Waking Mathilda — A Book Review and A Heartfelt Recommendation

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There are lots of stories waiting to be told in this world. Some of them are interesting, good to read, mildly educational, even helpful. Others are lightweight, distracting, bring a wry smile or a loud laugh. There is room for stories like those — I read them a lot and I share about them here, from time to time.

Then there are the stories that are startling, stunning, that move you out of your complacent satisfaction with the status quo. Stories that send you to your knees in thanksgiving for your own particular patch of suffering and struggle, simply because what those stories tell is so overwhelmingly difficult.

I know a few people who live such stories, some of them quite close to me. Most of those people would never attempt to write their stories down — out of fear or exhaustion or lack of skill.

Then there is Claire Crisp.

She knows all about exhaustion, and she knows all about fear, but she is also a skilled narrator who is not afraid to tell it like it is, without flinching, without apology. And tell it she does in this beautiful book, “Waking Mathilda.”

This story was birthed in one parental decision that changed the trajectory of a family’s life forever. It was a decision made in good faith, for all the right reasons, and it was a decision that should never have had the outcome it did.

When Claire’s lovely young daughter, Mathilda, was three years old, she and her husband — on the advice of their doctor — made the decision to give her the H1N1 vaccine. She had had a bit of a rough start in life and the flu that year was predicted to be harsh and deadly. So they took the time and care to take her to the clinic near their home in England and make sure she got her shot.

And then, everything started sliding downhill.

This is a story that must be read to be believed and I strongly recommend that you order yourself a copy TODAY. It is beautifully, hauntingly written. It is rich with information that never feels in the slightest like ‘facts.’ It is a story that is hard to read at points, a story it is almost impossible to imagine living. 

Yet, live it, they did.

Mathilda is the youngest person ever to be diagnosed with narcolepsy, a difficult and debilitating neurological disorder that essentially causes the sleep center of the brain to go haywire. Reading about the long, painful process of discovering what went wrong with this active, intelligent, interesting little girl is heartbreaking to read.

It is also inspiring.

Why? Because it is a story of persistence, of courage, of commitment and of love. Claire never gives up. Never. She does research, she insists that something is wrong, very, very wrong, even when medical personnel ignore what is right in front of their eyes. She and her husband exhaust themselves trying to care  for a child who cannot sleep at night and cannot be sensible for much of the daytime. Their older two children struggle to understand what has happened to life as they knew it. Every one of them is remarkable.

This book reads like a terrifying mystery novel, except there is nothing fictional about it. Pieces of the puzzle begin to come clear, a visiting doctor really looks, really listens, and makes the correct diagnosis, a clinic in Stanford CA does research on an expensive medicine. That medicine is not available in England and a life-changing decision for everyone involves an international move, and a huge gamble. No one as young as their daughter has ever been treated with this medicine. Will it work?  

This is a story I could not put down, and neither could my husband. This particular journey will never be over for Mathilda — she will live with the effects of this disorder for the rest of her life. But she, and her parents, have found some answers. They have begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They’ve built a new community, in a new country. Claire has become an outspoken advocate for narcolepsy sufferers and those who care for them, and Mathilda is blossoming into a charming, hardworking, committed student who happens to deal with a dreadfully messed up brain. 

A remarkable read. Do yourself a favor and read it ASAP. Then get a copy for a friend, too.

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Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Holy Monday

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John 12:1-11

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?”  (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

Another one of my favorite stories in scripture — this Lenten season has been filled with them. This was the story for my first sermon, ever, back when I was a beginning seminary student. The text itself was from Mark, not John, and in that version, I was particularly struck by this line: “Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

Jesus’ terse response of, “Leave her alone,” is almost as good! In Mark’s version, this event happens at the home of Simon the leper and the woman is unnamed. Here, she is his good friend, Mary. And the gift she gives him is priceless, more valuable than any other item ever mentioned in connection with our itinerant, sandal-wearing, lived off the offerings of wealthy women followers. They followed after our Jesus, the teacher — now on his way to becoming Jesus, the savior.

Welcome to Holy Week.

Loving God, help us to keep our focus on the road you walked this week, to remember each piece of the story, that story that we have told and re-told, over and over again. Thank you, thank you, for it.

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to Calvary: Palm Sunday

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The Liturgy of the Palms

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
    that I may enter through them
    and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me
    and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
    O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
    We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God,
    and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
    up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
    you are my God, I will extol you.
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

Matthew 21:1-11

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,

“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
        and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Does this Sunday ever strike you as peculiar? One week before the Resurrection, this festive occasion unfolds before us. And Jesus has special knowledge, he expects it. Somehow, he realizes the coming parade will fulfill the prophecies from the psalms and the prophets and everyone and everything needed will be supplied. It’s mysterious, when you think about it. It tells a powerful story of mob fickleness and of fast changing public opinion with devastating results.

