Deep Thoughts

My youngest daughter, Abbey, looked at me this afternoon and said, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" She's four. I said, "Yes" and winked at her; she winked back and returned to what she was thinking about. I don't know what that was. But I wish I did. What was she thinking about in that moment? What was going on behind those saddle-brown eyes with falling auburn hair in them? I've been home quite a bit lately; I have some writing deadlines and so many days have found me in the basement, in front of a keyboard, from sunstart to sunfinish. She's four, so she's been home as well. She's come down to check on me quite a bit lately; she doesn't stay long, just a little while. Although I hear her coming down the stairs, she is convinced she's sneaking up on me and greets me with a "boo" and I do my best startle and she always says, "It's me - Abbey." Many days she wants to go to a "dot-com" and print off coloring pages from a My Little Pony or Curious George website. She's a four-year old persistent widow and so we usually sit and wait for my printer to start its heaving, eventually coughing up pictures for her to color. I've noticed the last few visits that she has put her hand on my arm while persistently presenting her widow's case. I wonder what she's thinking about? I hope she's thinking that her dad is so happy when she sneaks down the stairs to startle him. That he's so relieved that it's her - Abbey, whose name means "father's joy." I hope she's thinking that it's a good thing for her to put her hand on my arm and reassure her dad that his work these days in not in vain, although somedays he feels like a loser, driving his family in a metaphorical covered wagon across uncertain terrain in search of his dreams to be a writer. I pray she's thinking that asking me for coloring pages will help me to keep some childlikeness in my afternoons that frequently border on the serious and anxious. I hope she's thinking, "Hey, I'll stand close enough to dad so he can smell my hair. He helped me wash it last night and that'll make him remember the true work of his hands these days - fathering. He's got plenty of time to be a writer, but his days of fathering are numbered. I'm four, but not for long." And maybe that was what she was thinking about this afternoon when she asked me if I knew what she was thinking about. "I'm growing up daddy, fast." Today it's dot-coms and "boo" and the man with the yellow hat, but tomorrow it'll be girlfriends and boys and talking on the phone until 2am and saying, "Aw, dad" when I stop and smell her hair, hair that once took two to wash but now takes one. I don't know if that's what you're thinking or not, Abbey. But it's what I'm thinking. Thank you, dear one, for your hand on my arm. Thank you, pumpkin, for startling me daily into what really counts. Thank you, one so fresh from God, for reminding me that you do get to participate in coloring your life's pages. And bless you, my child, for letting me help you wash you hair, if just for a little while longer. That's what I'm thinking about.


"I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage. They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves. Perhaps some deep-rooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history. Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds rest." - W. Somerset Maugham

This may be my favorite quote of all time. I first found it in an edition of Glimmer Train - a literary mag I was able to afford for about a year. The quote now rests above a picture on my desk; a picture of a best friend and me in the Grand Canyon. Two broad-shouldered, deep-chested men with bird legs and astigmatisms standing beside the frigid water that runs through the bowels of the Grand. Two spectacled, unshaven guys with hands cocked on their hips, as if declaring to any who would listen, "We are here. Let the record show that we are here." Browned from the sun, we look young. And at rest. After hiking down from the north rim a descent worthy of something Dante might have envisioned, we appear to be at rest. How can this be? Was there some deep-rooted atavism that urged us to the Grand Canyon that blessed October? Why was this a place to which we felt we mysteriously belonged? These were scenes never seen before, a landscape we had never known; yet, they were as familiar to us as if we'd been here all along. Maybe this was home and we were at last, at rest. I do know that my friend and I often feel like aliens with a sense of strangeness that flows in our veins, aloof to the snapshots we usually pose for. I had the same experience, however, when the same friend and I climbed the last few golden stairs of Pikes Peak. We walked into the snack bar/gift shop on top of that mountain with salt crystals in our eyebrows, more dehydrated than we cared to admit, trying to stay erect on our birdlegs and yet we were at rest. I do feel that there are places that are more "home" than others, places we visit along the way and are refreshed. I also feel that there are people that are "home" for us, people that are closer than blood relatives. These are people that we mysteriously feel we belong to, like maybe we were brothers or sisters or something and a crazy chain of events took place at our birth and we were separated and farmed out to different families - born out of due place. And we spend our whole lives searching for that lost sibling who has the other half of the silver pendant we wear around our necks. And when we finally find them and spend time in their presence, we're home, at rest. Regardless of the descent or ascent we've just made, being with them brings rest, peace, wholeness, harmony, home. Maybe these people are our witnesses - they are they ones who stand by us and declare, "We are here. Let the record show that we are here." And maybe it is only those who can witness to the person we really are that can offer something along the lines of "home." The perennial question: Who are your people? Your great cloud of witnesses? I don't think the word "great" refers to numbers here, but to gifts of perception.

