Category: Family Life

The Gift of Walking

Another Way for week of April 22, 2017 The Gift of Walking My daughter shared a wonderful image from her 14-month-old’s life recently as they walked to a nearby playground. It was the first time he’d been to the playground since he had started to walk; he is pretty solid but still falls occasionally. […]

Communion (A Five-year-old’s Perspective)

The Communion with God is simple, so we will not be dazzled; so we can eat and drink His love and still go about our lives; so our souls will burn slowly rather than blaze.  . . . the Last Supper did not take place on one night in one room, and to eat God's love, we do not have to even open our mouths; we can be walking, sorrowful and confused, with a friend; or working on whatever our boat is, fishing whatever it is we fish for; or we can be running naked, alone in the dark.  The Eucharist is with us, and it is ordinary.  To me, that is its essential beauty: we receive it with wandering minds, and distracted flesh, in the same way that we receive the sun and sky, the moon and earth, and breathing.  
                   - Andre Dubus in Meditations from a Movable Chair
Five-year-old Isaiah loves bread almost as much as he loves his Mama, which is to say, quite a lot.  He also loves juice.  When there's no Sunday school and he's forced to endure the long church service upstairs in the pews, communion - with its tempting combination of both bread and juice - offers a bright respite in the midst of the otherwise boring service. 
Seated during prayer at the service’s beginning on Easter Sunday, he bobs and weaves his head from side to side, searching out the low table at the front of the church.  Then, he exclaims, “I see bread and juice!” 
His brother, Levi, sees it too.  “Mom,” Levi says, like someone who’s just discovered cake and ice cream is on the menu for breakfast, “We’re dippin' bread!” 
I turn to them, scandalized by their outdoor voices, and stretch my neck forward, my eyes wide, one finger pressed to my lips.  I silently tap my finger to my closed lips. 
They settle back in the hard pew to wait. 
My boys love communion and my hunch is it’s because they love to eat.  Sometimes this strikes me as sacrilegious, but, mostly, something in their enthusiasm - the way simple appetite and desire breed longing and consummation - also feels right to me.  They're happy to be part, to take part, and receive something good and nourishing. 
When the time comes, at last, I send Levi under his father’s guidance and push Isaiah along ahead of me.  I wonder again, as we exit the end of the pew, about the rightness of allowing children so young to participate in communion, but they’re so happy, so eager, I can’t see holding them back.  We move slowly toward the altar in two lines that bulge and clot the aisle as adults shepherd groups of children.  Seeing my older son behind me, I push him forward too, intending to lean over he and Isaiah both and orchestrate, regulate, their reception of grace. 
Isaiah reaches the half loaf of Italian bread first.  It sits on a plate outstretched in front of his face, level with his big brown eyes.  He reaches for it two-handed, manhandling the loaf which slides forward precariously the slanted plate and the server and I both lunge to stop the fall.  In my mind, Isaiah’s hands are everywhere (germs!) and I grab the loaf to steady it, tearing off a small piece of soft white dough while he wrestles with the dry, flaky crust.  He peels back a sturdy piece as big as his forearm and we turn to the dipping, then back to our seats.
While the rest of us have quickly dipped and swallowed our own crumbs, he sits in the pew tearing off bite after bite of flaky crust.  When his twin brother asks about the size of his serving, Isaiah replies, with deep contentment, “I didn’t try to get it so big, but it came off, so I kept it.”

Lenten Conversations: Dr. Martin Marty on Family Time

Another Way for week of March 10, 2017 Lenten Conversations: Martin Marty on Family Time Editor’s note: Third in a six-week Lenten series of interviews Melodie Davis conducted with influential Christians. One of the persons I felt most privileged to interview several years ago was Dr. Martin Marty, longtime editor, prolific author, and columnist at Christian […]

Lenten Conversations: Mike Berenstain of “Bear” Book Fame

Lenten Conversations: Mike Berenstain of “Bear” Book Fame Another Way Column for week of March 3, 2017 Editor’s note: Second in a six-week Lenten series of interviews Melodie Davis conducted with influential Christians over several years. I was surprised when I learned that Mike Berenstain was to be commencement speaker at my alma mater, […]

Let’s Hear it for Quiet

Another Way for week of February 17, 2017 Let’s Hear it for Quiet Are you an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert (meaning a little of both)? Susan Cain, a Harvard Law School graduate is basically an introvert. But she left law behind and is now a sought-after author and public speaker on the topic  […]

Thoughts on a Cold Winter’s Night

Another Way for week of February 3, 2017 Thoughts on a Cold Winter’s Night Ruby is friend from elementary school. I have enjoyed getting to know her a bit again from a distance through Facebook, where she posted this recently: “I find winter to be the peaceful time I really need—that’s what I love about it. […]

How to Make Your Marriage Beautiful

As a pastor I’ve read my share of books on marriage, met and counseled many couples preparing for marriage, and I’ve been married to my husband and best friend since the first Star Wars movie was released (and yes, for those of you trying to do the math, I was a child bride). Yet for all that I’ve read and lived, I’m still learning what it means to spend the rest of my life with someone, to love deeply and long with all that I am and all that I have. ... Read More ›
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