It also stands as a stark reminder of the truth, doesn’t it? Jesus IS worthy of palms, and branches, and clothes strewn in his way. He chooses, however, to enter town on an ass, not the colt of a king. Always choosing the humble way, even as he sets his face toward Jerusalem and the parade, and the suffering and pain that will follow. It’s a remarkable story, one I never tire of hearing . . . or telling.

Thank you for our story, Jesus. Thank you for making it possible for us to be made new, thank you for modeling what a truly human life looks like. And thank you for choosing to show us how suffering can cleanse and restore and renew. We love you and we think about your journey a lot, especially as we move into the week ahead.

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Thirty-Nine

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Lamentations 3:55-66

I called on your name, O Lord,
from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, “Do not close your ear
to my cry for help, but give me relief!”
You came near when I called on you;
you said, “Do not fear!”

You have taken up my cause, O Lord,
you have redeemed my life.
You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord;
judge my cause.
You have seen all their malice,
all their plots against me.

You have heard their taunts, O Lord,
all their plots against me.
The whispers and murmurs of my assailants
are against me all day long.
Whether they sit or rise—see,
I am the object of their taunt-songs.

Pay them back for their deeds, O Lord,
according to the work of their hands!
Give them anguish of heart;
your curse be on them!
Pursue them in anger and destroy them
from under the Lord’s heavens.

It must have been a gray day when Jeremiah wrote these words, don’t you think? And somehow, they’re appropriate for this day before Palm Sunday. With the deep understanding he had gained about the reasons for his trip to Jerusalem, Jesus must have been more than a little bit pensive about it all. It would not surprise me to discover that he spent time in the scroll of Lamentations as he readied himself for the events of what we call Holy Week.

These words, along with the psalms of lament, are beautiful gifts to us. They give us language when we can’t find the words, when we’re feeling overwhelmed by life, when we’re feeling lonely, forsaken, overlooked, persecuted. And I understand the longing for pay-back expressed in that last stanza. Oh, yes, I do! But you know what? These kinds of words (they’re called ‘imprecatory’ in biblical circles) are useful for us, as well. They give us permission to speak ALL of our truth in the presence of God. To get down and dirty, to let our anger and our hurt feelings hang out there, flapping in the breeze of God’s goodness and grace.

These are not the only words, nor are they the last ones. But they’re good ones. They remind us that God sees us as we are and invites us to be real when we’re speaking with him. I’m thankful for that truth.

Thank you, Lord, for permission to be who we are. All of who we are. And thank you that harsh words are never the last words in our scripture. Thank you that forgiveness comes, that you supply it in abundance. And that you expect us to practice it, too. Help us to follow your lead — thank you for giving us space to let it all hang out. But then help us, O Lord, to let it all go and to move forward in love.

Parsing It Out: Sacrifice or Duty? SheLoves

It’s time to write for SheLoves once again, and the theme this month is “Willing Sacrifice.” This one gets pretty personal and you can finish it by clicking on the link.

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My beautiful mama, picture taken  yesterday, week three on hospice care.

What is it that makes a sacrifice truly sacrificial? Seems to me it has to be the modifier chosen for this month’s theme at SheLoves — willingness. I’m not sure that one idea can ever be successfully separated from the other, to tell you the truth. Choosing to give something up for the sake of someone else is what makes a sacrifice real. If the giving-up is not chosen, but forced — by pressure, either external or internal — then it becomes a demand, a duty or an expectation. And that is not the same thing at all, is it?

But sometimes, learning how to parse out that difference is one of the hardest parts of our journey toward becoming mature, loving, insightful and empathetic human persons. I have spent a good portion of my later adult life trying to peel away the multiple, nuanced layers of my own story, looking hard at the motivations behind a lot of my choices over the years. This business of learning to own your own crap is hard work!

I suppose the most central piece of the story for me is my long and complicated relationship with my mother. I’ve written about the last decade of our journey together in multiple places on the internet, including here. The hard, sad loss of this once vibrant woman is filled with pain and sadness, yet even this last stage through dementia has shed some light on who she is, on how her childhood both nourished and scarred her and how those scars had an impact on me. The act of writing things down has involved some hard, deep work and none of it has been easy. My mom was the very best mom she could be, loving me and my brothers well, providing care, concern, fun, beauty, color and laughter for us all. I am deeply grateful for her and to her and love her very much indeed.

