My 20-month old daughter got her first splinter last week. It was one of those early spring days in New York, when everyone is both afraid to be overly hopeful and also completely ecstatic. We spent the afternoon at the playground, and I didn’t even notice the splinter until the following day. The shard of wood was long and deeply embedded. The skin around it was red and probably infected. Removing the splinter was awful, and I think everyone in the family cried.
Splinters don’t hurt much going in – they seem to slip under the skin so effortlessly. But removing the wood requires digging deeper into the surrounding area. Sometimes you have to cut open more skin in order to fold it back and grasp the splinter firmly enough to pull it out. In my childhood memories, the removal of a splinter was far more painful than acquiring it in the first place. Sometimes I even purposefully hid them from my parents to avoid it – but in the end, removal was always necessary.
My daughter suffered as my husband dug gently into her hand to remove the wood. This pain was necessary for healing. Without it, the infection would have worsened.
I have had many splinters in my life. Some have been identified quickly and removed without many tears. Others have embedded themselves deeply, and the discovery and then removal process has been painful, filled with struggle and suffering. My deepest, most infected splinters are not splinters of wood beneath my skin, Continue reading
It’s common for bloggers to share various “what I’m into this month” types of posts, recounting books they’ve read, movies they’ve watched, artists they’ve listened to. Often with links and witty commentary.
To be honest, I often delete or only skim these posts. I have no idea how some of these writers have the time to read not just one – but three or four or more books every month. I have no idea how they manage to watch so much television and so many movies (mostly I’m in awe of their ability to stay awake past the first 25 minutes, which I can’t seem to do). And when I’m reading blogs, I mostly want to read their stories, hear their voices.
But – the things these writers love and are inspired by and challenged by also make up their voices and their stories.
So I thought I’d try. Maybe I’ll do this every month. Maybe it will fall by the wayside. But there are so many little things to love and laugh and think about – good blog posts, challenging New Yorker articles, a recently-discovered song, a great coffee maker. And what can I say? Nearly every book I have managed to read is one that I read about on someone’s blog post. So, here goes. I’d love to hear what you are loving, too. Won’t you leave a comment with a link to something you’ve enjoyed this past month? Continue reading
Last weekend I felt great, really great. Self-assured. Focused and funny – able to concentrate and crack jokes with equal ease. Confident. I had my shit together. And it felt good.
I was in Memphis, playing concerts with an orchestra that I’ve been playing with since 2007. The people, place, and routine of rehearsals and performances are like home to me.
But this time was different from my last several trips South. This time was the first time in three years that I was there alone, without any kids.
I really enjoyed the conversations I had. I felt present, able to focus on what people said. Conversations that were casual-but-not-superficial flowed naturally. I didn’t think I knew how to do that anymore.
I enjoyed the playing. I had prepared well, but, moreover, I was able to play well in the moment. Rehearsals and performances were not a complicated array of insecurity and self-assurance and nostalgia – a frequent feeling in recent years – but instead a wonderful combination of ease and enjoyment. Continue reading
So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about community. The community that I long to have is starkly different from the community that I currently have. I dream about a community that starts with friends and grows to include spouses and children. I dream about our kids growing up together, seeing each other often and spontaneously, playing in the streets and running back and forth between houses, sharing snacks and swimsuits, sharing Thanksgiving and New Years Eve and the Fourth of July.
I dream of close friends who have “been there through thick and thin,” who show up at each other’s homes with meals and Kleenex and go out for girls’ nights and pedicures. I imagine my children growing up with a small circle of other adult figures around them, friends and mentors of mine who pray for them and help parent them, who fill in where I lack (anyone want to sew a Halloween costumes?) and who attend my kids’ weddings while recalling their first birthdays.
I am often frustrated, here in New York City, because my community doesn’t look like this. Continue reading
I’m not a particularly optimistic person (understatement of the year). Depression hasn’t helped. But I’m trying out this idea of allowing the dark times to teach me about myself and also about God.
I’ve written about how I believe that God uses our depression to teach us about our hearts and how we should use depression as a tool to examine what we worship. I’ve also written about how even though Edward Welch’s book on depression argues that suffering should bring us closer to God – because our world is broken and we are broken, often the opposite is true.
All of these things are helpful. Welch’s perspective on depression is profoundly shaping and changing my own. BUT. What I really want to know is what to do about the depression. Continue reading