These many years later, I don’t remember which department my colleague worked in. I only remember him flying across the newsroom with a proof sheet in his hand, suit jacket and tie swinging, as he made a beeline toward the Editor’s Office. I was a nobody junior reporter on the business desk trying to find my footing in my dream job at a medium-sized metro daily newspaper that won a Pulitzer Prize for its 1993 series “A Question of Color.”
I could tell my colleague was mad that day. Mad enough to risk looking like the angry black man.
When the most junior 10 percent of us got cut free, God seemed to hide her face. I was more than dismayed. I got clinically depressed. It took another layoff 10 years later to remember my worth.
I come from a family that lives in the Venn diagram where the science of medicine and the care of the soul overlap one another. How — in the middle of a pandemic — can we speak of healing?
Misery loves company. And this time of year has inspired some of the most beautifully miserable and stinkin’ good music. So, here’s my playlist for a less-than jolly holiday.
Consider this a big hairy asterisk and caveat to my previous love note to the...
The first time I got laid off, I ran to a bathroom to cry. I am quoted in a...
It’s impossible – in the middle of a pandemic – not to notice how often the...
Winter Wonderland and Happy Place Late November every year, the hunt is on for...
Current Events & Culture
Love and Life
Love and Life
Current Events & Culture
A Message From Christina
I grew up on a hill in the middle of nowhere Northeast Ohio.
My words feel forged there, watching styrofoam cups melt at night in a burn barrel on a back 40 I imagine defending with a shotgun and my miniature Doberman pinscher.
(Disclaimers: It was the ’80s. We didn’t know any better than to burn styrofoam. It was more like an acre and a half, and my dog’s bark was much bigger than his bite. I also never owned a shotgun.)
From that little piece of Appalachia, I’ve transplanted several times: Minneapolis, Cleveland, and now non metropolitan but magical Southern Oregon.
A writer, editor, and refugee of the Fourth Estate, I am also an ordained pastor puttering in the spiritual R&D department of wherever Jesus is taking us next.
My best guess? It won’t be so much in the “thin places,” but the thick ones, those dense moments of human existence that feel like banging your forehead against concrete block, where the chasm between what is and what should be gapes, as impossible to traverse as the canyon between Lazarus and Dives.
What I look for is Love showing up with skin on. Right here.
Writer + Preacher
“Well, It Isn’t Junk to Me”
I’m not sure what epitaph will be engraved with the artist’s palette Grandma picked years ago for her grave marker, but this would be my choice.
I heard Grandma say it more than once when extended family members (read: daughters-in-law) disparaged the piles of seemingly useless materials she saved.
The piles got completely out of control: stacks of foam meat trays in not just white, but blue, green, yellow, and pink; empty spools bare of thread; buttons, clothespins (especially the old fashioned kind), empty baby food bottles and their caps, bits of cloth, yarn, ribbon and thread. She collected natural materials, too: dried thistles and milkweed pods, money plant, gourds.
These worthless things became craft projects, costumes, floral arrangements. She flooded the entries to the local County Fair with milk-pod interpretations of “The Owl and the Pussycat” or “Alice’s Wonderland.” Once, when she broke her leg falling into a hole the dogs had dug between the shed and the back-porch door, she gave her ample plaster casts a second life. Turned on end, with an extra bit of paper mache and paint, they made the best camels I have ever seen grace a home porch Nativity creche.
“Well, it isn’t junk to me,” Grandma would say….