When I was in first grade, my brother Caleb and I lived in another state for a month — I don’t want to explain why. All I will say is that it was unexpected, confusing, and the result of serious complications in my parents’ relationship.
It was Friday night in Petal, Mississippi. I was 17 years old and I decided to do something risky, something bold, something I had never done before: I drove up to a gas station. It may not seem an impressive feat to you, but this wasn’t just any gas station. This was the gas station, the Texaco — the central meeting point for the popular people from Petal High.
During my junior year at the University of Southern Mississippi, I invited a Yugoslavian student to a campus worship service that was organized by my church, which was predominately white. After the meeting, we were talking in the hallway, and he noticed a group of mostly black students meeting across the hallway. Then he asked something that caught me off guard. “Why do the white Christians and the black Christians meet separately?”
One time, I told my friend Steve that I was going to ask God to humble me. Steve said, “I wouldn’t do that. Scripture says to humble yourself. You don’t want God to have to do it.” Along that vein, a few years ago, I embarked on a self-imposed, humbling journey in self-discovery in which I did interviews with five different people, asking questions that elicited mostly-negative responses about ways I could improve my impact on others.
A few years ago, I was in a dysfunctional situation with a couple of other people — one was my boss, the other was my coworker. And like most dysfunctional relationships, it didn’t happen overnight. Things just built up over time.
Last week, I was sitting at the park watching my girls play when I noticed something that piqued my interest: an older woman was affectionately leaning on a man, who I presumed was her husband.
When I was single, I wrote a description of the kind of wife I expected to have and the kind of husband I thought I would be. I’m grateful I’ve lost that embarrassing list, but I do recall that many of my expectations centered on three areas: my confidence in instant maturity as a husband, the assumption of a near-perfect sex life and the expectation of non-stop infatuation.
Up in Washington, D.C., there are plenty of ignorant folks who assume evangelical southerners like me are judgmental, closed-minded, and prejudiced in all kinds of ways. It’s sad and frustrating, but it’s reality, and I’m sure my friend Macie Anderson has been on the receiving end of it as well.
This past week, I was sitting in a ballroom of a hotel with other members of the Evangelical Press Association as they were giving out awards in various writing and design categories. I knew that “Where Have All the Beautiful Women Gone?“, which I wrote for Boundless, had been nominated in the category of medium feature length article. But I didn’t have high hopes for it, especially after they announced the articles that received fifth through second places. To my great surprise, however, they named it as the top prize winner in the category.
This is a story about a law student, a partner at a firm, and gross towel usage. Brace yourself. Here we go.
Eight years ago today, I did something risky: I got married. To most people, it probably seemed particularly risky in light of the fact that, when my wife and I tied the knot, we had only known each other for nine months. It was the best decision of my life.
Some of the people I most admire love themselves really well. They’re not hard on themselves. They give themselves room to grow and figure things out. They like themselves. I find it easy to be around those folks. There’s something special going on with them.
Oftentimes when I’m with my little girls, I feel like I’m just talking at them and around them, but not to them. Whether I want to or not, I’m juggling four or five things in my own head while trying to stay engaged with them. Yes, I would like to play Hungry Hippo with them; but at the same time, I would love to have 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading time or a nap. So a lot of times, I don’t get to read; I don’t get the nap; and my kids get me halfway-engaged in a game of Hungry…
Sometimes my wife and I fall into the trap of putting each other on guilt trips. Maybe she wants me to help out around the house, so she reminds me of how much time she has spent taking care of the kids. Or maybe I want a break to do something I enjoy (like writing), so I remind her how much I’ve been doing at the office. We’re trying to get away from that.
I am conversationally fluent in Spanish, but under the right circumstances, speaking Spanish can be scary for me.