To Tell the Truth

“The truth will set you free.” John 8:32

I’m never a fan of lying. My students know that one of the worst things that they can do to me is to lie to me and that I value their honesty above all things. Even when they wish to criticize me, I tell them that I’d rather know the truth, even if it might hurt my feelings or be harsh.

We might think that we’re doing someone a favor, by lying, but we really aren’t. A priest-colleague of mine once said that he hates when his parishioners lie through their teeth when he knows that his homily was awful that day. “I would much rather hear, ‘You know, you were really off today.’ Because I’m never going to get any better otherwise and I won’t know if I am really resonating with the community.”

Lying, even under the best intentions, is always a tool of evil. Here’s one example:

In college, I was on a date and some of the guys on my floor saw me kissing my date late into the evening in my dorm room. They made certain assumptions about how the evening ended. One asked what my date’s name was and told me he knew what dorm she lived in because she lived next door to friends. I wouldn’t reveal her name and told them to stop making assumptions about what went on between us.

They pressed further and badgered me for about a half hour about it. To get them off my back, I simply made up a name. That satisfied them and I thought I preserved my friend’s reputation.

Except another woman who lived in my date’s dorm had that name. And the guys spread rumors that I had a liaison with her. She was justifiably furious at me. In lying, I was trying to save someone else’s good name and instead had damaged another’s. It was awful. And it was my fault.

Lying is always a tool of evil.

Ron Rohlheiser, OMI, the great North American theologian and the President of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio says this about lying:

The unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit begins with lying, with rationalization, with the refusal to acknowledge the truth. But we don’t commit this sin easily, overnight, the first time we tell a lie. We commit it down the line, through a sustained series of lies, long after we first told a lie to our loved ones and began to hide important parts of our lives from them. The soul warps slowly, like an old board soaked too often in the rain. It’s not the first time it gets wet that makes the warp.

We commit the sin against the Holy Spirit when we lie for so long that we believe our own lies. If we lie long enough, eventually light begins to look like darkness and darkness begins to look like light.

His whole article on this is worth a read.

But it’s almost a given that we expect our politicians to lie to us. Either side of the aisle seems to take this given for granted. My favorite show, “The West Wing” has the chief of staff, Leo McGarry even say “I’m a politician, Ainsley, of course, I lied to you there.”

While I’m sure the past administration has lied to the American public, the current one seems to be making an art form out of it. How many outright lies has Sean Spicer told in his first press conference alone and then in a second one tried to back up his own deceptions? His colleagues seemed to have trouble defending him and all the President could say was that Spicer was a “superstar.”

Soon, I fear, this administration will have people think that the following things are true:

1) Climate change is not caused by human-made carbon emissions.
2) Immigrants are people we should keep out of the country.
3) We should drill in Anwar with no regard for the migration patterns of the animals that reside there.
4) All Muslims are a security threat to Americans.

And I shudder to think about what else becomes part of the daily attitudes of people who take what the President feeds them and digests it as “truth.”

As many know, I worked as a producer for a right-wing political talk show. The host, Bob Grant, was an incredibly nice and generous man. And we could barely agree upon the time of day. But regardless, there was often a lack of critical thinking not only amongst his audience members, but among others I knew.

“I heard that on the Bob Grant show…so it has to be true.” That’s an actual quote from a middle aged man who was the uncle of a friend of mine. He was semi-educated, but he essentially took anything Bob said as law.

Rush Limbaugh would often say “I will interpret the news for you.” Essentially saying that we are too stupid to understand the complex political landscape that exists. And this is the hope of the current administration. A soundbyte culture that simply accepts whatever they say as truth is what we have to fear more than anything else.

Today, I will vow to tell the truth. Not only about lies I see come forth from politicians on either side of the aisle, but also to tell the truth when it is difficult. To challenge my own assumptions. I had a spiritual director who would often ask for evidence of negative feelings about myself that I would reveal to him–and often it wasn’t there. I was able to see God in the truth, the truth that I was actually beloved by God and others and that my own failings or shortcomings weren’t all that I was.

We need to hold this administration to something we ask under oath in our American courts to the simplest of witnesses.

We need to ask them to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

So help us God.

Jesus’ Inauguration

Today’s the inauguration …have you ever watched it? Such fanfare….a lot of pomp and circumstance.

