and crucified:

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Continue reading

New York City

The city is alive. Its pulse runs through the streets, up the skyscrapers, and into the atmosphere. It is consuming and has consumed so many. I see it in their eyes. No longer people, they have instead become ingested by the city. They are singular, short lived, serviceable cells. Mindless. Consumed.

There are those who have escaped consumption. They are still alive. The city cannot feed on them and so they feed off the city. I drift somewhere in between. I can feel the city hunting me, lurking in the shadows of subway tunnels. In the bodies pushing, shoving, grasping past me. The prices on menus. The non-stop noise.  The city is hungry, and escape is exhausting. Everywhere I look I see its gray, dirty skin, behind, before, and below me. There is no rest to be had when even the quiet is filled with fear and anticipation. Overwhelmed; I run away. Continue reading

Today I Went To Counseling

The Medical and Counseling Care Center (or MACCC for “short”) is a bit off the beaten path. Tucked away behind Moody Colosseum, you can get there without fear of any acquaintances- well meaning or nosy- asking about your health: medical or mental.  It took me maybe a ten minute walk to get there from my house.

After passing through a pair of sliding double doors I walked up to the front desk, greeted by the receptionist’s ever present smile. Some days I smile back. Some days I wonder why she keeps smiling after seeing the expression on my face. “How are you today?”, she asks. “Well I’m here to Continue reading