What the bleep do we know?

"Because nothing true can be said about God from a posture of defense." - Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

"Facts often have little to do with the truth." - Carolyn Forche

My driver's license tells you that my weight is 180 pounds and my height is 6'1". It also tells you that I live on such and such a street in such and such a town with a five-digit zip code. My primary vehicle is a minivan. My credit report tells you that I dinged a check in the spring and my checking account testifies to the way God still feeds my multitude on loaves and fish. I'm also writing a book right now, hopefully finishing it up in September. All factual, all verifiable, all something you could call and check out. But facts often have little to do with the truth. The truth is that I'm 6'1" in my cowboy boots and my weight is something I never, ever think about. The truth is that while I reside in a house on such and such a street, I tend to live in the past. I heard the theme from St. Elmo's Fire this afternoon on the easy listening station and it took me back to a rainy afternoon in jr. high, working on a science fair project at our little, round kitchen table, and I could smell the pine through the screen on the back door and my brother was playing in his room, while my mother prepared supper and dad was on his way home and all was right with the world as I knew it. And I wept for the boyhood God graced me with and prayed for something as beautiful for my own children. And while I occasionally drive a minivan, the truth is I hate it. I'd love to be driving a pickup truck with hay in the floorboards and old work gloves in the seat and four different hubcaps on the tires and toothpicks, new and used, in the little holder in the door and being able to glance in the rearview mirror and see my kids standing up in the bed and holler through the open window, "Hey, sit down or I'm gonna stop this truck." The truth is that my credit report and checking account are reflective of where I am in life right now - following stars and geese and God. And none of that path seems to include regular paychecks these days. The truth is I'm not writing a book; I'm laboring under a deadline. I agreed to write a book on Christian denominations in America and the money was right, but it's killing me because it's full of facts and facts often have little to do with the truth. I wonder what the real truth is about God? We know the facts, but do we know the truth? Does he really enjoy all those angels flying around all the time? Or does he occasionally say, "Hey, sit down or I'm gonna stop this truck?" Does he really live in heaven or does he tend to live in the past, remembering that blessed night in Bethlehem when the magic worked like never before? Or how about his first friends, Adam and Eve, and how they strolled in the cool of the day, probably enjoying some easy listening music and the smell of pines and feeling that all in the world was right? Or maybe he lives in the future and dreams of how it's gonna be, like ole' George always tells Lenny about in Of Mice and Men? Is he really a Democrat or Republican or does he never, ever think about that at all? And while the facts on his credit report might reveal delinquent moments by Visa's standards, the truth is that he continually rolls the dice on fools like me and stars and geese. And sometimes we shine and fly and sometimes we fall. Or just walk around honking, looking and feeling lost. And maybe the truth is that Christian denominations in America are killing him too; maybe literally, because facts often have so little to do with the truth.

Holding Hands with Annie and Sy

Annie Dillard: "Write as if you were dying."

Sy Safransky: "At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?"

John Blase: "What would you blog if you knew you would die tonight?"

If this is the night that the river calls my name (thanks, Barry Lopez, for that wonderful phrase), then...goodness, this is just a little scary. If this is the night that the river calls my name, then I say to my wife: "You're stronger than you think, baby. And you're much more beautiful than you believe. Go through the books in my smallest bookcase - there's probably some cash hiding in some of them; but more importantly, my heart is in them. Maybe, just maybe you could begin to understand the man I am. And love again. Continue to shuck off the husk you so despise. You are diamond."