I might say that our gospel today is kind of Jesus’ inauguration. He calls his first 12 disciples and he does it with great fanfare for the time. He goes up the mountain to do it—where everyone can see him.

Mountains are awesome, huh? This summer I climbed into the mountains in Slovakia and it was amazing. I have to say two things happened to me on the mountain…I felt small…because of the awe-inspiring views. And I felt energized and powerful. If I could climb this mountain—well, then, what else could I accomplish? Mountaintop experiences are great, no? Maybe you’ve had one? An immersion trip, a retreat, local service experiences, deep prayer.

And as great as those are….you actually have to come off of the mountain at some point! And we hope that you now live each day as someone changed by that experience of what God offered to you….to come down into the real-life, day to day, nitty gritty of the hard work that must now be done—to be the hands and the feet of Jesus.

And I might suggest, that our President needs to come off of the mountain as well! I’m sure that being elected President and today’s ceremony are mountaintop experiences. But governing is not a mountaintop experience, say most who have done it. Governing is choosing. Governing is making deals and being disappointed sometimes in what you had to compromise. Governing is listening to constituents and experts and being moved and persuaded by their stories to the point that you use your power to do something about that for the betterment of society. And Governing is most of all, humbling—because you realize that you can’t accomplish everything that you want to do.

So President Trump needs our prayers but he also needs our voices and our passion. And when we provide that we also should realize that we are responding to God’s call. On the mountain God reminds us that we are not powerless, and that no matter who might be in our elected positions of power, it is ultimately up to each of us, to respond to the call to be the body Christ for others in the world. To respond with love to those who many deem too hard to love: the poor, for the immigrant, for the unborn and its mother, for our LGBT community. All those who simply need us to be God’s face for them. And no President can ever change that.

And we can’t let our fear get in the way….My colleague, Lu Firestone has a great line that she uses often: “Nobody is ever converted by fear.” Because that’s not a real conversion!

Our first reading today tells us that the way people responded to God’s law in the Old Testament is now obsolete. We no longer respond to the law because we think God is going to punish us. No, we no longer respond out of fear, but rather out of love, Love for God and God’s love for us. That love pours forth when we receive communion from this altar each time we come here—where God offers us His very self, in a mountaintop experience so that we might be changed. This love propels us out of fear and is stronger than even death and can drive us out of our of darkness and into the dawn of new possibilities.

So do not be afraid.

Instead come off the mountain…and get to work, my fellow Americans.

And your work is to do one thing and one thing only….. Respond to all things, not out of your fear, but instead with great Love.

It’s Green for Ordinary Time

Green is the color for Ordinary Time on the Church’s calendar.  Ordinary Time is when we are not extremely overjoyed (white) nor particularly penitent (purple).  Neither is it a time of passion (red for a martyr’s feast).  
Green symbolizes our hope, the hope that exists in a verdant life, where we go through our day to day mundane events, hoping for a glimpse of God within it.

And moreover, while not entirely a time of penance, we often long for God in the less-than-stellar times of our lives.  

Green certainly depicts that kind of deep longing in our lives.  Like the rolling hills of my dad’s native Ireland, these Green days sometimes seem to roll on forever and it can be easy to miss the lush beauty in each moment of the ordinary times of our lives.

Kermit the Frog explains it all too well.

So today may we lean in to these not so easy days of the ordinary and when a day is “nothing special” may we be able to find God pointing to us the beauty and gratitude of another gifted day.


May our lives today be filled with compassion; give us the spirit of forgiveness and a generous heart.  – from “Prayers and Intercessions” from the Morning Offering

Compassion seems to be linked to both forgiveness and generosity and by default, in my mind, it all seems to be linked to giving.

How much are we willing to give of ourselves?  Can we be compassionate enough to give freely from our hearts for another, generous enough in this giving that we can disregard our own needs and place ourselves at the service of others?  Do we place limits on our compassion for any number of reasons?  The need to protect ourselves from past hurts or to not risk enough for those in need?  

Today may prayer surrounds the need to be more compassionate, to go just a bit further for my students and my colleagues, especially when they are in darkness.  May I also be compassionate to myself, allowing myself to feel pain and my own need for forgiveness and to be forgiven.

