from Rachel: Cultivating Community

“May 11 “I think as a group and as a church we are doing pretty well at having ‘real community.’ For my part, I need to work harder on being honest – I only like to dig so deep into myself, sharing everything is too much to ask. I also need to be humble inContinue reading “from Rachel: Cultivating Community”

Biden My Time

Dearest Rachel – I’m sure that you wouldn’t approve, I don’t feel like there’s anything I can do about it. Now that the house has been thoroughly cleaned out, there are so many more rooms Daniel and I can use. And use them we do; except it means that we’re rarely in the same roomContinue reading “Biden My Time”

The Shoe Finally Drops

Dearest Rachel – I teased about this the other day, because it was happening almost at the same time I was writing about dealing with another scammer on the dating app. But this one was longer in coming around. In fact, I was wondering if it would even actually happen. But I think I knewContinue reading “The Shoe Finally Drops”

More Enthused Than I

Dearest Rachel – Not too much to report in the way of dreams this morning. Just some snippets of trying to rent transportation to get to Akihabara and Comiket, only to get some kind of FaceTime call from you and Kevin(!), indicating that the two of you were already wherever I was trying to getContinue reading “More Enthused Than I”

But Father, By Your Grace

Dearest Rachel – I almost feel the need to apologize for upstaging you today; this being Sunday, I would be posting (and I have posted) some of your notes from the Purpose-Driven Life journal you were working on in 2004. But this is likely to overshadow it, I’m afraid. Of course, why shouldn’t it? MarathonContinue reading “But Father, By Your Grace”

from Rachel: Worship That Pleases God

“May 6 (late afternoon – I’m famished and developing a headache) “As worship types go, I think I’m a combination of Naturalist, Enthusiast and (somewhat) Intellectual. “Let’s see, words other than: worship, praise, thanks, hallelujah or amen. So I should try to instead use words like: adore, exalt, magnify, glorify, extol, appreciate, honor, blessed, privileged,Continue reading “from Rachel: Worship That Pleases God”

Awaiting the Verdict

Dearest Rachel – It’s seven a.m. Chompers wakes me up with whine; he’s back to his old schedule (after a fashion), and I pick him up, and take him out front. He pees the length of the sidewalk connecting the front stoop to the driveway, and I discover as I set him into his harnessContinue reading “Awaiting the Verdict”

Sudden Drop

Dearest Rachel – Under circumstances that seemed less dire, I’d probably be soundtracking this letter with Citizen King’s “I’ve Seen Better Days,” because the bottom seems to have dropped out all of a sudden. But – since the bottom has seemed to have dropped out all of a sudden – I wonder if that wouldn’tContinue reading “Sudden Drop”

Everything Looks Different in the Morning – But What About the Afternoon?

Dearest Rachel – One of the things they talked about at Grief Share last night was the difference between actively pursuing suicide, and the simple desire to no longer live. The latter is an attitude of “if you were to take me, too, God, I wouldn’t mind,” and is a fairly normal reaction to theContinue reading “Everything Looks Different in the Morning – But What About the Afternoon?”

And So It Begins

Dearest Rachel – So here we are. I never thought I’d be doing this again; maybe that’s part of the point. Maybe this partly some form of karmic punishment for not having taking you on enough dates back when I had a chance. It’s true that when you’re married – especially for a lengthy periodContinue reading “And So It Begins”

from Rachel: What Makes God Smile?

“The smile of God is the goal of my life. “I need to trust God more whenever I have a chance to indulge in a fun leisure activity but I know it’s really not the best time for it and I ought to wait for a better time (Usually either because there are chores IContinue reading “from Rachel: What Makes God Smile?”

Unsettled

Dearest Rachel – It’s a challenging thing to try to navigate the ocean that is the dating pool. I chatted with a woman who seemed frustrated that the men she was meeting didn’t seem to know what they wanted out of a woman. Since I didn’t see her as a potential match (and therefore wasContinue reading “Unsettled”

The Point of the Tree

Dearest Rachel – I have a lot of questions for God. And this is despite the fact that I know that I have no more right to ask them that Job did. Actually, probably considerably less right, given that even God himself referred to him as ‘righteous,’ which most likely could not be applied toContinue reading “The Point of the Tree”

The Day You Said ‘Yes’

Dearest Rachel – It’s hard to remember sometimes, but there was a time when the idea of ‘us’ wasn’t a foregone conclusion. On the other hand, as of this day, thirty years ago, it was, for all intents and purposes. It was but a question of when. After all, you had spent time with usContinue reading “The Day You Said ‘Yes’”