To my kids, I say: "Do what you love. Will, you love video games, so play 'em. Play 'em until you get the equivalent of lumberjack whitefinger. And know you are my firstborn, my might and strength. Make your sons and daughters copy pages out of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, just like I made you. And fly high, my son. Sarah, you are Anne of Green Gables incarnate and my sunshine. Follow that beautiful heart of yours wherever it takes you and stand your ground until some man who has the strength to woo you comes along and then love him. Abbey Tennyson, you are your father's joy. Always have been. You're named after Edward Abbey, who was a grade A crank; live up to your name, pumpkin. Give 'em hell. And you're also named after Alfred Lord Tennyson. Give 'em beauty. Spend time with Idylls of the King - 'more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.'"

To everyone else: "This world is a beautiful place and worth dying for. It's also full of beautiful people and worth living for. However it plays out, don't be afraid. I believe the mercy of God will trump the judgment card. I will see each of you again. The world was made to be free in."

I could write so much more...maybe Annie and Sy know that and they're advice is meant to propel you into a worthy novel or poem or something. There is much to say that will not enrage by its triviality. And I am dying. But please, God - not tonight. I've so much more to write...

Unless You Become As A Little Child...

Our kids start back to school tomorrow. We met their teachers this afternoon - both of them "new faculty" this year. These ladies had their rooms "a tip-toe" with instructions on the board for open house day. Directives were listed such as place your Kleenex boxes on the back counter, put your trapper keeper in the desk (recognized by your name taped to the top), and go out in the hall and find your new locker (again, located by your name taped to the door). There were popsicles in the cafeteria once you'd completed your home room welcome list and you could eat them while perusing displays of various kinds - boy scouts, girl scouts, running club, and the table filled with mascoted t-shirts, sweatshirts and caps.

Our kids did everything they needed to do and then moved to something they "wanted" to do. True, they wanted a popsicle, but that was a part of the afternoon's agenda to begin with. What did they want to do? Go see their teachers from last year. Not their old room or faithful desk; no, just the teacher. We found the ladies of last year and the kids received hugs and questions about their summer and blessings for the new year. But I found that desire interesting. The start of the new was not complete without giving a nod to the old. While the future lay before them, they "wanted" to honor the past, touch it and be hugged by it. Maybe they were needing to re-member themselves for the new year? Maybe while they were summer, they thought and acted like summer, but now that they are school, they were needing to put aside their summerish ways? And the desired way to do that was to look into the eyes of one who guided them while autumn leaves fell, winter winds howled, and springtime flowers bloomed. Sentiment usually gets a bad rap in our day and time. Sappy love songs or a longing for the good old days is thought of as shallow emotionalism at best and a hindrance to progress at worst. But the word actually means "a refined sensibility" - a refined way of making sense of things. And my kids have a feel for that already at ages eight and nine. They probably couldn't articulate it - probably wouldn't want to - but they know it deep within the marrow of their elementary bones. Maybe they didn't fall too far from this old oak, full of sentimental sap...My kids get an A+ for the day. Good job, guys.

El Bastardo

"...God is love. We always assumed that these three words were spoken directly to the four of us in our family and had no reference to the world outside, which my brother and I soon discovered was full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the farther one gets from Missoula, Montana." Norman Maclean - A River Runs Through It

I was working yesterday on the equivalent of the shipping docks for this company. Employees routinely walk through the docks, taking a moment's breather from customers. A guy walked through yesterday and said, "Man, there's a jerk in the footwear department and he's wearing a Jesus t-shirt. And James (named changed to protect the guilty) is about to punch him in the face." James is a fellow employee - smart, fast (a runner), and a cynic when it comes to matters of faith. He knows I used to preach a little and we joke every once in a while about church, etc. I took a moment and peeked into the footwear department to get a glimpse of the situation. Sure enough, some guy wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with big, bold "Jesus Disaster Relief Unit" on it was throwing his weight around about shoes; yeah, shoes. I listened long enough to be reminded that the farther one gets from heaven, be that defined as Missoula, Montana or somewhere over Jordan's stormy banks, the number of bastards does increase rapidly. And many of them have the outward trappings of knowing who Jesus is. They're wearing t-shirts with his name on them, driving cars with little fish on the back, or building homes and churches farther and farther away from a downtown area. Little did disaster relief guy know, but the person helping him select a pair of shoes has an extremely skeptical heart when it comes to anything religious and this could have been an opportunity for James to have experienced Jesus, via a person, in an inviting way. But rather than being someone who provided relief in a disaster, he was creating one by adding yet another layer of hide to a smart, fast, cynical-calloused heart. Stupid bastard with a Jesus t-shirt on. What was he thinking? Obviously, he was not. He thought the moment was all about buying shoes. It wasn't. Bastard.

