Finished products


In today’s news, for the second time in two weeks I stood in front of an automatic door that wouldn’t open. Automatic doors are supposed to be like the puppies of inanimate objects – even when you feel invisible, they see you and respond. Not this time. It was the same automatic door though, both times. So I’m wondering if maybe I’m not the only one it doesn’t see.

Either way, I know my humanity isn’t determined by a door.

Speaking of humanity, I’ve been remembering lately a poster that hung in the music room at my elementary school. It was posted on the door of a cupboard at the back of the classroom by the sink, so only visible to the teacher at most times.

It had a picture of a little girl on it with a plaintive, pleading look on her face and her hands extended. In bouncy letters above her it read, “Be patient with me. God isn’t finished with me yet.”

I’m sure those teachers needed to be reminded that the raucous, distracted, squirmy kids in front of them weren’t finished becoming future contributors to society. Not that it wasn’t totally obvious that they weren’t done developing but it wasn’t obvious that we’d all end up being contributing members of society.

I’d like to make a poster of myself some days, wearing a sundress, with plastic beads around my neck and glitter and glue on my fingers, reaching out with the same saying above me.

“Be patient with me. God isn’t finished with me yet.”

Meaning, I know you’ve probably already been patient, because here I am at 22 still needing to ask you to be, but could you keep it up?

I might need to make these posters for other people in my life, too. Not like I just have to deal with so many people that require patience, but actually it’s everyone who requires patience and grace. None of us are done cooking.

I don’t know if the people who made that poster had some idea that God would be finished with that little girl pictured when she got a little older. They probably just knew how much patience can be needed with little people. I’m sure most of us who have been walking with God for any length of time could attest that we’re just getting started. There really is no finishing while we’re living this life on earth. I’ve never met a finished product. I kind of hope I never do. I’m not sure I could handle it.

I did think at one point that I would make it some day, that my insecurities and hang-ups and impatience and failure would one day take a backseat and I’d be the polished, kind, gracious, whole human being I always pictured I’d be. But I’m finding more and more that I’ve brought the same me on the whole journey that I’ve always been. The changes are small, so minute I hardly know I’ve changed til I get miles down the road.

I’d like to see that poster with an elderly person on it. Yeah, still not finished. Patience still requested. That might be a good tattoo, if I ever wanted to get one, just smack it across my forehead.

Advertisements

Grace and the unrepentant rapist


I know it’s probably not in good form to only blog once or twice a month then come out of nowhere with a post about what grace might look like in the case of the Stanford student who raped an unconscious woman, but it’s just been weighing on me all day.

It weighs on me for a numbers of reasons:

  1. The rapist does not acknowledge his crime of rape, rather is sorrowful that he got drunk and was “promiscuous.”
  2. The survivor of the assault’s statement shows how serious his action was. To say she has suffered would be to put it lightly (follow the link and read the statement).
  3. He got six months in jail and probation when a jury found him guilty on three counts of sexual assault. The judge was concerned that a harsher sentence would ruin his life.

The Stanford student doesn’t own up to the fact that he raped a woman.

And I can’t tell you how mad it makes me that in 2016 a judge is more concerned with the future of a kid who raped an unconscious woman while drunk than with the victim of the rape, in part because he was a star swimmer with a bright future.

In a case where justice should have been clear, where punishment should have been swift and heavy, where there should have been real remorse for his crime – he gets six months and does not apologize.

This is what the victim says about that, at the end of her statement:

“You do not get to shrug your shoulders and be confused anymore. You do not get to pretend that there were no red flags. You have been convicted of violating me, intentionally, forcibly, sexually, with malicious intent, and all you can admit to is consuming alcohol. Do not talk about the sad way your life was upturned because alcohol made you do bad things. Figure out how to take responsibility for your own conduct.”

I’m sure my rage pales in comparison to what she has felt over the past year. Really, it would be good for us all to read her letter. I think that to read her speak about what she experienced honors her courage to speak out, honors her voice in this situation where so many are voiceless.

This stupid question has been burning in the back of my mind today though, because I’ve been learning about grace in the past year and figuring out how to receive it and give it.

Oh, it’s such a stupid, dumb, irrelevant question! How do you show grace to an unrepentant rapist? You don’t, okay? You punish him hard.

I’m not asking because I’m gracious. I’m asking because I really need to know.

