The west coast sun, John Donne and the problem with isolation on planet earth


The West coast sun finally showed up this afternoon.

I grabbed the dog and took her out to the field behind the college dorms.

Even though I could still hear the traffic barreling down 152nd street, the stress of the day receded.

Molly splashed through shallow puddles. I gazed out at a swollen stream. It slid like a lumpy snake through the low lying area beside the field.

I savored every moment.

· No social cues to interpret

· No expectations to fulfill

But, not for long.

I walked off the field, past the college learning center. On the other side of the college property, I entered the natural habitat of

· two teenagers

· two young adults

· a mom

· a dad

· a grandma over seventy

My home.

In the 1600’s John Donne wrote “No man is an island.” I always resented him for that. I savor the silence, the lack of social pressure, the day unfolding around me with out interruption.

I’m a loner at heart. I rant on how much of a recluse I am.

But, my words are just filler to hide my fear of being known.

This world is all about connection. We are all involved to some degree in someone else’s joy or pain.

“Each man’s death diminishes me,” John wrote in Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, “For I am involved in mankind.”

I may be walk alone behind the dorms. But, in the end I head home.

We all belong to someone, somewhere, somehow. Each of us are a part of a divine jigsaw puzzle, each piece meant to fit side by side..

How will the life you live change another person’s life today?

Disappointment and wadded Kleenex–Good Friday from a different perspective




I got an email.

“Don’t need your help anymore,” It basically read. No detailed explanation. No fond farewell.

Ouch. That hurt.

Help is what I do. Help with school work. Help with scheduling. Help with just about anything a college kid needs to make it through the year.

This email caught me off guard. Its terse words shook awake doubts that had fallen asleep in the back of my mind.

Now, these wide-eyed doubts ran through my head questioning my abilities. My calling. My future.

All this time, a college student sat across from me. I knew she wondered what was going on.

I hunched over my computer as if I was in deep concentration.

And, I cried.

I blew my nose and wadded it up in tissue. Pretending I had a cold, I heaped my fluffy little sinus traps into a pile on my desk.

The girl was not fooled.

She held out a chocolate. Dark and creamy. Soft nutty center.

“Have one,” she said. Obviously, she knew a hormonal breakdown when she saw one.

After the college girl left, I got another email.

It explained everything. Those pesky doubts had been wrong.

I felt so glad and yet ashamed all at once. How had a let such deep disappointment overtake me?

Good Friday came to mind. Just two days away.

Now, that is what I call a day of  disappointment.  It marks the darkest hours this world has ever seen.

Twelve Jewish men who walked off their jobs over two thousand years ago. They followed a teacher across the country side. A teacher they hardly knew. But, they never looked back. Why?


A dream.

A brand new start.

Just when this teacher grew popular, organized religion stepped in. The government followed suit.

The teacher died.

In one day, a rag tag band of devoted followers turned into a group of very frightened and disappointed men.

How many of them wiped their noses on the back of their hands and pretended they had a cold?

How many of them cried until their eyes swelled?

Dreams died along with their teacher. Hope shriveled up like a bit of fluff and floated away.

Good Friday. At the time, I doubt the followers of Jesus saw any good in that day at all.