TheLastWord

Lanced

Ah, 1999—those were the days. It was summertime and we were in Holland for our annual visit with my wife’s family. Normally I didn’t spend a lot of time with the...

Baby Steps

My fifteen-month-old son’s favorite game is “run into Mommy’s room and grab things out of her nightstand before she catches me.” As soon as I set him on his feet at...

License to Fret

For several nights in July, the thrilling, testosterone-laden notes of the James Bond theme music filled our family room, as my husband and I and whichever of our...

Until Daybreak

In the days leading up to last year’s Hurricane Irene, media coverage was relentless and shrill: Irene, we were told, had the potential to be the storm of the...

The Burial

There’s nothing quite like watching what used to be your brother being lowered into a hole in the Illinois earth to remind you that every moment is a universe far...

Estate Sale

The first humiliation is waiting in line on the brick walkway, which is bordered in boxwood and leads up a few steps between pillars to the open front door. This is...

Starting Over

I’m a recession story, or at least I was. In 2008 I lost my job, in 2009 my apartment. I spent nineteen months off the economic radar. As an unemployed office...

A Fuller Life

To my friends and colleagues at the college where I teach, I’m the Wrong-Way Corrigan of the twenty-first century. Seven years ago, at the age of fifty-three, I...

Unquarantined Grief

If a novelist were to have his protagonist reading Camus’ The Plague mere hours before learning that his wife has cancer, the irony would be cheap, a postmodernist...

Bad Samaritan

In June 2010, I made a stop in Boston to meet a friend for lunch. We had planned to eat at a swanky bistro with a view of the Atlantic and, in the distance, planes...

Baby on Board

I went to a baptism the other day, in a lovely old empty church. It was one of those brilliant afternoons when the sunlight coming in through the old mullioned...

The Secret Infidel

Forming a Christian conscience means exposing it to the hard sayings of Jesus, which call for a self-emptying commitment to the “whole law”: love of God and love of...
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