Keeping Company

Keeping Company

“A great sorrow and a great fear had come into all the world, and the world was changing. Our minds were driven out of the old boundaries into thoughts of absolute loss, absolute emptiness, in a world that seemed larger even than the sky that held it.

nearness of God when we think we are alone“Time doesn’t stop. Your life doesn’t stop and wait until you get ready to start living it. Those years of the war were not a blank, and yet during all that time I was waiting. We all were waiting…moving in wide circles around our sadness.

“The pleasures that came then had a way of reminding you that they had been pleasures once upon a time, when it seemed that you had a right to them. Happiness had a way of coming to you and making you sad. How can you be happy, how can you live, when all the things that make you happy grieve you nearly to death?”

* * *

These excerpts from Wendell Berry’s moving novel, Hannah Coulter, beautifully reveal a woman’s deep reflections on life. Here she’s pining for her soldier husband in WWII, but the words touch a chord for any who have suffered loss.

What resonated with me is the “waiting” Berry describes, the suspension from living life, and how happy things sometimes intensify the sadness.Continue reading

Kingdom Culture – Agreement

Kingdom Culture – Agreement

“Well that explains a lot!”

A week ago, my husband and I solved a ten-year marital problem. After pulling the covers off each other for over a decade, I finally got out a yardstick and discovered that we’d been using a queen-sized comforter on a king-sized bed! It brought a good laugh.

This was a problem by design. Design is important. A few days ago I had an interesting dream that underscored that very point.

glckliche Frau macht Sportyoung man playing ping pongIn the dream, a husband and his wife were playing ping-pong.

Other adults gathered around the table to watch, and I stood to one side observing the scene. Before long the couple abandoned their ping-pong game for a tug-of-war, using a thick knotted rope. Tempers flared. Tears came. The crowd around them started to shout.

The wife turned to me. “Who are these people!” she yelled. “And whose side are they on?”

“They’re the great cloud of witnesses.” I said. “I think they’re trying to tell you something!”Continue reading

No Sparrow Unnoticed

No Sparrow Unnoticed

I was in Budapest two weeks ago. Travel generally transports one into the drama and glories of ages past, but I had a moving spiritual experience that only God could’ve orchestrated. On the blue Danube River that separates “Buda” from “Pest” – two cities, now one – there is a memorial to the Jews who died in the very last days of World War II.

Danube ShoesIt is called, Shoes On The Danube Bank.


Raoul Wallenberg




In July 1944, Raoul Wallenberg, of Schindler’s List fame, came to Budapest as Secretary of the Swedish Foreign Ministry with a plan to save as many Jews as possible. He created thousands of Swedish identity documents for the Jews, protecting them from Nazi deportation. He is credited with ultimately saving as many as 100,000 people.

Meanwhile, the Nazi Party had handed over their power to Hungarian fascists known as the Arrow Cross party. Hungary had initially sided with Germany. On the night of January 8, 1945, Arrow Cross militia marched thousands of Jews to the Danube in Budapest to be shot. The shoes—left behind—brought reality to the human genocide. Though it took place 70 years ago—the terror felt palpable. The shoes, now bronze replicas, are a permanent memorial. Our guides said 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the last five months of the war. The Soviet Red Army would liberate the city only a few weeks after the Danube slaughter.

Memorial Plaque ShoesAt the memorial, I closed my eyes. Intense compassion stirred me down to my toes. Even now as I write this, my eyes are filling with tears.

Where were you God?

To my surprise, a scene unfolded on the screen of my mind: I saw the mass of Jewish people, young and old, male and female, trudging toward the river. Fascist solders flanked them on each side. The people had to know what was about to happen.

But so did God.

Angels vastly outnumbered the soldiers on each side and followed along with the death march. As the people neared the river’s edge, angels passed through the militia as if the soldiers were ghosts.Continue reading