The Day I Met You

It was a beautiful fall day in western Pennsylvania when the caseworker called and asked if I could go down to Allegheny General with the other foster mothers to pick you and your sisters up.

You were all tiny, perfect, beautiful, wrapped in the quiet of the NICU.

They trained us in infant CPR and your apnea monitors then we bundled you up to “take you home.”

I put that in quotes because I believe your home is with your mom. Because I believe she never got a chance.

But I have to focus on the light.

My year with you was full of light. You were a wonderful baby and we loved you dearly. You are a wonderful young woman now, and we still love you.

We miss the years and pray the light always travels with you. And that you know, always know, you are loved.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and a Lesson in Free Speech

The story goes something like this: a 50 year old man targets little kids at a water park and takes dozens of pictures of their private areas.

He gets arrested and prosecuted under a law intended to protect adults from non-consensual voyeuristic photography.

Two Texas courts upend the
conviction
on the basis that the behavior of the defendant was a form of free speech.

I think they may have overlooked the difference between photographic predation and free speech.

So here are some examples of free speech:

Taking pictures of other people without consent for the purposes of sexual gratification is not free speech. It is a form of exploitation

Free speech.

What ass’s orifice do these people have their heads lodged in?

Free speech.

Have they lost any perspective on the implications for children of allowing them to be exploited at public parks and pools?

Free speech.

The defendant’s lawyers said the law is “Orwellian.” Perhaps all parties need to read Orwell before they drag him into defending a pedophile.

Free speech.

And last but not least–

News feeds are glutted with comments about the actresses whose naked pictures were hacked and leaked. I read this as a stand-alone article from an English news source.

Shouldn’t the lack of concern for the safety of our children be a bigger deal?

Free speech.

The narrow road

We talk about the two roads: (notice there are no others) one narrow, one broad.

I picture the broad one littered with neon signs, carnival-lit and well-paved.

The narrow one is hard to find, off the the side, obscured by overgrown vines and branches. Because, let’s face it: not much traffic.

You climb through the overgrowth to get there and once on the Path the going is any but easy. Rocks, besetting ills, humiliations, and the echoing loneliness of it all.

But always the figure of the Man in front of us. Stick close to Him. After all He is the way itself. The narrow path to life–home waiting at the end.

There we will belong.

Foley and Sotloff

I grieve for these lost men
Think about their brokenhearted mothers
Avoid an accounting of the days and the pain and dogs of souls

who could exact such cruelty on…ordinary men

It is easier not to go
To the places these men went
And the place where they were
Cut to pieces

But we must

Ask ourselves what has become of
Us, the Geneva Convention, the boundaries of

Words, only words
strung words together
No guns, no knives, no ammunition
Pictures taken of war
If you can even call it that

They say they got Capone for tax evasion
Not murder
And I wonder if these boys who hide their faces and play “gods and men”
Like a game without a score

Know the second commandment (say nothing of the 6th)
Still applies to their eternal souls:

Forget all else you have done
And understand you owe God for life
For these pictures you have taken

Of Foley and Sotloff

There will be
Forever
Nowhere to hide.

“What it is like to have a relationship with Jesus”

I heard this on Christian radio today, right after they played needtobreathe’s Multiplied, a song I take seriously.

To paraphrase John the Beloved– there are not books in the world to write down all he has done.

Jesus hasn’t just saved my life, he has challenged me to live brave when I am a coward, to love the unlovable because I am one, to see the night sky differently and to acknowledge that

He is not a tame lion.

Having a relationship with Jesus should be challenging. It should abolish our prejudices and take us outside our comfort zones on a regular basis.

It should be bigger than us. A strong, insistent wind.

And it can be quite lonely and humbling and heartbreaking.

I often think that western ideas of “evangelism” are inefficient and strange precisely because we have lost sight of our Main Man.

Having a relationship with Jesus is like having a relationship with your own heart or lungs.

Where ya gonna go? This guy has life, and that more abundantly.

It will cost us stuff. Stuff we will think we cannot bear to pay.

But no matter what that cost, it has cost him more.

And he paid it for me.

Beautiful Gifts

Your life changed mine utterly. I can look back at who I was before you and know that I had good intentions and walked the road not as many walk.

I knew I needed to feed His sheep.

But the twin agonies of losing you and worrying about your loss were so harrowing. To lose a baby is a nearly insurmountable grief. To know that you had to question where did mama go? drove me wild with pain.

I clung to prayer, and learned these two things–

You need to stay close to Jesus and prayer must have feet.

I had to push all my maternal love toward these things–you close to Jesus and doing the kindness to others that I asked for you, because someone somewhere was praying for them the way I have prayed for you.

Always.

I would love to send you a real gift–a thing you could hold to know I am there and I love you. But until I am free to send the real to you, I will send you this and this.

Love you, dear heart

Changing the paradigm for protecting our young

I am haunted by an image on a nature program–a young zebra stallion savages a newborn foal to death because the foal was fathered by a predecessor.

We turned the television off, but not before the narrator states that the foal’s “ordeal is over” and will not survive the attack.

I understand the rules of natural videography: don’t obstruct the narrative. I just believe it is time we change the rules for animals and men.

I have little doubt that the film crew could have saved the foal and found a place for it in sanctuary. They simple did not.

We simply do not as well. We avoid conflict with humans even when it is their own children they savage to death.

Abortion is an extreme form of child abuse. Yet we treat it with temerity, speaking gently of “a woman’s right to choose.”

Some choices are unacceptable: cruel, inhumane, deadly.

It would have been humane and appropriate for the men who watched the foal die to intervene on its behalf. They did not because they wanted the narrative, because the paradigm has not been sufficiently challenged.

Time to challenge it.

If we stand by and watch children, anyone be savaged, victimized, or harmed by another and do not intervene, we are culpable.

If we stay quiet in the face of injustice, then we must own this narrative. The crime belongs to all of us unless we are willing to speak up, intervene, challenge the paradigm for our dead and missing children.