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”

How Great Thou Art

Dearest Rachel – So, this morning was the final session for the weekend’s retreat. Luke drove us up a hill (because the YMCA of the Rockies is an absolutely vast campus – we’d never have time to walk to the place), and delivered his message with this behind him: With the backdrop such as itContinue reading “How Great Thou Art”

The Box of War

Dearest Rachel – I don’t think you performed this before I was aware of you; at least, not when you performed it for the BASIC group as part of a talent night. If I recall, you had also recited this as part of a similar talent night on the educational cruise you took with yourContinue reading “The Box of War”

A Tourist Barely One Town Over

Dearest Rachel – So here I am, wandering around this park in Schaumburg; I’ve been invited to SeptemberFest by someone I met over the app. Unlike my dinner with Ellen, I guess this is something of a date – at least, once she’s done working the bingo booth for the Lions Club. Assuming I canContinue reading “A Tourist Barely One Town Over”

Music For Staring at the Axe

Dearest Rachel – Eleven years ago tomorrow, you went in for surgery to remove a tumor from your brain. At the time, we didn’t know what was going to happen to you; the fact that it was not within the brain was a relatively good sign, and the doctor was fairly certain it would turnContinue reading “Music For Staring at the Axe”

Ce N’est Pas un Rendez-vous

Dearest Rachel – Since both your parents were university art professors, I know you had a thorough grounding in the fine arts, including history and the like. And given your dad’s fondness for dada and surrealism, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Rene Magritte and his work. And at the moment, I’d like to call attention toContinue reading “Ce N’est Pas un Rendez-vous”

Getting Started When You Can’t

Dearest Rachel – My morning starts at ten ‘til six; that’s when I find myself waking up organically. Some wag on the Internet has made the assertion that one’s alarm clock represents one’s theme song, because that’s how you begin most every episode of your life. If that’s the case, then it would seem thatContinue reading “Getting Started When You Can’t”

Out in a Freezing Rain

Dearest Rachel – I’m not gonna play the song here and now, because it deserves it’s own essay sometime in the future, but Mark Heard wrote “Another Good Lie” about those well-intentioned lies he had been told in his younger days by his closest friends and those older and supposedly wiser than himself. Things likeContinue reading “Out in a Freezing Rain”

The Return Trip

God, grant us strength todayAs we go our separate ways.Though we do not know quite when,Shield us ’til we meet again. me, this morning Dearest Rachel – And so it goes, as they say in Tralfamadore. It’s time (and past time, compared to almost everyone else) to return to life as usual… whatever that isContinue reading “The Return Trip”

A Few Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Dearest Rachel – Normally, the two of us would be scrambling to get everything put together and out to the car before we headed out to the sponsor brunch. this was basically because we needed to check out by noon, and we would probably barely be finished with brunch by then. Not because we ateContinue reading “A Few Impossible Things Before Breakfast”

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”

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”

Can’t Recall The Verse

Dearest Rachel – I don’t often set my alarm these days, but it’s necessary on Saturdays, in order to ensure I’m there on time for the men’s Bible study (not to mention the fact that, on the first Saturday of the month – because last week was a holiday – the guys organizing it fixContinue reading “Can’t Recall The Verse”

Fugue State Vignettes

Dearest Rachel – A quick word of warning: this particular letter is not going to make any sense, it’s going to hop between one image or moment and another. That’s because everything listed here happens in my sleep, or just as I’m yanked out of it. So, the other night, I was in in theContinue reading “Fugue State Vignettes”

Once More, With Feeling

Dearest Rachel – “This had better be some roller coaster.” Yeah, the line was that much longer today than the first time. I’m not sure why. To be honest, I thought I’d heard that doses were starting to go begging at this point. Although, to be fair, it has been quite the roller coaster, thisContinue reading “Once More, With Feeling”

In Praise of 20/200 Vision

What kind of friends do friends becomeWhen a blind eye turns on the damage done?What kind of friend could I become?What kind of friend am I? Mark Heard, “What Kind of Friend,” from Second Hand (1992) Dearest Rachel – There’s a story about the great Admiral Nelson, who, during the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801,Continue reading “In Praise of 20/200 Vision”

Bill, Melinda, and What Constitutes ‘Enough’

Dearest Rachel – Normally, I wouldn’t comment on current events in these letters. What happens in the wider world was of little concern to us even when we both were here; how much less so, now that the world itself is no longer a concern of yours. But I had to pause when I sawContinue reading “Bill, Melinda, and What Constitutes ‘Enough’”

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”

from Rachel: A Meditation on Psalm 77

I will remember my song in the night;I will meditate with my heart,And my spirit ponders: I will remember the deeds of the Lord;I will certainly remember Your wonders of old.I will meditate on all Your work,And on Your deeds with thanksgiving. Psalm 77:6,11,12, New American Standard Bible (NASB) (v.6 “I will remember my song in the night”) What song will you rememberContinue reading “from Rachel: A Meditation on Psalm 77”

Havering

Dearest Rachel – The Scots have this perfectly charming word that, by dint of it belonging exclusively to them throughout the English-speaking word, speaks volumes about their level of self-awareness in comparison to the rest of us. ha·ver/ˈhāvər/ havered; past participle: havered; gerund or present participle: haveringto talk foolishly; babble. Evidently, foolish talk is soContinue reading “Havering”

So Many Little Things

Dearest Rachel – You know I began this site as a form of therapy – a way to reach out to you despite knowing full well that you would see neither a word nor a pixel of it. It made a sort of bookending sense – we started our courtship by writing letters to eachContinue reading “So Many Little Things”

Too Late for Christmas Music

Dearest Rachel – I am so sorry… You might recall, during the Christmas season, I had attempted to find an album from my childhood, with music I’d never to my knowledge heard anywhere else, but really thought ought to have wider exposure. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but I liked the songs, and wanted to shareContinue reading “Too Late for Christmas Music”

Antici…

“Say it! Say it!” “Nope. Not gonna do it.” “…it’s for the kids.” “…ohhh, all right. But they better not laugh!” “Oh-okay. Here we go, then!” Dearest Rachel – Jan and I were busy pulling out cans and bottles from the cabinet in the utility room when the phone rang. Haven’t used the phone inContinue reading “Antici…”