WWYD (What would you do)

Last fall, in Spanish, we worked on the conditional sense. We spent an entire class answering hypothetical questions, “What would you do if…” One question was an imaginary situation where you broke something very expensive and it cost your employer money, but nobody knew it was you. Most of the people in my language lab were idealistic 20-year-olds and quick to say that they would confess. I think it’s my age, not my writer-brain, but I first wanted clarification. “Will I lose the job, and it’s my last hope?” “Are my kids starving?” “Is it under an unfair regime, the job is not my choice, and they’ll kill me for failure?” Of course, I do not have that much vocabulary click to continue reading…

Our individual God

Last year, I read through the New Testament in Spanish to help learn vocabulary. The Olive Tree App has a helpful feature where you can parallel two Bible versions at once. I could glance at the English side anytime I didn’t understand. Spanish doesn’t have rule breakers like English, so if you can pronounce the alphabet, you can pronounce words. But, sometimes it was easy to say the words and let my mind wander, since I can’t think in Spanish yet. I often had to pull back and start a section over. This forced me to focus differently; word by word, and to foster comprehension instead of just make sounds. I started reading to decipher what the text said, instead click to continue reading…

Your new one main thing—kindness

I hope this post finds your inbox. Subscribers haven’t received notifications for the last two weeks, but I think I have it fixed. Advent is over. I have a pleasant memory making an advent-wreath as a child. Other than that, it’s never been part of my tradition. But I might change this because I grow fonder of the practice each year. The contemplation of preparing for God’s arrival on earth is like singing the Songs of Ascent during the trek to Jerusalem. It prepares a pilgrim for the encounter. And it seems like every time a human in the Bible has an unexpected encounter with heaven, the angelic being needs to say “Fear Not,” and tell them to stand back click to continue reading…

Before you receive

This is a companion post to last week’s “Before you give,” and makes several assumptions. For instance, that you’re celebrating and will exchange gifts. It also assumes that you have space this holiday to think about this unessential part of living. Because of time, energy, money, or emotion, you may not have been able to prepare for next week like you wanted. There is still one way you can, though. Prepare how you will accept gifts. Years ago, I gave a sweater to a girl at a going away party. I didn’t know her well. She squealed and exclaimed. It was outrageous how pleased she was, and how much she liked it. I’d never experienced a reaction like that, and click to continue reading…

Before you give

I scratched this post last week because I was still working it out in my heart. I want to preface “Before you give” and next week’s “Before you receive” posts with the caveat that I do neither well. So it’s coming from a broken place. They also take a great deal of privilege for granted. Talking about gift giving assumes you are not at war, or barely surviving. It assumes you have someone to give a gift to, or someone to spend a holiday with. It assumes that there is enough space in your life to think about this extraneous part of the holiday. My sister and I have a birthday three days apart. We mostly celebrated together, and I click to continue reading…