“My mom found a house for us to look at,” said my fiancé, Jon. “It’s in Richfield, not far from where I grew up.”
“Can you perform a hymn for us next week?” my pastor asked me after Sunday service.
The Girl in the Dream
Was this a church? The high, vaulted ceilings made it seem like one—almost but not exactly.
News From Around Our Wonderful World
Liverpool, England Joanne Carr is hailing her son, Dougie McInerney, as her guardian angel.
A Light in the Blizzard
I stepped on the gas and shifted into drive, then reverse, then back into drive again.
Straight From the Fish's Mouth
Florence, Italy. I’d been there before on one of those scruffy five-dollar-a-day youth-hostel jaunts through Europe, but now, just graduated from college, I was wondering what to do with my life.
Have you ever felt called to a purpose?
As I reached to turn off the lamp on my bedside table, my eyes fell on the card my brother Isaac had given each of us siblings on what would have been Dad’s sixty-eighth birthday.
It was midafternoon, and I was already curled up on the couch in the living room with no plans to move.
A Doll's Hat
My fears around the surgery built all day.... God, please let me be as strong as my young patients are.
The Christmas Clock
It was December 2012, a week before Christmas. I was sitting alone at my kitchen table in Missouri, watching the hands of my Christmas clock tick toward the hour. I was waiting to hear it play “Silent Night,” which it did every night at 11 o’clock. The tune always lifted my spirits. But the second hand passed the hour mark without a peep. My heart sank. The music mechanism must have broken. You couldn’t have picked a better metaphor for my life—I kept on ticking, but the joy was missing.
Q&A: William Peters
A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE HEALING POWER OF SHARED DEATH EXPERIENCES
We were only 48 hours into our family’s three-week road trip when the car broke down. White smoke billowed from the engine. The dashboard warning lights went on.
“I saw a butterfly,” my mother said with a shy smile. It was the first time I’d seen her smile since my father’s death the week before. After a seven-year period of steadily declining health, he’d passed away in his bed at home, surrounded by his wife and three daughters. It was a peaceful end to his suffering, but saying goodbye was still difficult. We all missed him terribly. Especially Mami.
Wings and a Prayer
I heard the front door to our apartment open and walked over to see my mom returning home from the laundromat. She had tears in her eyes.
It was a sunny October day. My husband, Anthony, and I sat with our three kids—Ella, seven; Luca, five; and Zoe, two—as they drew with sidewalk chalk in the driveway. The whole family was enjoying the last bit of nice weather before the winter. Everything felt warm and peaceful.
Secrets of the Labyrinth
I WAS AT THE ENTRY OF Battery Park’s Labyrinth of Contemplation in New York City. A winding pathway of rocks and grass stretched out before me. After studying labyrinths for weeks, I wanted to try one. I’d learned that these fantastical, circuitous pathways can act as prayer tools, helping calm the mind and soul. I sure needed that. Beyond this quiet park, the city had been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Though cases were down and things seemed to be improving, I still felt overwhelmed and uncertain about the future. Will I find the spiritual comfort I’m looking for? I wondered. Adjusting my face mask, I took a deep breath and began….
An Unexpected Visitor
I couldn’t even sort through the first box of our dog Bama’s toys without bursting into tears. My husband, Alan, found me sitting on the floor in our utility room, clutching our late boxer’s favorite squeaky. He gently pulled me to my feet. “It’s okay, Lisa,” he said.
Whenever I think about the Transfiguration, my mind travels back to the fifth- and sixth-grade Sunday school class I once coached to act it out for the congregation. The task seemed nearly impossible.
I stepped out of the federal prison in South Dakota after a decade behind bars and breathed a sigh of relief. I’d served my time. But I wasn’t just free. I was a new man. Honestly, I doubted anyone who knew me before would recognize me. I hardly recognized me.
Visions of Lynn
Is that you, Lynn? I blinked awake. I was lying in bed in my Texas home. Another dream. For months, I’d been plagued by vivid dreams— wood splitting, things coming apart, visions of my parents, and now my cousin Lynn. She’d appeared to me in a flash, like a cameo in a TV sitcom. A beautiful teenager, how she looked when I last saw her. She smiled at me. Then I woke up.
The Firefghter's Warning
When I arrive at the scene, the old frame house on Chicago’s South Side is burning furiously. Smoke and embers dance crazily in the windy winter night. I give the order to unroll the hoses and then dash madly inside. I pull out three people and administer CPR to two of them before the ambulance arrives, rubber screeching on asphalt. When the blaze is finally under control, someone from the department comes up to me.
On Her Way…
New Year’s Eve, 1984. My husband, our two little boys and I were visiting my in-laws in Amarillo, Texas. We watched the ball drop and welcomed the new year together.
A Little Slice of Heaven
I sorted through some cookbooks on the kitchen counter. My husband, Steve, worked next to me in silence. We were going through his parents’ farmhouse near Rock Port, Missouri, trying to decide what to do with everything in it. We were overwhelmed by the 60 years of stuff that had accumulated.
I’ve got to remember to call Tyler today.… The thought came to me while I was waking up, still hazy from sleep. Then I remembered— our son was gone.
What Heaven Was Like
“What was it like when you died?” my friend Olivene asked me. Her voice was surprisingly strong, given how frail she looked propped against the stark white pillows of her hospital bed.
Kids' Meal Miracle
It was the week of my last visit with my 10-year-old mentee, Sam. After four years together, he felt like family, and I couldn’t bear the thought of losing touch with him. But how could I make sure he remembered me, even after our time together ended?
A Bonded Pair
“You can get a kitten,” I promised my seven-year-old daughter, Cali. “As soon as we get settled in our new apartment.” Her life had been uprooted when her father and I divorced, and I wanted to give her something to look forward to. So one Saturday morning, shortly after we unpacked the last box, we headed to North Bay Animal Services to pick out her new pet.
Years ago, after reading a book by a therapist and minister who showed that God can often speak to us in our dreams, I began writing down my own. Every morning, while I still remember them, I make a quick note in a journal about what I dreamed.