I got pretty riled up seeing this disaster unfold and started to approach the guy (I was in plain clothes for the day; he wouldn't have known I was an employee) and tell him just what a bastard he is. And then I remembered Will Campbell's gospel-in-a-nutshell: "We're all bastards, but God loves us anyway." My working-on-the-docks moxie subsided a little and I backed up, a humbled bastard myself. Maclean and Campbell are right - God is love...and we're all bastards. And the more aware of that we can be, the better. That goes for the people who have fish decals on their vans and the smart, fast, cynics out there. And the stupid bastards working on the docks. But I can't join hands in the love circle and sing kum-ba-yah too quickly here, for I still believe that the onus is on those of us who claim to know this Jesus. We, in some way, are reflecting who Jesus is or at least we should be. Or what's the point? We've got to have our wits about us and remember that the day is not about a shoe purchase. It's a disaster out there, in here, and we need some relief - some "good news." Rome is burning. Soldiers are dying. Glaciers are melting. Marriages are crumbling. Fourth graders are doing crystal meth. You can't take Gatorade on the airplane. And James is getter faster, but more cynical. And we're griping about shoes. Stupid bastards.
Two phrases have attached themselves to my brain this morning. One from the Book of Common Prayer reading for the day - "the oppressor" - as in "he shall crush the oppressor" and "deliver me...from the oppressor." The other from a dear friend - "so little of what we do requires immediate attention, except self-care." Oppression. Just saying the word is difficult. You have to form the "O" by dropping your jaw, causing a lowering of your facial expression, making a smile impossible. And then the "ppression" is something that comes out sounding like Gollum's "ppressiouss" from Lord of the Rings; there's a devilish "ssss" to the word.

So much seems oppressive in our lives. There's outright, literal oppression in places like Iraq or New Orleans, we've got gas prices above $3 a gallon while oil companies are making $1300 a second, now there are liquid bomb scares which stir the pot of anxiety and fear yet again, fighting (what a descriptive word) traffic morning and evening...and then the paper says that the fashions for the fall will be the styles of the 80's...oppression, indeed. All these things which seem, at least, to need or cry out for immediate attention...but maybe the real need is self-care. No, not some Gollum-in-the-cave-by-himself stuff, but rather an attentiveness to our own hearts and souls that are being "crushed" daily or held captive by the oppressor. I remember Buechner talking about a time when his daughter was quite sick. He was desperately trying to help her, when others intervened and told him he couldn't help her without first helping himself. When the plane's in trouble, you put the oxygen mask on yourself first - then you can help your child. Love your neighbor as yourself. That phrase is so easily spoken and so carelessly lived. And at the risk of sounding simple, I believe that the path to self-care is hinged on one little word - "no." Having the courage to say "no" to people, places and things which cry out for our immediate attention; people who seem to be always in crisis mode, places that seem to always have one more thing on the list, things that always seem to need me and no one else will, no, no, no, no. Or at least, "not right now" - "not today" - "not until I take care of myself first" - then I can honestly speak into your life or see your situation clearly. Being a "yes-man" gets me promotions and the applause of those around me; being a "no-man' generates looks of condescension or ventings of outright anger. But the plane feels like it's going down...reach for the mask first...and then "see" what's really necessary. All things are possible, but not all are profitable. Save us, O Lord from the oppressor which seeks to crush us. Teach us to say, "No."