The question isn’t even how do you show grace to a repentant rapist, but instead one who won’t even say he did it.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I WOULD USE STRONGER WORDS.

He should have gotten a harsher sentence.

Oh, he really should have.

Grace doesn’t let us off easy. We do actually have to learn from our mistakes and grow from them. A long prison sentence might do that. I don’t know what else would.

Oh, but there’s Jesus. As cliché as it might seem, I just keep seeing Jesus on the cross, taking the sins of the world and saying, “Yep, for him, too.”

God isn’t the one who pats us on the back after we horrifically offend the dignity of another person. That isn’t the moment where he gently says, “Not like that. Try again.”

I’m grateful for those moments. But when I or anyone else dehumanize another person, God convicts us. He prods us and tells us what we did was wrong and that we need to make it right.

But he also opens a door and tells us there’s a way to live differently, not perfectly but walking alongside the One who loves so well that it rubs off on us and makes us more truly loving.

That’s grace, I think. It’s the smack that tells us we’ve got to stop what we’ve been doing and waits for us to sober up before it offers another way.

I am still so mad at that student. I’m mad at that judge. I’m mad that the justice system I live under produced such unjust results, so I’m praying through my teeth that he’ll know that what he did was wrong and that the weight of it will sink in.

And then that God will show him another way.

Gremlins


I haven’t written in a while. I suppose there are a number of reasons for this. The obvious and perennial reason being busyness. The other that whenever I think of something I might like to write about, I’m at work.

Or, the most common, my gremlins tell me it’s not interesting enough. Brené Brown gets the credit for the gremlin imagery – they’re the voices inside your head that tell you you’re not good enough.

Mine keep telling me that whatever I’ve thought to write about is boring.

No one needs to read about that.
What’s the point of writing about that? It’s not profound. You call yourself a writer (sometimes), and this is what you come up with?

My gremlins are liars, but sometimes I believe them. That word, “boring,” gets me every time.

It must have been some unthinking middle school boy who said it. Or maybe I told myself based on a comparison with the other kids my age. No matter. I got this idea in my head during some formative time in life that I was boring. Like, painfully so.

I owned it for a long time. I guess I thought that if you accept something other people have said about you and say it about yourself, you’re in control. If I tell you I’m boring before you figure it out, it’s better for me. Then you can’t hurt me. There’s a wall there, some protection because you can’t tell me I’m boring. I already have claimed it.

Good friends are treasures. I have a couple good friends who, though they may not know the gremlins who remind me of all the ways I’m boring, have heard me own that I am. Their response astonished me. I expected them to pat my shoulder, nod knowingly, and smile, saying, “Oh it could be worse.”

Instead, they usually cocked their head to one side, looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t think you’re boring.”

At first I thought they were just being nice but I’ve realized that they mean it. Of course, by some people’s standards, I probably am boring. But by my own and my friends’, I am not.

I didn’t have to ask them to counter the gremlins. I didn’t even realize I was believing a lie. And really, in the end, it doesn’t matter if I’m boring. It matters if I think I’m worthy. And thinking I was boring made me think I wasn’t worthy of the friendship of people in my life who were exciting.

By the way, if we’re friends, there’s a good chance I think you’re pretty exciting.

The gremlins were just telling me how boring it is to write about how you used to think that you were boring. Maybe it is. But I think I’ll take the chance.

Cinco de Mayo bookmark


Every year, Cinco de Mayo creeps up on me. It never feels like it should be quite so far in the year – May 5th, already? The day wouldn’t be much more to me than someone else’s celebration if it weren’t also the day I was baptized, 14 years ago. Granted, if the day I was baptized wasn’t also Cinco de Mayo, I probably wouldn’t remember that either.

But because the two coincide, I do remember both. Most years I reach this day and am only reminded that I’m getting older.

I’ve spent some time this year thinking back to what it means that I’ve been baptized.(Marilynne Robinson had a good deal to do with it) One of my pastors used to say–every time someone got baptized–that baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. And it was. But a lot of the time, I saw people getting baptized from whom I’d already seen that outward expression of inward change, a shift from old to new, a surrender. Their lives were already speaking to the Spirit at work in them.

I got baptized in second grade. And I don’t remember what made me think I wanted to be baptized. It could have been a number of things:

  1. Brooke had done it already.
  2. I’d heard people talk about it a lot.
  3. I really did love Jesus and knew that was something people did when they’d decided to follow Him.

