to be shocked to tears by a glimpse;

the clear shade of light and

the dark blurring of shadow not

the paint-by-numbers of human hands

and soak it in as if this place of near-hue could possibly flood all the gray corners of dead space

to know the trueness of a scent;

the realness of color and

the piquancy of reality not

the bitter tang of chemical mockery

and gasp for it as if you can only breathe one more time and this last taste is what you choose

to hold a piece of former things;

the tracery of forgotten touch and

the ownership of your own fingerprints not

the betrayal of misplaced memories

and clutch it again and find that your hands are not small enough for this to feel the same

to chase down lanes of new life;

the cresting hill of new memories and

the worn grooves of your own footprints not

the treacherous cobblestones of old lifetimes

and look for known lands through the refracted haze of dust and ghosts

to hear the strains of yesterday’s loves;

the wistful line of once begotten and

the thumping echo of heart songs not

the muffled clatter of foreign feet

and lean towards the light-spun notes that can neither be held nor heard again

to reach for another’s touch;

the honest smiles of welcome and

the generous hearts of selfessless not

the choking grip of needy arms

and find new callouses and listless hands and familiar lines composing a stranger’s face

to be placeless.



You make me homesick

You white hills and lonely trees

You farms and fields and far away beauty

Homesick for white hills and crop stubble, for lonely trees and sunset silhouettes, for farms and fields and far away beauty


You make me homesick

You gravel roads and country lanes

You homes and hearths and clean-made beds

Homesick for gravel roads, for country lanes of dirt and dust, for home and hearth and a clean-made bed


You make me homesick

You starry skies and fresh snow

You belted hunter and big dipper and great bear of the night

Homesick for starry skies, for fresh snow and glittering frost, for the belted hunter and big dipper and great bear of the night


You make me homesick

You smiling baby girl and little boy with shy hugs

You friends that stand and hug and fit just right

Homesick for a baby girl who smiles in my arms, for a tall boy and his reluctant hugs, for my father who stands and hugs and I fit just right


You proud cities and crowded streets

You highways and horizons and roads to everywhere

You make me homesick

Homesick for places you are not, for streets no longer mine, for highways and horizons and roads that lead everywhere but home


I am homesick


Homesick for all that does not exist

Homesick for the home I cannot find, for the people we no longer are, for the sun on the horizon that used to be

Homesick for the lonely tree that is not mine, gilded by winter frost and cut down by summer lightning; those autumn fields that grow yellow and red before someone else’s eyes; the great bear of the night that waits beyond the fringes of this city’s greedy lights

Homesick for the easing of the ache for better things, homesick for the final turn in the lane when the prodigal comes home, homesick for the promises too great and glorious to be found in the dust and stars of this place


For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.


A Short Story

Once upon a time there was a girl. She waited years and years to go to college, and found out that she loved what she did while she waited. She got a little older with wonderful people who loved her better than she loved them back and who she knew she’d miss terribly once she left. But she packed her things and her favorite bear and went away to college with a few white hairs and too many suitcases. She wondered if she would regret what she was leaving behind: the sky and the stars and books and Interstate and Friday morning meetings and children who hugged her in church and a little office that let the sun in every afternoon.

But the people who loved her gave her coffee and a computer and never stopped praying for her. And she came to the city, where there were too many buildings to see the sun and more lights than stars. There were yellow taxis and cardboard signs and a few trees that barely had enough leaves to shed in the fall.

She sat down in a tiny little dorm room and realized that she’d still be waiting here, too. So she sat in big classrooms and little classrooms and found out that she loved what she did while she waited. She got a little older with wonderful people who cared for her better than she could care for them.

And the city was kind to her. The city gave her bright yellow doors and clean stone houses and a place to run by the lake. The city gave her its best views and its biggest Christmas trees. It gave her trains that rocked and rumbled and spilled out its passengers into all its corners. It gave her a church with small children who hugged her every Wednesday night and whispered in her ear about birthdays and secrets. The city gave her memories on dirty escalators and worn stairs and scary streets.

And she wondered, with small guilt, if she loved her former sky a little less because the one she loved now had skyscrapers and billboards and broken windows instead of forests and fields. She wondered if she would be happy back in the place with quietness and books and the sun in the afternoon.

But she couldn’t love the city any less, with its tarnished beauty and need for kindness. So she decided she would have to love both. She decided that the love in the waiting was a gift, a gift corruptible only by the mistaken need to compare it with another gifted love. So she loved her city where she could only sometimes see the sun, and she loved her country where the sun was brightest. And she recognized God’s love best when she chose to love what He gave her.

And she was happy.

Letters From An MBI Student – 11/30

Dear Family,

Thanks for letting me come home for Thanksgiving. I would have hitchhiked my way, but it was nice to see someone actually show up at the train station before I fell asleep with my luggage.