On Listening

“Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry, rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.” – Greg Boyle, SJ

I often marvel at the experiences that my students and some colleagues share with me privately. Whether it’s when I’m providing simple pastoral care and presence or a more formal relationship in spiritual direction or in a retreat setting, I’m often overwhelmed by listening to all they carry. My standard line is:

“When I hear what people are secretly carrying around with them, I stand in awe that they are walking and talking, never mind working and getting a degree here!”

This is Fr. Boyle’s call to us as well. But his call, runs far past the usual boundaries that we place on ourselves. Many of us are called to listen to those near us and not too few of us are also called to travel to the ends of the earth to do service projects of various types. Some even dedicate a year of their life in service to some of the neediest populations. But we are also called to listen to the voices that are not so far away. The working poor in our midst are often ignored and under-served and many times we are too afraid to take a single step towards them. We often find those folks hidden away in soup kitchen corners by themselves, lonely and alone, perhaps merely because they just ran out of money at the end of the month. Some are elderly and indignant, losing their independence only recently, when children move away or a spouse dies.

There are plenty of groups to outside from our experience. This past election left many of us with scrambled thoughts. How could anyone vote for Donald Trump? To be honest, I’ve had those thoughts myself. People I respect, who mostly voted for him because of their own racism (some) or their distaste of big government (an interesting dichotomy considering the many government interventions he would like to initiate), or their pro-life stance, are often individuals who I can easily downshift into the discard pile. Ignoring their views, discounting their experience.

I compared the experience of Donald Trump’s election with the election of Pope Benedict XVI yesterday. A Pope that I would not have picked and that I could not imagine that anyone had voted for. We can all too easy create a larger divide with our hatred for “the other side” than with a desire for dialogue and understanding. The loyal opposition starts with words that lend compassion with that said loyalty. Often we make people who disagree with us into people that we deem “too hard to love.”

I learned a lesson in taking some time for hard reflection during those early days of his papacy. That lesson was to pray, soldier on with my own personal commitments, but also to listen to others. I found that the more conservative amongst us often had good reasons for their convictions. Perhaps their conclusions were different from mine, but most often we could and did talk about those differences in a civil and non-threatening way. I made some good friends along the way with whom I often could not agree on the time of day at certain points and at other times, we informed each other well and adjusted our own prejudices appropriately.

In short, we were church. We included each other in conversation and the factions that we too often represented won some and lost some. We slugged it out and some days we were left bruised, but we saw each other as human beings mired in the struggle of daily existence, trying to make it through the day. It often made us sad to see friends hurting from experiences that formed their opinions and even changed our hearts and minds on some issues. We became more sensitive, without becoming less convicted of our values, but perhaps more willing to stay in conversation to make sure that all of our needs were served in some capacity.

This may be a message that Democrats and Republicans need to hear. These days it seems that politicians on opposite sides of the aisle can’t even drink together anymore. How might we best invite that change into our midst? By doing that ourselves!

Today, take some time for the person you agree with the least. Have a lunch, address some thoughts, dig deep on how you got to your convictions and most of all, be patient in judgement.

The problem is that usually one party or the other is simply unwilling to listen to the other.

Back to Work

So after some good rest, I return to work today!  I actually saw some colleagues at the Hockey game on Saturday but we’ll be trying to make it through a full workday.

I’m sure there will be a lot to catch up on and review and the start of a new semester is always exciting.

So let’s pray for a good Spring semester.  God of mercy and love, look down on our campus and help us do our work, the work we do that we hope brings others to find you in the midst of their lives.  Help us to see you in our own and in our work.  For myself, I ask for continued healing and wisdom to direct the ministry and provide care for those who are in need.


Fences: My Favorite Play Becomes My Favorite Movie

If you haven’t seen Fences yet, run to the theatre.

Oscar Worthy! On so many levels. This was my first Broadway play with Billy Dee Williams playing Troy Maxon! Denzel Washington captured the role perfectly in the movie along with Viola Davis as Rose. Fences is playwright August Wilson’s amazing tome about an inner city Pittsburgh family in the 1950s. Troy Maxon, a former Negro League baseball player, is who the story revolves around. All the characters in the play have a central conflict with Troy in some way. It’s an amazing story and Washington does an excellent job directing the action on the big screen.