But whatever the reason, I told my parents I wanted to get baptized. My dad made a worksheet for me, questions to answer about why I wanted to get baptized. I guess he wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing, that I wasn’t making the decision impulsively.

We picked a Sunday night, and I invited some friends.

I don’t remember much about the actual baptism. I don’t remember climbing up the stairs to the baptistry or the temperature of the water or professing my faith in God. I don’t remember being dunked or coming up out of the water. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t wearing my glasses at the time. I have a vague and fuzzy memory of seeing the first few rows of the church full of people from my vantage point in the baptistry.

I do remember that afterwards my mom braided my short, wet hair into two French braids that were tied together in the back, and I wore a lavender and navy striped polo shirtdress. We went down to the basement kitchen of the church where we were going to have cake, and my mom took my picture beside it. In the picture I’m smiling behind my pink wire glasses, a recent addition to my face. The cake said, “Congratulations, Ashley!” and it was store-bought, which was rare. There was a gold cross on it made entirely out of sugar. When it came off the cake, I was allowed to lick it and was disappointed that it didn’t taste very good.

I knew I had done something good that day. I remember announcing it to my class at school the next day.

Over the years, as I’ve watched people in my church get baptized and profess that Jesus is the Lord of their life, I’ve wanted to get rebaptized. Did I know what I was doing the first time? I really do mean it now. I don’t think I knew what I was getting into then.

But, as my parents have reminded me, this misses the point. Baptism is a one-time sacrament, a landmark moment. It’s not about whether you’ve got it all together at the time. It marks a step in a life of faithfulness.

There’s something especially holy about the moment where someone chooses to be baptized as a representation of their faith in front of their church family. Every time, something in me calls out, Me too. I choose this, too. 

Not just baptism, although I’d choose that again, too, but the body of believers who profess faith and remind me of mine. I’d choose the church again, the relationship with Jesus again, because it has given me life abundantly.

It really is a gift that Cinco de Mayo bookmarks today for me, that I have a readymade reminder that I’ve chosen to follow the God who loves me and calls me to life.

Independent Bookstore Day


Today was Independent Bookstore Day, a.k.a. something that should be a national holiday. 10 Minneapolis bookstores teamed up to create a bookstore “Passport,” and if you got ten stamps, you would get a gift card from each bookstore for $10.

A lesser prize would have ignited the fire in me, but that certainly did. I mapped out my route and enlisted a friend to meet me along the way.

IMG_20160430_112701

I even printed out 6 pages of directions from place to place to ensure efficiency.

The day started by struggling to find a parking space because the area around Common Good Books (Garrison Keillor, proprietor) was bustling, but I made it there just before ten and got my copies of Raymie Nightingale just before they ran out then hopped in line to meet Kate DiCamillo and get them signed.

I don’t fangirl over everyone, but this was a special moment. Kate DiCamillo is so kind, took the time to actually talk to every person who came up for an autograph. I watched her signing and listened in while I was in line (unabashedly eavesdropping) and saw her actually paying attention to people. This wasn’t a commercial affair, which made it all the more special.

I was flying high when I left Common Good, headed for The Red Balloon, where I saw the real! live! mouse! from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (though, in reality a human in a mouse costume… but I chose to be duped).

Also spotted: the limited edition “Read-with-me” Curious George plush toys, an unattended baby who was very cute and very asleep (by unattended, I mean, it wasn’t obvious which of the nearby mothers belonged to the sweet thing), and a co-worker. I also saw a couple of the people I’d seen at Common Good… then saw them again at the next place, Subtext Books.

My last stop in St. Paul before crossing the river to Minneapolis, Subtext was a smaller but largely delightful stop. I bought Marilynne Robinson’s The Givenness of Things there because I’ve checked it out from the library twice and haven’t gotten to it before it’s due again. So now I’ll just read it on my own time.

Three bookstores in, and it wasn’t even noon.

I picked up Emma, and we went to Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, then rushed over to Birchbark Books & Native Arts (Louise Erdrich is the owner there) to see Beth Dooley (author of In Winter’s Kitchen, which I highly recommend to food writing/nature/memoir fans). Alas, half an hour after (at least, I thought) Beth was slated to be speaking, R.T Rybak was still reading from Pothole Confidential. It sounded like it was a good book, from what I was hearing, but I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to see Beth. Turns out I had the time wrong.