A Prayer on My Parents' 43rd Anniversary

"and it is so bright now, you can hardly bear it as it fills the door, this immense glacier of light coming on, and still you do not know who you are, but here it is, try to remember, it is all beginning." -B.H. Fairchild

My dad and mom were visiting this week. They are gradually walking into old age; slowly, but noticeably since we see them only about every six months. One morning at breakfast, my dad asked me if I dream. His question had all the trappings of pastoral interest, but clearly revealed the truth - he dreams and he wanted to talk about it. He told us that he dreams all the time - rich, vibrant color dreams - full of images, people, smells. This one in particular contained a barn where his Sunday suits were all hanging. He was trying in some sense to arrange them. A flood had come through and washed all the stalls clean, but the dung was now in the middle of the barn. Someone was outside, honking a car horn, telling him to "come on." He was hurrying to arrange them, trying to get out to the car...and then he woke up. He tried to go back into his dream, but could not.

My dad takes a sip of coffee and says he dreams almost every night. He wakes up and wants to tell them to someone, talk about them. The obvious person would be my mother; however, she said she doesn't want to hear them. Actually, he said that and she said, "They take too long to tell, David." And I felt my father's heart drip silent blood in a marriage where his wife won't listen to his dreams. Maybe she never has. I am only beginning to see the true people my parents are - not the ideals they were in childhood. They left out this morning, headed back to Arkansas, driving seventeen god-awful hours back across Kansas and Oklahoma. It is their anniversary; forty-three years of marriage. Were there days in the initial love/lust frenzy when she would listen to his dreams? Did he have the courage to tell her those dreams? Or are they just now beginning to surface, an "immense glacier of light coming on"? Or maybe he did tell her and they scared her; showed her that she really had no idea who this young, preacher farmboy was that she promised till death do them part? Did she ever tell him her dreams? This morning she said, "I don't dream that much." Questions I cannot answer, but maybe I have some idea - maybe I can try to remember...he's dreaming of barns and swept out stalls and the beautiful smell of cow shit that can make your heart weep if you're a person of the land and she's outside, honking the car horn, saying, "David, you're taking too long...come on." Happy anniversary, dad and mom. Drive safely in the keep of God's angels and sleep well is all beginning. I love you.

Man Movement

The Men's Movement. That phrase does nothing for some, but for others it conjures up images of men running naked through the forest, beating drums, and getting in touch with their wild side. Names like Bly, Keen, Kipnis, Lee, Rohr and Eldredge might be thrown around. And the sentiment might surface that says, "That stuff's over and done. Finis." I've read the works of the aforementioned authors, I've been to a few of their conferences, and have run naked through the forest and other locales with adequate tree cover. And it ain't over folks. But it is different now, because what was started or was viewed as a "men's" movement has settled to the level of a "man's movement." Don't get me wrong - the plural aspect is still vitally needed, but you can't be plural all the time, you don't have the freedom to run naked with your brothers every weekend, you can't always get a wildman on the phone when you need some encouragement. Sometimes, you've got to go singular. Sometimes, you've got to arouse the wildman within yourself and beat the drum and adamantly answer, "Yes," when asked, "Did you really run naked through a forest with trees falling if there were no other men there to see you and hear the trees?"

I had the opportunity to "move" twice the last couple of days and by the grace of the One who keeps this world, I did. My wife and I were blessed to have a night away on Tuesday. My parents were in town and offered to keep the kids and no sooner had those words dropped from their lips than I scribbled our cell number on a post-it and the minivan blew out of the driveway. FFFRRREEEDDDOOOMMM! But real men know that freedom is always opposed - always. We found a beautiful B&B in the mountains and arranged to stay for the night. As we prepared for an evening together, my wife got a migraine-ish headache. No, not the "no-sex-tonight-bucko" thing; this was something that really floored her. Her desire was to have some time to read, we were going to sit out under the stars, drink some vino and do the sex-tonight-bucko thing. But she got really sick. As I saw my wife totally knocked out, I felt helpless, like a little boy who didn't know what to do. She said, "Please pray for me." And I moved. I prayed for and over her. And guess what? Nothing. Not a damn thing. In fact, it seemed to intensify. She lay there for a few more minutes, in tears at the prospect of losing sacred time to this, this... opposition. We've got three kids under the age of nine - we just don't get away that much for overnighters. And I moved. "I think we should pray again, Mer." She agreed. I prayed a second time, asking this Jesus who's always supposed to hear us when we pray, to SHOW US THE MONEY - BE OUR AMBASSADOR OF QUAN! (yes, I like Jerry McGuire). And guess what? In a matter of moments, everything cleared. She was able to lift her head off the pillow and resume life. I don't know if that's ever happened to me or us before. But I believe it did because of a man movement.

