I will never be a good salesman. I remember when I was young, maybe toward the end of middle school or the beginning of high school, I used to go out a few times to sell newspaper subscriptions for the paper I delivered. There is very little that seems more awkward to me than trying to sell something, being declined, and continuing to meet objections with answers. Needless to say, I suspect that the only subscriptions I sold were to those who were already inclined to buy them.

It was only the second drink. Sloshing spinning slivers of silvery ice. Two pieces swimming just beneath the surface. Swirling around in synchrony glassed in an endless circle. A tiny shake from his fingers almighty kept them timelessly turning around each other. They crash into each other from time to time, bludgeon themselves against the invisible crystal wall to freedom, and then float lonely, smaller, melted a bit more than before. Drinking in their drift to nowhere, he watched them waste away. Water in the whiskey.

Red swirling tails overtaking the ripples of clear water. Ribbons of crimson twirling quietly, in this silent moment. A secret flood, a hushed wave, a hidden current rolling smoothly beneath the surface. All by herself, she watches the scarlet dance. Entranced by the simple beauty in the water. Hypnotized by the simple horror of the blood.

Being a mother is wonderful and terrible at the same time.

This task is wrapped up in experiences and expectations not only passed down from her own mother, but from her ideals, friends, and mentors. Even in the Church, we have highlighted the vocation of mother, that this office is necessary and an important service to God and neighbor. There are plenty of blogs, books, and podcasts to guide one in the ways of being a great mother, secular, Christian and otherwise, but there is something critical they may not tell you about mothering. Because, if you considered this little piece of advice, the parenting paradigm may crumble.

I have a difficult time viewing safety as a virtue. Resilience perhaps, fortitude to be sure, but not just safety. I want my kids to be safe, of course. I want them to take reasonable precautions when doing dangerous or risky things. Safety serves the risk; it serves a life marked by danger. It is calculated and reasonably weighed out. But danger, why, danger is the stuff that makes life worth living. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “As soon as there is life, there is danger.” To elevate safety above engagement is a cowardly and timid way to engage this world.

As I began preparing for Holy Week, I was surprised as to how unholy it felt. Between rushing to fill our social media presence with content, incessantly reading the news, and figuring out when it is a good time to buy groceries, I have not been fasting, watching ‘the Passion of the Christ’ or even drooling at Cadbury eggs.  This damn pandemic has really ruined Easter!

The people of God were not a people who stood head and shoulders above everyone else. Their title as His chosen ones did not mean they had the best of everything, that they were safe and secure and lived a fat and happy life free from concern, worry and fear. Rather, their history was marked by slavery, oppression, and nomadic wandering with no place to call their home. They were well acquainted with the horrors of war, disease and struggle.