In 2018, I joined Grotto Network as Senior Editor. Grotto is a new digital media platform that walks with young adults, 18-35, as they navigate life, make an impact in the world, and keep the faith. My task is to build an ever-wider pool of freelance writers, solicit and edit contributions, and develop the voice of the written work of this publication. All of the writing on the site passes my eyes, and I also share occasional pieces as we develop our voice. Here are a few of my own contributions to Grotto.
I cannot control what Covid does to my lungs. But I can control what it does to my heart. Fear still crawls through it from time to time — I can’t stop that, but I can harness my reaction to that fear and direct it outward. That simple act is pulling me through this illness in a different way.
So I’m turning the uncertainty and discomfort and anxiousness I’m feeling into prayer for you. Can you feel it? It’s a tool if you can grasp and wield it. Start to hammer at your own fear in this moment and you can craft it into prayer, too.
That’s how I know you’re not alone, and that you can bear this — because I’m here, sick with you, and we’re looking outward together within our vulnerability. We’re sharing this gaze of concern and compassion for one another, you and I, and we don’t even know each other. And there are others out there besides you and me — so, so many.
There’s a very disturbing image circulating on social media that shows a drowned father with his 2-year-old daughter on the bank of a river.
You don’t have to look at it if you’re not up for it, but don’t avoid it just because it’s uncomfortable. The human heart was not designed to grow a callus. The hands and feet, yes — those are parts where a good callus helps them do their work better. But that’s not how it works with the heart. The human heart gets worse with calluses, not better — it needs to be softened from time to time. We should not be afraid to expose it to bruising. This is an image that can help with that.
The photo is included at the bottom of this page, so the choice is yours. I can guarantee that it will shake you up, but sometimes it’s good to be shaken up.
…Baseball resonates with so many people because it is a representation of the journey we all make in life. We begin with our family in the dugout, then we take our turn in the world alone at the plate. We wander out along the base paths and separate ourselves to see how far we can go. We use our wits and will to advance, and one day we come around third and return home, back where we belong, where we are known, with people who love us.
It’s this reunion, this return that echoes in our spirits as hope. We all hope we are not alone in the end, that our loved ones, when they depart from us, are never truly gone. Images like this speak to that hope — they spark something within us. We recognize that joy, we long for it, we want it to be true for us as well.
Where did that desire come from? Why do moments like this ricochet around in our hearts? Could it be that we are made for such glory — that reunion is strung through our DNA and restoration lives in our bones?
Won’t that be what heaven feels like — coming home?