Wondering if the Chains Will Hold

Dearest Rachel – When I was a little kid, I really wasn’t much for roller coasters. The idea of being spun around and inverted at those dizzying speeds, suspended at heights that, were I to fall from, would undoubtedly kill me (and that was merely the drop itself; never mind the metal mechanisms and trackContinue reading “Wondering if the Chains Will Hold”

Worshiping Golden Calves

Dearest Rachel – There’s a bit of Sunday school jokelore, wherein a young boy is asked about his favorite story from the Bible. “I like the part where Moses breaks all the Ten Commandments!” is the enthusiastic response. Well, he’s not exactly wrong. File this under r/technicallythetruth. Yes, honey, this is the sermon this weekend,Continue reading “Worshiping Golden Calves”

from Rachel: Seeing Life from God’s View

“April 28 and 30” “If I were to try and give a metaphor to life, I think I would go with it being a journey. To me, this isn’t entirely worldly and unbiblical, there is A Pilgrims Progress, and, more importantly, Jesus talks of the narrow road to heaven as opposed to the wide roadContinue reading “from Rachel: Seeing Life from God’s View”

The Thirty-First of the Month

Dearest Rachel – I never really gave much thought to the thirty-first of the month. Yes, certain things occurred on the last day of the month – bills to pay, income transferred, that sort of thing that was more or less routine – but nothing that could be considered upsetting in any way. But theseContinue reading “The Thirty-First of the Month”

Other People’s Problems

Dearest Rachel – As much as she insists that she is not – and has no desire to be – “Megumi,” Erin does have a curious knack for proving my point that ‘it is not right for a man to be alone.’ If I wander around, lost in my own thoughts, before too long, thoseContinue reading “Other People’s Problems”

Self-Indulgence and Survivor’s Guilt

Dearest Rachel – Among the many reasons why I wish you were still here, you could remind me of some of the things we did together back in the day. I have mostly vague recollections, and the occasional sharp image or phrase, but that’s about it. Sometimes, the only way I can remember when somethingContinue reading “Self-Indulgence and Survivor’s Guilt”

from Rachel: What Drives Your Life?

“I am chagrined to admit that my driving force would generally be the pursuit of pleasure. The second would be necessity. The latter kicks in when the former is overcome by: hunger, fear (of scoldings etc.) pride (not wanting to accept the image and all the labels I earn), nagging etc.” “I’m not sure whatContinue reading “from Rachel: What Drives Your Life?”

What To Do About VidCon?

Dearest Rachel – So, the news has come down the pike… they’re actually holding VidCon this year. It’s going to be in October this year, rather than June or July, but it’s still happening. I wonder how that’s going to fly with its core audience, which seems to be kids who otherwise ought to beContinue reading “What To Do About VidCon?”

Secular Answers

Dearest Rachel – You might remember the many times that we would talk together about various issues of the day, and what’s up with the younger generation. Part of that had to do with one of my ideas for a YouTube channel – I was hoping to illustrate to a younger audience than ourselves (which,Continue reading “Secular Answers”

If You’re Looking for Devils

Dearest Rachel – When I was a freshman in high school, I think it was our youth group that went to another church where there was a presentation about the evils of rock music. I heard it all there: the ‘fact’ that the Eagles’ Hotel California album featured Anton LeVay head of the church ofContinue reading “If You’re Looking for Devils”

Trying to Take My Own Advice

Dearest Rachel – I’m sure by now that you’ve noticed a lot of my letters to you seem a little bit disjointed and disorganized. They do tend to bounce around from thought to thought within the alleged confines of the topic I’ve decided to cover in the letter (and even then sometimes it’s hard toContinue reading “Trying to Take My Own Advice”

The Drama Llama

Dearest Rachel – Among the piles of clothing that filled the sunroom once upon a time, there were some Christmas presents that you never got the chance to enjoy. There was the odd item that didn’t arrive in time, since you had ordered them for yourself (it was a standing agreement that if you foundContinue reading “The Drama Llama”

from Rachel: It All Starts With God

“April 20, 2004 “Let me begin by saying that this is my second time through this book. However, this time I intend to make every effort to read one chapter a day as intended (not cram on the afternoon of the meeting). How can I remind myself today that life is really about living forContinue reading “from Rachel: It All Starts With God”

Problems With My Parenting

Dearest Rachel – So the folks have developed this routine of inviting us over almost every Thursday night. It’s really not unlike back in the days when you would be visiting your parents for a week, or those times you would go on women’s retreats, or any other point in which you were away fromContinue reading “Problems With My Parenting”