As a baseball fan, the comparison of Troy to Babe Ruth (who was widely regarded as the most famous Major Leaguer) or Josh Gibson (who was clearly the best player in the Negro Leagues and who many regard as someone who could have rivaled Ruth’s celebrity) is one of the many conflicts that Troy deals with in the story. A great ballplayer who was in his prime before Jackie Robinson and the integration of the Major Leagues. Here’s a great line of dialogue:

rose: Cory done went and got recruited by a college football team.
troy: I told that boy about that football stuff. The white man ain’t gonna let him get nowhere with that football. I told him when he first come to me with it. Now you come telling me he done went and got more tied up in it. He ought to go and get recruited in how to fix cars or something where he can make a living.
rose: He ain’t talking about making no living playing football. It’s just something the boys in school do. They gonna send a recruiter by to talk to you. He’ll tell you he ain’t talking about making no living playing football. It’s a honor to be recruited.
troy: It ain’t gonna get him nowhere. Bono’ll tell you that.
bono: If he be like you in the sports…he’s gonna be all right. Ain’t but two men ever played baseball as good as you. That’s Babe Ruth and Josh Gibson. Them’s the only two men ever hit more home runs than you.
troy: What it ever get me? Ain’t got a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.
rose: Times have changed since you was playing baseball, Troy. That was before the war. Times have changed a lot since then.
troy: How in hell they done changed?
rose: They got lots of colored boys playing ball now. Baseball and football.
bono: You right about that, Rose. Times have changed, Troy. You just come along too early.
troy: There ought not never have been no time called too early! Now you take that fellow…what’s that fellow they had playing right field for the Yankees back then? You know who I’m talking about, Bono. Used to play right field for the Yankees.
rose: Selkirk?
troy: Selkirk! That’s it! Man batting .269, understand? .269. What kind of sense that make? I was hitting .432 with thirty-seven home runs! Man batting .269 and playing right field for the Yankees! I saw Josh Gibson’s daughter yesterday. She walking around with raggedy shoes on her feet. Now I bet you Selkirk’s daughter ain’t walking around with raggedy shoes on her feet! I bet you that!
rose: They got a lot of colored baseball players now. Jackie Robinson was the first. Folks had to wait for Jackie Robinson.
troy: I done seen a hundred niggers play baseball better than Jackie Robinson. Hell, I know some teams Jackie Robinson couldn’t even make! What you talking about Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson wasn’t nobody. I’m talking about if you could play ball then they ought to have let you play. Don’t care what color you were. Come telling me I come along too early. If you could play…then they ought to have let you play.

Our shameful past, where black athletes were not given a chance to play on the world’s biggest stage, reflected in the lost dreams of one man is simply one amazing tale that Wilson tells.

Run, don’t walk. And when they are doling out Oscars, they might just want to hand a few out to this cast. Washington and Viola are amazing. JOvan Adepo does an amazing job as the son, Cory, who comes of age in front of our eyes. Stephen McKinley Henderson plays Troy’s best friend Bono with an ease unlike any I have seen before with gentleness. But I think the stage was stolen by Mykelti Williamson who plays Gabe, Troy’s brother who was injured in the war and now suffers from mental illness after he was wounded and lives with a metal plate in his head.

Check him out:

And while we’re at it. I came across a very interesting article on possible inspirations for Troy Maxon. Here’s just one thought—but a significant one.

Morning Comforts

For some, it’s a piping hot cup of coffee.  For others, a brisk walk in the cool morning air.  Even more, the first bite of their hot breakfast.  Apparently, as the dawn breaks, we all need some comfort.

Here’s mine:  The final stanza of the Canticle of Zechariah from each day’s morning offering in the Liturgy of the Hours:

In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Beautiful words, a felt promise from God and a comfort to start a new day.

A priest-acquaintance of mine once talked briefly about the morning and evening offerings of prayer.  He stated simply:  

“We pray at night for protection in the darkness.  And we pray in gratitude in the morning that we woke up!”

He was wry in his wit here, but also spoke volumes to many. A person I served a meal to one day at a shelter was asked a simple “How’s it going today?” And his response was epic:

“Well, since I woke up this morning, I’d say I’m doing pretty good!”

Indeed.  And how much more does God give to us with today’s dawn?  But what about those who did not awaken this day?  Are they doing any less good?

