Roatan Journal: Day 1

Last July, I traveled to Roatan, Honduras with my husband Mike, oldest daughter Bailey and a team of family and friends. The following are journal entries from a week there.

Day 1. We arrive to a congested Customs line at an island airport, here on Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. A uniformed man with a gun holstered on his belt, stamps our passports. We follow the dense crowd to baggage carousels. Bags slowly circle on the worn, black belt. Passengers dart back and forth, picking up bags like birds snatching seeds from a feeder. We gather our bags and head out the double doors towards the sun. Henry and Frances from Living Water for Roatan meet us outside, in a hot breeze thick with salt and the smell of diesel. Old Toyotas sputter down the road, talking like women, an island Morse code of short and long beeps. Continue reading “Roatan Journal: Day 1”

Letters in the Night

On the fumes of the night, I found a blog. And on the first hit, I was hooked. Sentences swung back and forth like a hypnotist’s watch. Time faded. And a blog I did devour. It was heaven, and I remembered something about good writing. A good writer makes me want to write. Her art is in letters, in making them into story. A good writer is not afraid to look bad to her audience. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. And she writes her life, however sad or comic or seemingly insignificant, through a lens of redemption and grace.

As I reflect on my favorite writers, the ones I most admire, the ones who most inspire me, I realize something else. The writer writes to fail just as much as to succeed. It is the risk she absorbs every time she sits to write. In writing she merges her pain with her bliss and welcomes her reader to a momentary world where he can make sense of his own. Oh, and we love her, love her so much we steal from her. We’ll take her thoughts and re-word them into the sentence of our own life until they become ours as much as they were ever hers. Continue reading “Letters in the Night”

Home, Blankets and Old Jeans

I’m thinking of home again, of the life we left when we vacated a house and neighborhood we’d lived in for almost 15 years. Every once in while, this past brushes up against my skin and, unguarded, the tears come. Like fringe on an old blanket, the faint and gentle threads of this past linger. I knew the blanket so well, knew its threads, the way they fit together and moved. But the fringes are different. Thin and lacking substance, fringes are like ghosts. I feel them unexpectedly, brushing up against a new day in a new place, and suddenly I remember that old blanket that was home and neighborhood and haven. In a cool draft, I miss its warmth and mass. Continue reading “Home, Blankets and Old Jeans”

Memory and Loss

On this tenth anniversary of 9-11, we relive the day that the towers of the World Trade Center buckled and collapsed, the day the Pentagon smoked and airplanes crashed. Televisions across the country re-broadcast pictures of flames pouring out of the jagged chasm in the North Tower. September 11 would be the day our national self image was forever altered, and its images are a flood of memories. We remember. We struggle to explain the event to children who didn’t yet exist when it all happened. Emotions are once again fresh and sore. And as we revisit the terrorist attack, I am amazed at how grief is an attack of its own, often unsuspected until it is upon us. Continue reading “Memory and Loss”

Holding onto Home

This is the house of my childhood. We moved every five years, but this was the house because it was the last place we lived together as a family. The year we moved away from it, my brother left home for college. And every place subsequent wasn’t quite the same. Our family was never quite the same either, and as my brothers each left home for school and visited later with wives, I came to know that something had been lost to us forever there in that house. Continue reading “Holding onto Home”