Dreams of Future Passed

Dearest Rachel – To say that the events of the past few years have upended my plans would be rather a gross understatement. Hey, look, kids, check it out – it’s the latest installment of the adventures of Marvel’s newest superhero, Captain Obvious! Or would he be a DC type of character? I don’t know…Continue reading “Dreams of Future Passed”

Belt Tightening

Dearest Rachel – It’s not something I really feel like checking very often. Mostly because, like most people, I’m not sure I’d like what I find out. But I know where I was barely 6 months ago, and I know things have improved since then. So the question is, by how much? So, for theContinue reading “Belt Tightening”

Fear Of Failing Memory

Dearest Rachel – People sometimes tell me I have an impressive memory. And I suppose, for the things I learned in childhood, that’s not far from the mark. I would memorize Bible verses and the like for Awana, and many of them have stayed with me just like some of them actually advertise: “Train upContinue reading “Fear Of Failing Memory”

Twenty-Eight

Dearest Rachel – Twenty-eight years ago today, I came home from work to find you standing in the bathtub, leaking. I think you had expected your water to break with a single large gush, and that wasn’t happening. But regardless, we had to get you over the hospital right away. You insisted on walking –Continue reading “Twenty-Eight”

The Comfort of His Chair

Dearest Rachel – It seems I owe my sister an apology. In fact, I think we both do. The thing is, we were in over our heads in so many different areas of our life. And only now am I trying to work my way through rebuilding some of those areas that so desperately needContinue reading “The Comfort of His Chair”

The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part nine – conclusion, for now)

Dearest Rachel – The letters that I wrote you back when we were officially courting never had titles. They were either filling you in on the things that were going on in my life while we were separated, or explaining the songs that I was sending you along with the letter, or just telling youContinue reading “The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part nine – conclusion, for now)”

The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part eight – “Megumi”)

Dearest Rachel – So, now you’re gone. And I’m on my own, still raising Daniel, but essentially alone. And I don’t mind telling you, I hate it. So much so, that I am already seeking God’s will to find somebody new. Not so much as to take your place as… maybe fill the spot youContinue reading “The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part eight – “Megumi”)”

The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part seven – You)

Dearest Rachel – I could have easily switched this part and that about work in chronological order. As it was, I did write you that crucial letter before I was actually situated in the position that ultimately became my career. But that was when I expected to have to write you off, along with prettyContinue reading “The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part seven – You)”

The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part six – Work)

Dearest Rachel – While the choice of a career would tend to ultimately dictate where one works, it doesn’t always follow that strictly. There’s a difference between working for a firm whose industry is that of your chosen profession, and working for a company that needs departmental staff that perform said profession. That is theContinue reading “The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part six – Work)”

The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part five – Dena)

Dearest Rachel – While I tried to reinvent myself with a more outgoing persona at college, I still wasn’t the type to seek out any actual relationships. Still, the close quarters environment was pretty nice for more casual friendships, and those I had plenty of. Indeed, I learned early on in college that I gotContinue reading “The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part five – Dena)”

The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part four – College)

Dearest Rachel – For all the momentous decisions I had to make in my life, they should’ve been one upon which everything hinged. Had I not gone where I went, I would not have met you, we would have not become us… everything depended on this moment, on this choice. And while I’m sure IContinue reading “The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part four – College)”

The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part three – Chris)

Dearest Rachel – The most amazing thing about my relationship with you was the fact that you had never really been interested in boys prior to me writing to you after graduating from college. Granted, this is getting slightly ahead of myself, but this is a situation that I know is unique and remarkable. Oh,Continue reading “The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part three – Chris)”

The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part two – Major)

Dearest Rachel – So yesterday, I mentioned how I rarely ever consulted with God about my plans for the future – or at least, I don’t really recall having engaged in in deep, prayerful discussions with Him on the subject. I know I never heard His voice on any major decision or turning point inContinue reading “The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part two – Major)”

The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part one – Introduction)

Dearest Rachel – Looking back over a number of these entries, it’s somewhat embarrassing to see how often everything is peppered with first-person pronouns. “I,” “me,” “my,” and the like are spread all over the place, when this is supposed to be about you. And yet, just about everything I know about you comes fromContinue reading “The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part one – Introduction)”

If There Be Aloneness

Dearest Rachel – If there be alonenessLet it befor the pleasure of one’s own company for the striving to understand oneself for the joy of relaxation but most of allLet it beby choice. Mya Anderson (PHS Class of 1988) Roundtable 1986 I have carried this little slice of wisdom, penned by a classmate your ageContinue reading “If There Be Aloneness”