Suffering is Never for Nothing

In high school, I toured New England with an acting troupe that performed a reader’s theatre production called Bridge of Blood. The play told the story of five missionaries — Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming — who were martyred in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956. Their deaths madeContinue reading “Suffering is Never for Nothing”

The Soap He Left Behind

When our family road tripped, we traveled light. It was a spiritual exercise each summer to rediscover our values by paring down our life to the essentials. Every year, I packed the camper with the bare minimum. A small duffle bag of clothes for each person. A single pot, a single skillet for the kitchen.Continue reading “The Soap He Left Behind”

Love’s Last Words

When I was young, a woman I knew died unexpectedly in her sleep. She went to bed seemingly healthy and never woke up in the morning. For all of the years after, her death haunted me with its terrifying possibility. It was entirely plausible that I too could die without warning, that I could snuggleContinue reading “Love’s Last Words”

The Day After Valentine’s

Valentine’s Day was never a special holiday in our marriage. Instead, it was the day after that held all the magic. The day the Whitman’s Sampler dropped to 50% off at the Walgreens down the street. That day, Rob ran out and grabbed me the biggest box of chocolates he could get under our self-imposedContinue reading “The Day After Valentine’s”

A Last Gift of Love

When Rob and I became engaged, we traveled from Illinois to our old college town in Ohio for makeshift premarital counseling. Mostly, Rob wanted to hang out with his old English professor, and I wanted to visit my sisters who were in school at the time. Over dinner with the professor and his wife, theContinue reading “A Last Gift of Love”

Adventures in Cooking

We’d recently returned from our honeymoon when Rob invited friends over for dinner. We lived in a little garage apartment in rural Ohio, and I was excited to break out our wedding gifts and use our new kitchen. Through graduate school, I’d eaten like a pauper, subsisting mostly on white rice with a melted slabContinue reading “Adventures in Cooking”

The Open-Handed Life

We give Thee but Thine own,whate’er the gift may be;All that we have is Thine alone,a trust, O Lord, from Thee. William Walsham How, 1858 When we lived in Chicago, Rob and I attended a church that read 1 Chronicles 29:14 each week before the morning offering was received. “For all things come of Thee,Continue reading “The Open-Handed Life”

His Hand in Mine

Rob often lamented that his hands were too small to palm a basketball. He’d played basketball throughout high school, and he claimed his hands were his greatest handicap. With bigger hands, he said, he could have been really great. I’d smile as Rob retold the stories of his glory days — buzzer beaters and alley-oops.Continue reading “His Hand in Mine”