But she was far from perfect. No big surprise there, right? Only been One person to walk this earth in perfection — the rest of us muddle along, wounding and being wounded, falling and getting up again. Just today, in the midst of her confusion, I heard these kinds of phrases: “I’m trying to be a good girl.” “I hope it’s not my fault.” “I think I did it right.”

Breaks. My. Heart. These are the wounds of early childhood, worming their way to the surface of a 95-year-old, deteriorating brain, even when nothing else she says makes any sense whatsoever. How can this be?

From about the age of seven, my mother took on the responsibility of protecting her mother from her father, who was given to binge drinking and gambling. Mom cleaned up his messes, stood up to him in her 7-year-old righteous indignation, and worried over her younger brother and sister. She had an older brother, too, but he was the crown prince of the family and apparently could do no wrong. It fell to mom to be the family guardian and watchdog.

And she passed that message, that burden, that responsibility . . . but not that sacrifice . . . to me when I was about seven. “Daughters take care of mothers, “ were her words and they came right into me, body and soul. I’m here to tell you that age seven is way too young for anything to be ‘chosen.’ Instead, the act of care-giving becomes part of your very DNA. Seven-year-olds are not, and cannot be, willing participants. Assumptions are made, expectations are parceled out and burdens are borne.

But for too many years, none of that was what I would call a willing sacrifice. . . 

Read the rest of this essay by clicking over from this link right here. 

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Thirty-Eight

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Philippians 1:21-30

For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.

Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well— since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

 So these are the lines that stand out to me on this reading:

“For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain.”

And:

“For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well . . . “

And both of those lines are sometimes difficult for me to read. I know, I know. That first one is a verse we all memorized, back in the day. And I love the sentiment behind it. But I gotta be honest here, friends. It is sometimes really, REALLY hard for me to believe that ‘dying is gain.’ I know I should. And on my best days, I think I do. But you know what? I love my life, even when it’s difficult. I’ve had a rich set of experiences over these years, made some deep relationships. I adore my family, even when they make me crazy, and I think this planet is the most amazing thing ever.

So, I must admit that it is often difficult for me to grasp Paul’s meaning here. And then I read that second line, about the ‘privilege’ of suffering and I begin to catch a tiny glimpse of why the first line was written after all. We have no idea what it means to suffer because of our faith. NONE. Despite the political rhetoric that might try to tell us that Christians are persecuted in this country, there is simply no comparison to what the early Christians, or even what many Christians in other places experience today. We all suffer, yes, we do. But we don’t necessarily suffer in the way Paul did. Apparently, the Philippians were beginning to get a taste of that kind of struggle. And Paul tells them that it is a privilege. Wow. I have a lot to learn, don’t I?

Ah, Lord God. I am grateful for the life I live here in the US of A in the 21st century. I am grateful for the ways in which my faith is not only encouraged, but appreciated in this day and age. Maybe I’ve missed some really valuable lessons because I’ve never been imprisoned, beaten, tortured, or otherwise mistreated because of Jesus. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the live you’ve given me and ask your forgiveness for my lack of faith and for any short supply of empathy I carry for those who truly do pay a price for following after you. Remind me to pray for those who struggle in this way.

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Thirty-Seven

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Philippians 1:1-11

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.”

Oh, to have such a prayer prayed over me every day of my life. And you know what? I think this is pretty much what Jesus says for each one of us, continually. That we would be full-up with LOVE. Love that is knowledgeable, filled with insight, love that helps us determine which way is right. Love that produces righteousness, NOT the other way around. Do you catch the big difference that makes?? We get so hung up on doing and being right, when we should put the horse before the cart and learn more and more about love. There is a reason that Jesus tells us the world will recognize us as true followers by how well we love one another.

And so often, we do such a rotten job of it. We are operating out of fear and feelings of inadequacy far too often, afraid someone else is going to be better liked than we are, that their voice will carry more weight with the larger body. We are quick to judge, to exclude, to label. What if we chose to love first, every time we were with one another?? Love.First.

Wow, I think the church might actually be the church if we could ask for the power and grace to do that!

Lord, teach us to love. To love honestly and well. To love first, last and always. Not that loving well doesn’t sometimes involve ‘speaking the truth in love,’ but that we would always, always, ALWAYS remember that there is no truth without love. It cannot be heard unless it is conveyed to us through the eyes, voice and words and of love. Help us to look to Jesus as our model, our example, our true-blue lover, par excellence. Thank you.

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Thirty-Six

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Matthew 22:23-33

The same day some Sadducees came to him, saying there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies childless, his brother shall marry the widow, and raise up children for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and died childless, leaving the widow to his brother. The second did the same, so also the third, down to the seventh. Last of all, the woman herself died. In the resurrection, then, whose wife of the seven will she be? For all of them had married her.”

Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God,  ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living.” And when the crowd heard it, they were astounded at his teaching.

Always trying to trip Jesus up. If it wasn’t the Pharisees, then it was the other important group-within-a-group, the Sadducees. They were the ones interested in ‘the law,’ sometimes described as ‘teachers of the law’ in scripture. And they did not believe in a bodily resurrection. So they decided to hone in on that doctrinal issue and see if they couldn’t stump the teacher.

No such luck. They took a fine point in the law – the levirate marriage succession, wherein a widowed woman became the wife (or the property?) of her former husband’s brother – and came up with the most complicated scenario they could devise, sure that they had finally found a way to make this popular teacher fumble and bumble his way to an answer.

As always, Jesus turns the tables. He didn’t just do it literally, you know. He did it all the time with these pesky questions, and today’s little vignette is a particularly interesting example of that technique. Not only does Jesus affirm his belief in a resurrection, but he fills in some blanks about that transformative new life that awaits us after death. Not sure if this means we’ll be asexual or just unsexual, but it’s surely different from this life, isn’t it? And then he pulls the rug right out from under them and asks, “Why do you keep talking about the resurrection of the dead?? We serve a God of the living!”

And that is just about the finest and simplest expositions of the doctrine of bodily resurrection I’ve ever read anywhere.

Thank you, Lord, for the promise of eternity. We don’t understand it — something we share with the Sadducees of the first century! But we trust that you DO understand it and that you’re speaking truth to these trouble-makers. Thank you for always telling the truth, even when we try our best to trip you up. Thank you for making it simple and for keeping the main thing, the main thing.

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Thirty-Five

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Psalm 143

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.

For the enemy has pursued me,
crushing my life to the ground,
making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.

I remember the days of old,
I think about all your deeds,
I meditate on the works of your hands.
I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.  Selah

Answer me quickly, O Lord;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

Save me, O Lord, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
on a level path.

For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life.
In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am your servant.

For me, a level path is critical. Since my foot surgery almost three years ago, I’ve had problems with balance. Add to that the fact that neither of my knees works terribly well, and you gotta know that level is what works best.

Here are the lines that speak to me on this reading. Please share any that speak to you today in the comments.

“Let your good spirit lead me on a level path,” the psalmist cries. And I join in the cry — in a very real sense as well as a metaphorical one. There are other lovely phrases in this song, too. What are some of your favorites? Here is a list of mine:

“give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness” — Yes! God is faithful.

“Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.” — Yup. I feel like this on a regular basis, especially in the current political climate.

I meditate on the works of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land — a sturdy metaphor that has been part of my daily life during the years of this long drought, a picture that I hold within my heart of my need for the refreshment of the Water of Life.

Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul — “new every morning,” right? Yes, Lord, help me to hear of your love every new day and to trust in it and in you. Teach me the way. . .

You are the Master of the Path, whether it’s level all the time or not. Help us, Lord, to look to you, to tell you the truth about how we’re feeling, and to trust that you are here, right here, with us in the midst of it all, joy and pain, laughter and sorrow. Thank you.

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross – Day Thirty-Four



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Acts 20:7-12

On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul was holding a discussion with them; since he intended to leave the next day, he continued speaking until midnight. There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were meeting. A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground three floors below and was picked up dead. But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” Then Paul went upstairs, and after he had broken bread and eaten, he continued to converse with them until dawn; then he left. Meanwhile they had taken the boy away alive and were not a little comforted.

What a strange, small story! And man, could that Paul TALK, eh? Do you have relatives or friends who can talk like this? Just story after story, detail after detail, until you, too, have to fight sleep??

The small packets in the picture up there are my first attempt at crochet after several years away from that craft. A friend’s two sons are having their first children just weeks apart this spring — one of them is already here! — and so I made them each a blanket and a cap and included a copy of Matthew Paul Turner’s delightful new book with each gift set. Babies need lots of sleep, and cozy blankets can help that happen.

Well, this man was young, but not quite a baby. And his unexpected sleep led to a near-disaster — falling 3 stories and dying on the spot! Yet, Paul doesn’t hesitate to tell everyone that death has not won in this kid’s life — at least, not yet.

And after that nice and weird little interruption, Paul proceeds to eat and then . . . to start talking once again! All.Night.Long.

I love that that detail is included in the telling of this story. I also love this one — they took the kid away! Enough was enough.

Lord, sometimes we don’t know when we hit enough. Give us ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to understand when it’s time to take a break, to stop talking, to let the Spirit breathe in our midst. Thank you that Paul wasn’t perfect and that someone took the time and care to tell us this little story — just in case we were in danger of imagining that he might have been!