A friend lost her father this week and I have been praying for her family.  The canticle of Zechariah, the first words spoken by John the Baptist’s father, after he was silenced for so long speak to the joy that we are offered not only with each sunrise and each breath, but also each moment beyond these.  For those left behind, God provides compassion, of course, especially those of us who feel like we are in the darkness.  But also, for those called home, God guides their journey into everlasting comfort. God’s gift at the end is in fact, Himself.  God calls us to union in the end and in that, we are offered the gift of everlasting peace.

In his final years, Cardinal Bernadin wrote a book called  The Gift of Peace.  It’s content is well worth reading, but the title alone speaks to his own acceptance in his final days, coming to see God’s guiding his last steps on earth into the way of God’s peace.  It betrays a believer’s joy, that in dying, he found comfort beyond the usual coffee cups and scrambled eggs. Laying to rest in God and the want for nothing more was a last great gift indeed.

I pray for that gift for those who have died this week, especially for my friend’s father and also for those who find peace at a distance this day.  Peace is indeed a gift and we often need guidance to not only find it, but accept it when it may very well not feel like peace, but more of an unwilling resignation into what is.

My morning comfort today is trust.  Trust that God indeed does guide my feet into the way of peace.

And more importantly, that God always will.

Are Sports Fans Married to Their Teams?

So I have been a fan of the New York Jets and the New York Mets since I was 6 years old. That’s a 40 year relationship. If I’m honest, I stopped rooting for the Mets at one point because the organization treated me fairly poorly when I was in the media. But old habits die hard and I could never quite stay away despite flirtations with other teams (Cubs, Diamondbacks).

Many of my friends contend that one should never leave a team. To do so, one says, means you were never a fan to begin with. I suppose Red Sox and Cubs fans might agree after finally winning after the longest droughts.

As a young Met fan I saw a lot of ineptitude, but it never seemed to me like the team wasn’t trying on the field or even that the front office wasn’t trying to get better. They often just bet on the wrong horse or had players that needed more time to develop.

Recently though, I have flirted with the idea of dumping the Jets. A New York Post article backs up my own thought on the basis of psychological health. But 40 years is a long time and many of my friends questioned my loyalty. And so, after a brief discernment I penned the following on Facebook to the Jets.

After much discernment I have decided to do the following with my NFL rooting. Issue the NY Jets a final ultimatum. Next season two things must happen: Severe restructuring of the organization and at least make some moves to become a playoff team and not to be embarrassed on the field as you were far too often this year. Should this not occur, I will become a fan of….The New York Giants.
And since you have given me nothing to root for this year consider me in the Giants fandom for the remainder of this season.
NY Jets: You are on the clock.

It seems somewhat ridiculous. The Jets don’t really care about my commitment, though they should because many feel the same way. I’m surprised season tickets haven’t plunged. Rooting for a sports team isn’t exactly a reciprocal commitment. In fact, loyalty on my part aside, the Jets haven’t exactly been loyal to their own fanbase. They left Queens for New Jersey many moons ago and then flirted with trying to open a new stadium on the West Side of Manhattan. While remaining in New Jersey, it’s not exactly like the Jets make the same kind of commitment that a fan does. We pledge loyalty and hope for the best without any assurance that the team is going to listen to their desires or in fact, give them anything in return. Sure there are fan giveaways and a perk or two if you buy season tickets, but to simply root…there’s not much given in return by the team to those who bleed team colors.

But root nonetheless we do. As frustrating as it might be at times, fans adore their team, sometimes obsessively. And perhaps that is the line. When rooting for your team starts to bleed over into one’s personal life, it might be time for a check. Sports are a pastime. A hobby, something fun, a way to be involved in something bigger. It’s not marriage, or church membership, or even terribly important in the grand scheme of things. The players are the ones who it is truly important to as they risk injury and salary to go all-out on the field against other top athletes. For us, who watch, our passive meandering through is simply that. With the number of concussion injuries in the NFL that have been reported, we may even wish to consider not watching at all as the league, nor the owners, often consider the humans who are on the field more than commodities and their injuries more than collateral damage.

So whether I remain a Jets fan or not, I suppose depends on whether it continues to be fun for me to watch them. Otherwise, it seems somewhat masochistic. Hence, my ultimatum to the team’s management.

