June 5, 2017

I had a sweet experience tonight. It was one of those moments when the world suddenly turns sideways—like when you're driving the road toward home, a road you've driven a thousand times and suddenly you realize with a jolt that you don't recognize anything and you feel weirdly lost even though you know you're where you should be.

I had been visiting a family member at the hospital and as I headed down the hallway toward the elevators, I heard from behind me a very small "Excuse me?" I turned around to see a young Amish woman looking directly at me. "Can you help us?" Her accent made me lift an ear to be sure the words I thought I heard were the words she actually said. "I was looking for someone and then I saw you," she continued. It was very much like English but not at all like English at the same time. "We cannot make it stop."

If she had not been so calm, the words "We cannot make it stop" would have given me pause considering the setting and the fact th...

March 23, 2016

Photo © Nancy Haskins

 

What does it mean to be called by God? If calling exists, is it fixed or fluid? Is there something specific we're supposed to be doing that we might be missing? Does God always or sometimes or ever have a set plan for our individual journeys?

 

In my youth the idea of calling was a terrifying mystery; there were so many conflicting voices on what it was and how one discovered it and what one was to do if they didn’t have a clue. One wrong step, especially early on, might set a person up for an empty and unfulfilled life. And I became convinced I was misstepping all over the place because I landed at the beginning of my third decade feeling lost and left out and useless.

 

One day right there in the middle of my uselessness, I sat with my friend Rebekah by the carefully landscaped pond on the property where we worked. It started in a series of waterfalls that flowed over rocks down an embankment into a small pool. The pool opened into the larger bulk of the pond, their...

February 22, 2016

All my life I have been wooed by a song. Okay—not quite ALL my life considering that it came out two years after my birth, but you get the idea.

 

It entered my young ears via a stereo masquerading as a piece of furniture roughly the size and shape of a credenza. My father built it and began amassing his record collection (which, as I recall, consisted mainly of pipe organ music and big band favorites) long before I came along. Somehow, tucked among these more noble selections, stood a lone wolf. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass were apparently all the rage in 1968 and they recorded a song that will forever stand in my heart as a favorite, even though I am embarrassed by this confession.

 

I heard it not just on Daddy’s behemoth stereo, but over the radio, on television, in grocery stores over the loudspeakers as we meandered the aisles, sneaking things into mom's cart that she would later remove with frazzled disgust. This song was everywhere and became part of the soundtrack of my child...

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