IMG_20160430_132641

Emma, saint that she is, had brought along a picnic lunch for us, so we grabbed that and sat by Lake of the Isles to refuel before heading to Once Upon a Crime.

It was a bit windy, but “We’re Minnesotans!”, as Emma put it, and we braved it and even enjoyed it though both our hands turned purple and the warm car did feel nice after that.

On to Once Upon a Crime, which we discovered was not, in fact, on the Passport. But we had a good time browsing there anyways.

IMG_20160430_144447

Why independent bookstores? you may ask. Why is there a whole day set aside for indies? Because buying books can be sitting alone at your computer and choosing your shipping method, or it can be visiting a vibrant bookstore where the people care what you read and the books are chosen carefully to fit a certain niche. It can be finding a book you have no idea existed and never knew could exist. And it can be supporting wonderful, literature-loving people’s livelihoods.

Also, where else would you find a book called Laying Down the Paw than at an indie mystery bookstore?

Next up was Magers & Quinn, a much beloved haunt of mine. I always find something I want to take home and read when I visit there, usually something I hadn’t even heard of previously.

On we went, energy still up, to Wild Rumpus, an award-winning children’s bookstore, where I bought a picture book that teaches life lessons in relation to cookies. download_20160430_195014

I’ll read that book aloud to anyone. You just let me know when you want, and we’ll sit down and learn about trustworthiness and respect in relation to cookies.

We took an ice cream break at Sebastian Joe’s then pressed on. There was more to see! More stamps to be had!

Next up was Paperback Exchange, where Emma took my recommendation and bought The Poisonwood Bible. That was one store I could see myself spending a good chunk of time in. Emma was amazed at all the books. So many!

IMG_20160430_171307

I’d forgotten about DreamHaven in my quest to map out my route, so we made a quick stop there to get the stamp before it closed then pressed on to Moon Palace, the last of the day.

That’s another I could see myself spending a lot more time in. They had the funniest greeting cards to go along with their great selection of books.

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday. It might seem redundant to go to the same type of store eleven times in one day, but books don’t get old. Not when you’re shopping at places like these. Sure, you’ll see some of the same titles a couple times, especially if they’re new, but the thing about indies is that they all have some sort of niche and offer something just a little bit different than the others. So you’ll see books you’ve never seen before by people you’d never heard of. It’s overwhelmingly fabulous.

All in all, I think I can declare Independent Bookstore Day my favorite secular holiday.

Wattage and cosmic significance


Three light bulbs burned out in my room this week. And one at my desk at work. It is just a coincidence because there’s nothing else for it to be. How could so many the light bulbs in my life conspire against me at once?

The black tall lamp next to my desk in my bedroom went first, but I had the desk lamp and the overhead light to back me up, and the lamp on the dresser for when I need just a little light but not too much in the mornings to make sure I am putting on pants that actually are navy, not black.

Because I’m a strong, independent (ish) woman who can change her own light bulbs, I went to my toolbox and grabbed another bulb. But that didn’t work. So then I wondered if my lamp was broken. That was a bigger problem for another day. No time now, we’ll figure it out later.

Then the lamp on my desk at work went out, but the light under the cabinet and the overhead lights were still on, so I was fine. I could still see. I planned to bring a light bulb in the following week. This was a strange coincidence. Two light bulbs in one week is not that strange.

Then just a couple days ago the bulb in the paper lantern that serves as an overhead light in my bedroom popped when I turned it on. I started to wonder what was going on. Maybe the circuit was having problems, but everything else that was plugged in, my computer, the chargers, the fan, the two remaining lamps (last ones standing) were all just fine. It had to be the bulb. Or maybe all the lamps were breaking at once.

Then yesterday the lamp on the dresser popped when I tried to get a little light to see into the closet. I was down to two low-powered lamps in my room, not enough to make it through another gloomy, rainy day.

So today I finally asked my dad to check it out.

Good sport that he is, he bent down to see if they were plugged in, tried other light bulbs from lamps that were working in them, reset the ground fault interruptor (whatever that is). Turns out the replacement light bulb I’d been cycling around wasn’t good. This problem is fixable.

