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.

A Virtual Wake for the Father and Daughter Who Drowned in the Rio Grande

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 as an Image of Heaven

…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?

Attention is Our Simplest Gift

…And as I set my sail to be pulled into the rest of my workday, all I could think about was the salesman’s graceful presence, and how it told me that we’re in this together. Whatever flashing lights we hold in our hands or beeping noises rattle in our ears, we’re human beings standing in front of each other, right? We’re right here, together.

It was lovely to be in the presence of someone who was living in the present moment. The salesman gave me all of his attention, which is not to say that he smothered me with hospitality, it’s just to say that he refused to be in two places at once. And even my dimly-lit brain could recognize that he was preserving something between us — something in which our humanity grows and blooms — that is all too often neglected and if you don’t put a fence around an important thing like that, it just gets trampled and ground to dust.

Don’t we need this especially now, in this day and age? To treat each other like human beings — to be one person, undivided? Haven’t we always needed each other like this?

I’m here to tell you, it’s the simplest gift to give and receive.

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