Monday, November 27, 2006


Wednesday is my wife's birthday. For the almost 8 months I have run this blog I have kept the simple commandment “thou shalt not blog about your wife (especially when she is a very private person)”

But with all the other essays and notes I have written in these pages, I cannot let a day like this pass without acknowledging the brilliant and beautiful woman who has shared my life and made me a better man. As she has recently been far away, my appreciation for how blessed I am to be her husband has only deepened.

I wrote the note below in my journal after our first year of marriage. It is even more true now than it was then:

I live an amazing romance –as beautiful as it is improbable. To love each other so passionately and honesty. To have a woman as lovely and wise as my Joy... to look forward and back through the years and see nothing but her smiling face... to always catch her tears when she cries... it is more than anything I could imagine. If I read it in a book or saw it in a movie I would call it a lie –too perfect to reflect any reality. But here I am lying beside her as she sleeps!

*The picture of the little girl is Joy on her 4th or 5th birthday. I always smile when I see it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christmas Gifts

I got what looked like a catalog in the mail the other day. I was about to throw it away with the rest of the junk mail, when I noticed it wasn't quite the "gift catalog" it seemed. Instead of smiling models it was full pictures of ragged children in the third world. The cover advertised it as "gifts for the person who has everything." The catalog was full of gifts to those in need that you can give as a gift to someone you love. The gifts included such much-needed things as goats, blankets, immunizations, pre-natal care for poor people.

It must have caught me at particularly awkward time, because I began to cry right there on my porch. I had come home from work tired and grumpy. Recently my life of isolation has mostly been alternating numbness and self-absorption. The looming chore of Christmas shopping was a only a joyless burden on our strained finances. Now my beloved niece and nephew who have plenty of toys will be getting wheelchairs for disabled kids in the third world for Christmas. Giving such gifts to those who have nothing is a wonderful way to break us out of the materialistic stupor into which we so easily fall.

Much thanks to World Vision for reminding me that the gift we are celebrating is Christ, the birth of redemption and unconditional love into our sad world. Why do I so easily forget Christ?

You can see the catalog here:

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Blood on My Hands (South Dakota)

Most of the fuss over the recent election is likely a lot of noise over nothing, exchanging bad for bad. The real tragedy of this election was the ballot that struck down the South Dakota Abortion Ban. I fear this injustice among us will not end in our lifetime, because in the end we want the ability to terminate those who inconvience us. What finally brought down the ban was that it would protect offspring of rapists from being killed. It reminds me of how even good people want to excuse the deaths of Muslim civilians and children, because they might be relatives of terrorists.

I found something I wrote in the gridbooks during medical school that reflects how I feel today:

On being a pro-life medical student:

Lord Jesus, how eagerly my brothers and sisters rush to shed innocent blood! And I am guilty with them. I cannot deny my hand in this. I have raised my fist and joined in the battle cry of individualism, which deals death the weak, the silent and the inconvenient. How lost we are! How desperately lonely!

And what do I say to them? I understand too well. I have blood on my hands as well. Would I lay down my rights, my life, even my comforts for another person I have never met? I say "yes" but it is only an abstraction. So I am forced to sit and listen as they sing the praises of destruction. I speak, but they respond, "What right do you have?"

I have no right. I am no less a sinner. So I am here among them, alone and shuddering. What have we done? How did we get so lost? Why don't we care about what we have done? How did our compassions become so misguided that even our caring breeds more violence?

How long can this last? How long can we go on neglecting our neighbors and living well at the expense of the weak, poor, and small? The problem is that we can go on this way indefinitely. Our human capacity to misuse each other is almost limitless.