Today, I will pray for better days for my team. But will also pray that I can place being fan in the proper order of life’s many events and enjoy the time I spend watching athletes compete at a high level.

Surgical Reflections

So for the past month, I have been recovering from foot surgery, or perhaps more specifically, toe surgery. What’s wrong, you ask? A story is needed.

This past summer I attended World Youth Day in Poland. Rachael, one of my students, had a bad cold and was unable to sleep under the stars at the papal mass site. So I stayed behind with her (Keeping my record of not sleeping outside at World Youth Day in tact!) and we decided to walk by ourselves to the papal pilgrimage route. We thought we could take a bus to the route which by itself is only about 2 miles or so, but the buses were shut down because of the proximity of the papal motorcade–so we had to walk a much longer journey. About 10 miles in total. However, at one point we were stopped and this happened:

So cool.

We did eventually get to the mass and somehow found our group. After the mass we began to depart and once again the buses were a problem. Overcrowding, buses and streetcars were often at a standstill, or not showing up at all. In the midst of all this, there was a crazy rainstorm…and I do mean rain. This made the buses we saw even hotter than they usually were. One passenger wrote in the fogged up window the words “Help us”, which made us all giggle. So we made the collective decision that it was better to keep moving on foot than to be stuck on a steamy, smelly and stagnate bus or streetcar.

It was a wet but a good decision. We did make it back to our hotel well ahead of those vehicles. Rachel and I totaled 20 miles and over 50,000 steps on my fitbit for the day. Whew!

Now what does all this have to do with foot surgery? Well, a bunch of things. One is that I developed bad blisters on my heels and on the 4th toe of both feet, I had two really huge blisters. I also suffer from heel spurs and have for years. So for me, it was indeed the agony of de-feet.

I called my wife and asked her to make an appointment with my podiatrist for when I return. At that appointment he pointed out to me that while my feet hurt, that was a manageable problem with some good ibuprofen. Heel spurs are not something that you want to have to correct with surgery, Stretching is really the solution along with good shoes.

However, the blister on my 4th toe (on both feet) was so huge because those toes were both crooked. They were curling under the third toe and the friction was causing these huge blisters.

“Whenever you do a lot of walking, this is what you are going to face.” the doctor said. “What’s worse is that these toes are just going to get worse and that’s going to be a real problem.”

So some minor surgery was needed. He straightened the tendons and bone and then inserted a pin into each toe so it would heal properly and then stitched up the toe. Recovery time is 4-6 weeks. Limited walking and absolutely no driving.

So I have been sequestered in my home for this time with the exception of doctor’s appointments. Friends have been gracious with transporting me to the doctor and doing some shopping for us (My wife doesn’t drive). It’s also been an opportunity for me to reflect. I’ve thought a lot about how tough it must be for older people who aren’t as mobile, or for people who have limited mobility issues for longer periods of time. While my pain wasn’t awful, it was bad enough, especially the first two days. I began to pray in solidarity for people who suffer from chronic pain, with no relief.

I’ve also been unable to shower. So it’s been sponge baths for the past month. I’ve taken to sleeping on the couch as it’s easier to elevate my feet there without bothering Marion. A warm shower and my own bed will be things I treasure soon. I imagine there are many who wander the city streets who would relish these things as well.

My dearest wife has been a real trooper. She’s been waiting on me hand and foot and has cared for me so well. Haze the dog has never left my side, knowing of my need for comfort. He is a great, great pal.

I also found myself joyfully reflecting on many of the gifts of the past year. My trip with a bunch of glorious students to Poland this summer, was one of the real joys of my life. A mentorship relationship with one of my old students has also brought me a lot of joy. Two new colleagues at work have made life less stressful and fun to be at work. There are always fires to extinguish at work as the director, but these seem to have lessened.

The loss of a student is never easy and we faced that this semester, along with much end of the semester drama, that I won’t bore you with here. But we still stand committed to God in our work and hopefully will continue to lead others into a more deep relationship with God as well. I’m grateful for my colleagues in campus ministry and for those we work alongside in student affairs.

Today, I ask for prayers as the pins are removed from my toes. I will need to find out what’s next in recovery, but I hope for a return to work soon. Most of all, I am grateful for the gift of youth and mobility which I still have and I look forward to another 20 miles of walking somewhere, where God will accompany me, helping me to find more of what God hopes I can find.