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A few days ago, my friend Dan asked when I was going to write my book.

(I appreciate that Dan asks me this almost every time I talk to him, especially because his own book has been such a smash-hit.)

My answer was three-fold:

1. I laughed.  I laughed nervously as one laughs when hearing a phrase in a foreign language that you only partially understand.  I laughed because my own personal creative outputs have been so dormant that his question seemed to live fourteen time zones away from my current borders.

2. I said, “If only I could settle on what would be that one thing I would even want to write about.”

3. I also said, with a quiet severity: “Talk to me again once I start writing consistently on my blog 3 times each week.”

Today my friend Darrelle made me breakfast.  She is kind.

And she said, “After breakfast let’s go sit and you can drink coffee and we will both write.  Because we both keep talking about how we need to be writing, instead of just writing.”

And I know, it’s getting old–all of this writing about wanting to be writing more.  This will be the last post in which I do that, thank you.

The trees in Colorado are getting gorgeously bare.

Where I live, it’s only in cement, parking lots, and fencing where we see these winter neutral colors in the landscape.  In urban Los Angeles, the seasons are much more stubborn and barely change.  In a city where so many migrate to see their dreams born in technicolor, so many leave the city feeling they’ve given birth to the wind.  You can actually feel the sadness on the streets, sometimes.  It’s true for starving artists, actors, and many of the hard working folks of Boyle Heights. If you are an immigrant trying desperately to provide for your family on less than a living wage, it may seem that even with small wins, things barely change.


In late January I will help lead a 16-week Old Testament bible study in our house for our church, Basileia.  One thing that has struck me as I prepare for this study is just how remarkably often God has used barren women to write his story.  Opening wombs is his thing.

One of my dearest friends is actually the firstborn child of a woman who had been pronounced medically barren for years.

Jesus miraculously opened her womb, and then she had four children.  These things are not un-normal for the people of God.  I write this carefully, knowing the sum of you who’ve struggled with infertility.  Hope is risky business.  And Hope deferred truly does make the heart sick.  But how can hope have any place to grow if it isn’t in an initial soil of barrenness?

Lately I’ve been thinking about how the act of hope is a cross-fit type discipline.  Hope requires focus and determined energy and sweat.  If our lives are oriented toward the person of Jesus, hope isn’t some sort of passive positive thinking; hope is an aggressive fist on the table of our current life circumstance.  It’s how our hearts stand up to remind our minds that we know the one who will make all things new.  Jesus, the one who is even now making things new.

These are the things I have to remind myself when I hear things I cannot understand, like the news headline about 27 people–20 of them children–murdered in Connecticut this week.  Or when I hear of my friend Martin’s leukemia still not going into remission.  Or when a friend admits that it feels God has simply ignored for years the deepest cries of their heart to be married.

It will be good for me to go back to these Old Testament passages that are filled with the tension of a people exiled, of longings unfulfilled, and also of the impossible seas God parts for them along the way.

May we be people of unbending hope.

[Holga by Ian]


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