But four bulbs in one week? Three in the same room? He said there could have been some shock wave that went through the system. Apparently just in my room.

And at my desk at work, 16.7 miles away from home.

Some surge of power, perhaps. Maybe I had put new bulbs in all at once. Maybe I used up the wattage too evenly.

I thought about it a lot, wondered if there was some cosmic, spiritual significance to it. What do you learn when your light bulbs go out in tandem? Is this a special message? I wasn’t getting any accompanying revelation, just confusion.

So I just went to Walgreen’s and got four new bulbs. There wasn’t much else to do.

I’d like for there to be a nice parallel here, some metaphor from which I can learn a truth about how I’m supposed to live, but I think the point is that when your light bulbs go out there isn’t much cosmic significance, and you certainly won’t get very far until you replace them.

Retreating


12985557_1073442049383588_533832623083962903_n.jpg

I went on a retreat this weekend with this group of women. And knowing me, you’ll know what I want to do with this topic. I’ll want to ask: What does it mean to retreat? Why did we retreat?

And I’ll tell you that it’s stepping back when we know we need reinforcements and can’t handle the battle on our own. And I’ll support it with Webster’s Online Dictionary.

And then I’ll say something about why it’s important to be still and rest because our world is too hectic, and we don’t do that enough.

And that will all be true.

But I figure since that’s predictable, I won’t say that. Because this weekend was anything but predictable. First off, I wasn’t planning to go. It was one of those things that was announced, and I saw it and thought huh, that’s the kind of thing I would like to do.

I don’t normally need a personal invitation to join in on all that life has to offer, but this time I didn’t really get around to deciding until Dena came up on me on Easter and asked me if I wanted to go.

Apathy sometimes keeps us from doing something that might bring great blessing. Do I need a getaway? Probably not that badly. Nothing’s going wrong in my life. Not really.

But she asked, and I said yes.

Then, during my week I started thinking about it and found that I was quite looking forward to Friday afternoon when we’d drive up north. A whole weekend without responsibility with some really lovely women who go to my church, where someone else cooks great food, where the whole point is to connect on a deeper level with each other, and in a log cabin.

I didn’t know I needed the break until I took it. A break from the hecticness, from bring connected to everyone online all the time, from being task-oriented and productive.

Instead we talked and laughed and took a walk to hold bunnies (BUNNIES! My mom can attest to my deep love for them) and played the world’s longest game of Uno. We laughed some more and settled down to share passages of scripture that are meaningful to us. Inevitably, our stories came out piecemeal, and each challenge and joy shared was met with empathy.

We’re more connected than we know.

There’s more to say about it, but I think even if I keep saying more I won’t fully encompass the connections that were made, the fun that was had, and the Spirit that was felt.

Plus, I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again. Don’t get me wrong, I’d sleep on that thin mattress again for such a wholly fulfilling weekend, but my pillow is calling.

Head colds and validation


There are tissues all over my floor. I have made it in the trash receptacle once. I told my dad last night that I’ve sneezed so many times my head feels like a Magic Eight ball that got stuck between responses because you shook it too hard looking for answers.

He was sympathetic to my pain but also wanted to know how I knew what a Magic Eight ball was. “That’s from my era.”

“I think my Barbies had one. Like the seventies Barbie.” I can’t remember her name now and inexplicably feel guilty for that.

I’m really not feeling that bad anymore. There’s just a lot of gunk in my head. I’ve been sneezing. It’s a cold. So many things could be worse.

I’m spacey when I get head colds. I think this is common. Like, I’ve been meaning to make pancakes for about an hour now and getting distracted. I can’t remember where I put my phone, either.

The phone is important because I was texting one of my friends who is still back at school. And now I can’t respond. It was a good conversation; it’s a good friendship. Like my friend who told me that I had a mouse in my glove compartment, this friend is one who makes me better.

We’re both trying to work through what it means to grow up and how we deal with feelings and thoughts and insecurities and all that. There’s no manual for this. But we both know it’s not meant to be done in isolation.

I texted her this morning and asked how her week was. I really wanted to know. I don’t bump into her on the sidewalk or at the library anymore, so it’s important to be intentional about asking.

I also really wanted her to validate a feeling. And really didn’t want to own up to it.

You know the type, where you feel like you shouldn’t feel the way you do because it’s selfish or ungrateful or discontent or inappropriate for the situation. But you still feel that way and need someone to remind you that you’re human and have to work through feelings instead of shoving them  into your closet to fester.

