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My friend Maria, who hails from Taiwan, tells me that in her culture it is believed that friends are souls who find one another, lifetime after lifetime. Though I’m not a fan of reincarnation (it sounds terribly tiring), I like the sound of this conjecture. After Ruth opined that she thought the three of us really ought to get tattoos so that we can find one another in the next life, it all clicked together.

The sky appears daunting, swarming
as it is with bright and twinkling things,
still: We will find each other,
unerringly, though lifetimes,
on this or any astral plane.
We will coalesce into constellation—
The Sisters, they will call us, or something Latinate —
we will laugh, knowing we are we, not stars but souls,
bound by something more grave than gravity,
beats of light that blink out occasionally,
only to reappear, newborn but ancient,
in yet another freckled sky.

Kids can be really, really good at this.  This past weekend, our church hosted a breakfast with Santa for our preschool crew.  One hundred and seventy-five people attended.  It was a little nuts, but in a good way.

As always, I sat in one corner with our pastor and painted faces.  I painted snowflakes.  I painted gingerbread men.  I painted one star and one package.  And I painted at least a dozen reindeer.

I had to smile at two little girls who came up to me wanting reindeer.  They both had on the same dress, red and velvety with white trim.  Super cute!  According to one girls older brother (or maybe cousin, I don’t ask), they dress alike so that everyone can tell they are together.  “Twins,” whispered one little voice.  Big brother didn’t say fiddle but he was waiting for me to object.

One little girl was blonde and curly with big blue eyes.  The other girl, his sister, had straight black hair and big brown eyes.  Superficially, they couldn’t have been more different.  But that’s not what they were looking at.  In their hearts, where it truly mattered, these little girls were clearly twins with one big brother to keep an eye on them.

Kids have a lot to teach us if we will listen.  I’m glad God set this reminder on my path.


Most days, my morning starts with CBS This Morning. Last week, newscaster Gayle King interviewed actor Matthew Perry and put his whole life into a neat, yet negative, nutshell:

  • You had been on a hit show, Friends.
  • You’ve done other shows since and they have not been successful.
  • You had a serious drug addiction and struggled with fame.
  • You’re starring in a remake of the Odd Couple, which will be tough to make a hit, since the original show was iconic.
  • You’ve dated famous women through the years; those relationships didn’t work out. Who are you dating currently?

So she “bullet-pointed” his life, as if this is the sum total of who he is.

For a moment, his face registered real emotion – it seemed to be a combination of surprise, since his show will be on this same network, and hurt, since, like, he’s a human being. Recovering quickly, he went back into his regular actor-guy persona and dutifully recited talking points about his new show.

So often, we “bullet-point” our own lives, thinking the boxes containing our troubles really have anything to do with who we actually are.

Do we think of ourselves in this way:

  • Sick
  • Sad
  • Strapped
  • Struggling

Or in this way, which is the truth:

  • Cherished
  • Chosen
  • Child of God
  • Champion

God didn’t go through all this trouble – knitting you together in your mother’s womb, making you this quirky bundle of wonderful – so you could drag yourself through the day, barely holding on in life. Don’t think of your short-comings. Think of your long-goings, to coin a term. Think of the long game. Focus on what you want out of your life instead the pile of things distracting you.

So, next time somebody aims that bullet-point in your direction, set them straight. You can’t be put into a box or pegged by parentheses. You’re not an afterthought or an addendum. You’re an original, one-of-a-kind with fingerprints and forensics tracing your lineage to a Higher Authority.

Bullet-point that, world!

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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