Perseverance in Writing

Posted on April 18, 2021

Last year I decided to draft a poem a day during Lent. A bit into my state’s covid lockdown I stopped altogether and haven’t written much since. I was disgusted with my writing. Yesterday I flipped through the poems I’d drafted and was astonished to discover I liked what I’d written – not every phrase or poem is a keeper, but I saw things I liked, things I can edit down, sharpen, or carve out. I’ve never been good atRead More

God is Always Good

Posted on April 30, 2020

These past few days, as I’ve prayed for the Lord to bring in the remaining funds needed to get me back to Japan by today, Easter Sunday, this story has been on my heart. It’s in II Samuel 12. David has seen Bathsheba, taken her for himself, gotten her pregnant, had her husband killed, and been convicted by Nathan the prophet’s story. And Nathan has told him that the Lord is going to take the life of the son BathshebaRead More


Posted on April 30, 2020

While I’ve been stateside I’ve been meeting with a spiritual director who’s been helping me process things uncovered during my first term in Japan. This little mini-allegory was inspired by our most recent conversation. It’s been encouraging me and I hope it will encourage you too: We were trekking through familiar terrain. I was leading her along well-trod paths, highlighting blighted trees and festering pools along the way, when my friend asked, “What’s this?”, and stepped off the path. SheRead More

Lessons From Ugliness

Posted on April 30, 2020

When I was a freshman in college I had to do a project for my English class. I don’t remember the details of the assignment, but I remember I submitted a collage of lovely, romantic nature scenes. And my professor, from that, pinpointed a flaw in my world view. She observed that I was only acknowledging the lovely, peaceful, beautiful side of nature. But what about the ugliness and destruction?  I don’t recall if she directly made the connection withRead More

Reverse Culture Shock

Posted on April 30, 2020

When I thought about my time back in the States I wondered how I would experience reverse culture shock. I expected to find things too loud – both in volume and volubility – but I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond that. Now, after several months back, I’ve discovered another, more persistent example.  In America, we say “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” In Japan, they say “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” In Japan, subtlety is prizedRead More

Dry Dock

Posted on April 30, 2020

I’ve read enough books and seen enough movies set on large boats to know that repairs and maintenance work are performed in three places: at sea, in port, and in drydock. Large boats are designed to spend long stretches at sea, crossing oceans, and thus, regular maintenance and even emergency repairs may need to be done while on the open water. But some repairs or maintenance work requires supplies that aren’t on hand, etc. These can be done when the boatRead More