Some days, I don’t deal with it and shove it into the closet. But it always finds its way out for another encounter another day. So it’s best to just own up. Because the only antidote to feeling like you shouldn’t feel the way you feel is empathy.

So I told her. And she said, “That’s normal. You’re human.” And I nodded to myself, and we talked about it some more.

You’d think I’d be able to remind myself of that. Some days, I can. Some days, I need someone else to remind me.

If I needed her to, she’d validate this cold. But I can give this all the validation it needs. Somehow, I feel pancakes will help with this.

And where did I put my phone?

Shampoo and my inner whiny six-year-old


All I needed was conditioner, so I stopped at Cub after work. I put a few things to take to work with me in my cart: some yogurt, and oh, yes, we do need peanut butter, avocados are on sale, those look good and they’re organic, it’s getting close to dinner time and I don’t have a plan so I’ll buy that, and we’re out of bananas.

I stopped in the hair aisle to grab the last thing I needed only thing I actually needed and made my way to the checkout.

 

I guess I was more tired than I thought. I just looked at the bottle I picked up and realized that I bought shampoo.

Sigh.

Today my body and mind are acting like 6-year-olds on a long walk.

This morning, when my alarm went off.

Me: Okay, time to get up.

Body: NAwwwwwww, it’s too earrrly. We’re still tiiiired. It’s daaark outside. We don’t waaaant to get up.

Me: But we have to get up to get to work on time. Remember, we like work.

Body: Too sleepy. Don’t maaaake me. My throat hurrrrrrts. A loooooot.

Me: We’re getting out of bed now.

Body breaks down in hissy fit on the floor, sobbing about how I don’t love it anymore and never let it do anything it wants.

Me: Yes I do, remember how you didn’t want to work out the other day and I let you? And when I gave you that extra cup of coffee you were asking for?

Body: (between hiccups and sobs) Yeah. But that was just that one tii-iiime. You don’t love me anymore.

My body is obviously delusional.

But also maybe onto something. I’ve gotten sick enough to know the signs and to know I can’t reason my body out of this one.

It’s a funny thing, how you can often talk yourself out of being sad or out of sorts (whether you actually feel better or not), but when it comes to getting sick, you don’t get to call the shots. You can take all the precautions and preventative measures, but the illness is going to come whenever it jolly well likes.

I took the evening off tonight. I canceled commitments and plans. I sat on the couch with a book and got ready for bed at 8:30.

Sometimes it’s good to cater to the whiny 6-year-old inside. It’s not always exaggerating.

When spring stays


It snowed today. We’ve had such a mild winter that we thought we might be in the clear after those last few inches in February. Then it warmed up and the sun came out and melted the huge piles of gray slush in the parking lots, so we really thought it was gone.

Winter’s still hanging on for dear life. It’s singing its sad, desperate ballads about unrequited love, and we are thrusting it away with angry shovels that we thought we could put away for good a month ago.

Let me just say, the shovels are never put far away in Minnesota.

How do you know when it’s spring? When it comes and stays? Or could it really be spring now, only winter is just paying a short visit but will be leaving soon (if only we could boot it out the door).

That’s something I’m wondering. The arbitrary season change dates never seem to mark the real event of any new season, so I don’t know when to call it spring.

For longer than we’ve had winter weather in Minnesota (much longer, if anything could be longer than Minnesota winters) I’ve been on a journey of forgiveness, and I say journey because some days it still snows anger or frustration and I have to get out the shovel and figure out what’s underneath that.

How do you now when you’ve forgiven someone? Is it when you speak of them and realize you feel whole and holy when you do? Is it when you can look forward to a future where they are present? I’m not sure. There are some markers on the path, like the first time I realized I needed to forgive and each subsequent time after that when I’ve felt prodded to continue forgiving.

How do you know when you’re in the free and clear? I imagine it looks different in every situation. Each season and type of hurt requires different healing and reconciliation, so perhaps there are no indicators across all scenarios.

But I do think of those days when I really know winter has gone, when the ground is dry and feels warmer and the sun shines and there’s a breeze instead of a wind. And I imagine there are similar days when you’ve forgiven someone.

I’m looking for warmth in a couple ways. Come soon, spring, and stay.