Home felt pretty good this time around, and I think I figured out some of the things that make it feel like home. That’s such a strange word for me, and I’m still figuring out what that word is hard for me to use, but I don’t have a better substitute. So here are some things I realized about the place I call home. Warning: it’s about to get sappy. It’s Christmas and it snowed today and…ahh, strings of lights or not, it was always going to be sappy. So.

Home is where you plop down on the kitchen floor and laugh because you’re too tired to stand or think or do anything other than be some sort of emotional. And because it’s home, you don’t wake up the next day and wonder how laughing hysterically has affected your reputation.

Home is also where you can chase people around trying to be affectionate to them and they may not want it and you don’t care if they do or not. You’re not doing it because you met that person on your dorm floor who likes hugs and you feel like you should probably encourage them; you’re doing it because it’s family and you’re so darn glad to see them. And it’s your sister, whom you haven’t seen in an eternity and your brain doesn’t have interesting words to tell her how much you love her so you kiss her instead. Or try to.

Home is where you fall asleep in total silence. It’s where you realize for the first time why people use white noise machines, and you feel so sorry for them and their lives of perpetual noise.

Home is where you can see the stars instead of stoplights. There aren’t crosswalks to watch for and pedestrians to avoid running over. The only red lights at home are the ones on your car when you pull into the driveway too fast. And you don’t care that the neighbors will probably have an opinion on that at the Christmas party, because you’ve done it a thousand times before and this time you’re not in a hurry because you have stuff to do; you’re in a hurry because inside is home and family and more interesting things than speed limits.

Home is where you yell at the dinner table and throw peas and eat an entire pie yourself. It’s where the world’s best food is made with more love than that house can hold. Home is where you wake up feeling guilty for sleeping in so late but your mom made you coffee and the day begins with a little sip of heaven.

Home is where you sit and crochet and don’t fidget about the homework that you brought back because home means rest and peace. Home doesn’t give peace, but it creates the space for it. And then God and the love of family fills it and you take it back to school and find the energy to power through the last three weeks of school.

I’ll probably not be as retrospective about home as soon as I leave my cozy place beside this Christmas tree. I’ll probably not be as gracious when I tell you about Candlelight Carols rehearsals. I’ll probably not be as enthusiastic about home as soon as I start writing that paper I’m avoiding.

Oh, well. At least you know for now.

Maybe missing you,


Letters From An MBI Student – 10/10 – postscriptum

College is also hard because my dearest friend, coworker, confidant, shoulder-to-lean on, giver of my favorite hugs, stubborn, caring father is 130 miles away with my mother, my everlasting cheerleader who makes the world’s best coffee and demonstrates a level of grace and compassion that I can only hope to touch someday. Not too far for a phone call, but yes too far for a hug. They don’t make them the same here, Dad.



Some things you can’t go back to, some things need left alone
Don’t mess with a memories of a life passed on
Oh the tumbling reservations at the heart of my mistakes
Oh some things you can’t go back to cause you let them slip away


I don’t wanna be a witness to a path that’s overgrown
I don’t wanna see this house not be a home
‘Cause time has taken toll on what we couldn’t see
No I don’t wanna be a witness to the end of you and me


How am I gonna make each moment better than the last
How am I gonna make it better if I can’t go back


Oh the tumbling reservations at the heart of my mistakes
Oh some things you can’t go back to cause you let them slip away
Oh some things you can’t go back to…


“Can’t Go Back” – Rosi Golan

Tell The Truth Tuesday

Full of randomness today.  Here’s the top 5.

1. It’s 80 degrees outside. I don’t know whether to be excited or confused because apparently it’s summer already? What happened to spring?!

2. Only two weeks of classes left. Whew. I can make it. Although it’d be helpful if my professors weren’t so trigger-happy with their quizzes and homework. I know I’m going to receive gargantuan finals in all my classes next week, so could you maybe lay off with the assignments this week? Give me a little time to prep? Please?

3. I drove back to my hometown (again) this weekend. I love everything about my weekends at home, although it’s still hard to have everyone ask when I’m coming back, as if that is still an option. I’m not sure if they truly believe that my move was on a whim or consider it a possibility that I’ll break my work and school commitments here to return.

4. I’ve started trying to write short stories (again). I’ve been on sort of a writing break for a lot of this semester, and I miss it terribly. So of course I’m writing again, with classes and end-of-the-school-year commitments breathing down my neck. Brilliant me.

5. Maybe it’s just the weather (full moon?), but drivers were crazy this weekend. Phone numbers on paper plates and shirtless college guys hanging out of their jeeps to leer on Interstate, gangsters in souped-up Cadillacs trying to chat at the stoplights (no, I don’t roll my window down on command), and prepsters trying to drag race in front of the mall (Okay, so it was the prime racing spot in the city and famous for what happens after midnight, but even still: I drive a 14 yr old wagon with the engine power of a sewing machine. Do I look like I’m interested?!).

What’s up in your life?