*Note: This audio essay first aired on KRCC (Colorado Springs’ NPR affiliate, 91.5 FM) on October 22, 2020. The link to the program is here; the audio file and the text from the essay are below.


“The people who live in darkness have seen a great light.”

So began one of our minister’s sermons this past winter.

That’s all I heard, sitting with the pack of wild baboons known as my daughters. They’ve actually spit out Communion bread before at church, which was more than a little awkward.

But I want to tell you a nicer story, give you a glimpse into our minister’s work – how she meets her church’s mission statement to “feed people, all ways.”

A few years ago my then 6-year-old had a seizure. I had been overseas in Korea the previous year – my wife had to do multiple emergency room trips alone – I and when I was finally there for one, I didn’t know what to do.

If you ever want to know helplessness, watch a loved one’s body shut down and have absolutely no ability to stop it. It was like watching her drown, and doing nothing.

We got through it, and the next morning, in the dark, on my run, I stopped, put my hands on my knees, felt so ashamed and such a failure as a father that I couldn’t stop the sobbing.

A few days later I was back on my knees, this time holding my daughter’s hand, both of us kneeling for communion.

As she always does, our minister asked my daughter, “Would you like a blessing?”

It’s the simplest thing – gentle touch to the forehead and some kind words.

It meant so much. In that moment, I felt better. At peace.

Whether you go to church or not, we all know suffering is universal. We all feel pain.

Some pain can’t be bound up or bandaged over. It’s deeper, so it matters that our town has someone like our minister, a special kind of doctor whose door is always open.

Be good, be well, be the hero in your life’s movie. Until next week, no matter what, climb on.

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