Later the next morning, the second "B" in B&B was enjoyed with the only other couple staying at the inn. Turns out that he's a Mennonite pastor and she's a Mennonite pastor's wife. But she had on a blouse that showed cleavage and used the word "pissed" at the "B" table; no floor length skirts and bonnets here. My wife was immediately drawn to her for she emitted a very real and earthy spirituality for a pastor's wife; something seldom seen, but sorely needed. Like many pastors, Mennonite or not, Mr. enjoyed talking and really directing the conversation. I could sense that it would be a wonderful thing if the two ladies could talk uninterrupted; it would be a gift for my wife's heart. So, I moved. I threw out a few hand-tied "church" flies and the Mennonite trout rose and grabbed 'em. In nothing flat, I had the pastor telling me everything about his church, how many folks they have, what his leadership style is, etc., etc. I nodded at the appropriate times and said, "Hhmmnn" on occasion, asked for clarification several times, and maintained eye contact throughout. And all the while, I was very aware that my wife and the pissy-cleavaged Mennonite pastor's wife were having a heart-felt conversation, even sharing some tears together. And I believe it happened because of a man movement.

To take full credit for those movements would be what's called hubris. But flying too close to the sun always melts your wings and you fall into a forest and have to run naked back to the house banging your drum against waist-high foliage. But I can take some credit, for I believe the Spirit offered me the opportunity and the corresponding courage and unlike so many other times, this time I moved. Twice. And I'd swear the Father said, "Well done." Take a man moving in the mountains of Colorado and add it to a man moving in the urban hum of Chicago, join it with a man moving through the fog of Seattle coupled with a man moving even in the stifling heat of Arkansas and guess what you have? A men's movement. No, it ain't over; it's just gettin' moving.


"Even a devastated place is sacred. If we know what it once was, we may begin to understand what its possibilities are." - Emmet Gowin

I'm thinking of this quote in relation to people; people who are, have been, and will be "devastated." If we know what they once were, we may begin to understand what their possibilities are. And what were we all once? Children - that sacred region of the soul called childhood. There are those who pooh-pooh on looking back and trying to see into their lives as a child. Unfortunately, many of these people are Christians. They take the apostle Paul's words literally: "Forgetting what lies behind, and reaching forward to what lies ahead" (Phil. 3.13). But I don't believe that's how Paul intended his words to be taken. Forgetting what was back then may just be the quickest way to losing what might possibly be ahead. This literal rendering of Paul's words seems to place a prime value on being grown-up, having put away childish things, having moved on. But I'm afraid that taking this stance causes a literal rendering in the heart, for Jesus said something about becoming like a little child and if you couldn't...well, the kingdom might just be a pipe dream. In taking the childish out to the curb, we may have unknowingly included the childlike. Or maybe we did it knowingly, trying to press on. But we've lost it and now we don't know where we put it. We're devastated, hope-less, unable to look for possibilities. We may be older, but we're not wiser.

What was I as a child? Or at least younger than I am now? What was my wife as a little girl? What were my parents as kids, growing up in the depression? What was my boss as a dark-haired boy? There are people in my life right now that I'd consider devastated. Even me. How do I understand my childhood without tons of expensive therapy and lots of getaway weekends where I sit and ponder my inner boy and books and tapes and seminars leading me down a reverse yellow brick road back to Kansas? Maybe I don't need all that, maybe. Maybe one of the many gifts of having children is being able to see first hand how a child's heart beats and if I'm attentive to that, maybe, just maybe, it can help me remember that sacred place in my life as well. I'm not advocating using my children in some manipulative way so that I can achieve something. I'm advocating paying attention to these precious ones, so fresh from God. And in the process, maybe I can remember what I once was and reach forward to what I might be. Any maybe I can relate to other people in this way as well - my wife, parents, friends, employers, bastards in traffic, etc. What were we once? You know, back when...when the world still had dew on it? Let the little children come, for as such is the kingdom of heaven.