100 Things I Know #13 – Grace is Necessary, Present, and Uncontrollable

Grace is necessary. We can achieve by ourselves, thank you very much.   If we’re in need of repair (which we are, given that Something Is Wrong), we can also fix ourselves.   We have capacities to control both positive and negative energy, and for good or ill, most of the time, we are the responsible party.   …

100 Things I Know #7 – Music Heals

Music moves us, those sounds of hammers striking strings, voices singing words or scatting, mallets pounding taut skins.   We are attuned to shapes of time and space sculpted by musicians, the moment-to-moment shimmerings of sound that make our hips, knees, and arms want to undulate.   Music is everywhere, is personal, is communal, is magic.   Maybe …

New Seasons, Letting Go, and Coffee

New beginnings are full of promise, but I’ve had enough of them to know that a promising feeling is a guarantor of nothing. It’s a new season in my life, one whose boundaries have something to do with a self-imposed sabbatical from church life, a brief stint of anti-depressants, a sickness in the middle of …

Acting 101: For All of Us

Here’s what actors do, in one way or another.  Imaginatively, they work to enter the experience of a person, a character, imagining circumstances, beliefs, thought-life, sensory preferences, histories of relationships, and perhaps most importantly, what their particular characters are hungry for, long for, and have been living without.   They then shift their physical and emotional …

Breakthrough

This morning, I wish I was a poet. I'm sitting in the middle of an experience that's hard to describe, and yet, it couldn't be simpler.  To put it into words seems ridiculous. It reminds me of the day my first child was born. It's trying to turn a key in a lock in a …

The Unmerited Grace of the Work

"At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace.  It is handed to you, but only if you look for it.  You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then--and only then--it is handed to you."  --Annie Dillard, The Writing Life Odd isn't it, that there is work …

The Ten Great Blessings

On New Year's Eve, I glanced over an email from Bill Hybels, the Senior Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, in which he encouraged everyone to take time to count their blessings.  He told the story of his own family, of their New Year's Eve tradition (if I'm getting this right) of sharing ten great …