Category Archives: Uncategorized

We Are Teachers

Hey student, we see you.  Hunched over your paper, with that dazed expression on your face.  We see you slouched behind that screen pretending to work on something other than your fantasy football line up.  We see you.

I know this isn’t the easiest time in your life.  Things don’t always make sense.  You are traveling at the rate of hyper-speed through a tumultuous corridor in your development.  It’s bound to be a bit bumpy.  I wish I could tell you that everything is going to work out alright.  I just don’t know that.  What I do know is that you will make it through.  Of that I am certain.  I am standing at the other end of that hallway now.  It’s easier for me to see the light.

And I’m not going to tell you I’ve been there.  I haven’t.  I mean, I have been your age, but not your age now.  That’s different.  The forces are stronger.  They are more pervasive.  You are rarely completely still; you are driven to distraction.  That ray of light that emanates from that screen sends you adrenaline doses well into the night.  Your conversations with your friends really never end.  Communicating without any of the intimacy, you are compelled to respond and engage, fearing the oblivion of silence.  I would have been afraid too.

We see you.  I know you believe no one truly does.  You hide behind that mask.  You play the part.  Sometimes the performance is masterful.  Other times, you forget your lines.  When everything feels so immediate, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.  Your emotions are an extremely important part of your DNA, but they are lousy decision makers.  Too often, you let what you feel dictate the next move.  You get better at discerning the difference.  I promise.

We don’t always tell you this, but we love you.  We really do.  We are human, not stone.  We get weary and worn.  Papers pile up.  Checklists get longer.  Objectives, plans, and test dates loom.  Preparedness.  Organization.  Repetition.  Too often, we let these inform the culture of our classrooms.  The stakes are high.  Believe you me.  We trade in souls here, not currency.  This is the marketplace of human development and social change.  We are on the front lines.  No, this job is not for the faint of heart.

We see you, student.  We don’t have to play games.  We know when you cheat your own potential and falter under the weight of unrealistic expectations.  We know the social sacrifices it takes to have integrity.  We see you struggling every day to become . . . .well, you.  Hang in there.

We are teachers, and we see you.







Disappointment makes a lousy companion.  He nibbles on your leftovers and drinks your last soda.  He never asks if it’s okay to visit.  He just shows up, unannounced, and lounges in your most comfortable pair of pajama pants that he donned while you weren’t looking.  He even grabs the remote and changes the channel in the middle of your favorite show.

Disappointment likes to whisper into your ear.  His lips too close for comfort, he knows how to give deception a sickening melody.  At first, the notes please you, resonating in your soul, reminding you how unworthy you are.  The strain binds you to other moments in your past when you have felt the same way.  You review them, revealing an obvious pattern:  failure.  He stops his loathsome anthem just long enough to remind you.  “You have had a lot of practice at failing,” he whispers.  “Inevitability looks good on you,” he chides.  You put it all back on like an old coat.  It fits just like you remember it.  In fact, shame might just be your best color.

He resumes his tune, but as he hits the chorus, the notes turn sour.  Bitterness washes the back of your throat as your anger erupts at this intrepid house guest.  You determine to fight back.  You have other friends too, you tell him.  Well-meaning supporters who sing you a different song.  Belonging, Kindness, Sincerity, and Grace come for regular visits when invited.  You show him the door.  Oh, he has worn out his welcome alright,  but he will not be silenced, nor will he be moved.  Not just yet.  He’s just getting started.  He puts his hands behind his head, and while resting his feet on your ottoman, he waits for your righteous indignation to wane.  Disappointment is a noble adversary.  He knows how to withstand your displeasure.  In that space and time, the voices of all of your other friends fall silent.  Your courage vanishes.  All you can hear is his excruciating voice begin his song anew.  In fact,  this ditty reaches its final crescendo.  His tone intensifies, soaring and strong.  It drowns out all reason leaving you vulnerable to his most fatal attack.

Your eyes turn heavenward.  Your wily companion tilts your chin.  New voices rise from despair.  God must not have heard you.  He never really cared.  He doesn’t even listen.  He must not be there.  Disappointment weighs in with one crowning refrain, “It was really just you all along.  Just you.  Only you.”   Abandonment rings the doorbell, Disappointment’s evil accomplice.  They sit next to you on the couch, one on either side.  No need to sing any more songs.  The tapes play on their own now.  They will always play.  Disappointment’s most insidious gift is unadulterated deception.  It pours from his lips into the porches of our ears.  And worse still, his voice eventually turns into our own, the most cruel trick of all.


Licking My Wounds

This week kicked my butt.  It was short and should have felt like a Sunday afternoon walk.  Instead, it felt like a beleaguered hike in the scorching desert . . . without a canteen.

It was a sick-fest.  A work piling up, late nights, 5th grade homework, dishes in the sink, laundry piles unattended, chores neglected kind of butt kicking.  And I am still not completely recovered.

I don’t know why some seasons of life feel different from others.  Or why at certain times our inadequacies take center stage with a spotlight and a microphone.  But they do.  Our circumstances overshadow us.  And they sing their own high-pitched squeaky melodies, the kind of song that puts our nerves on edge and sends the audience toward the exits.    Nobody wants to see the epic meltdowns these moments can produce.  Nothing but all kinds of scorched earth.

As I was licking my wounds this morning and prepping for my big return to the stage next week sans illness and insecurities, I came across a video on social media of the ocean bed surrounding Long Island, Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.  I say ocean bed because the water is . . . well, it’s gone.  Shoreline?  Check.  Sandy dunes?  Check.  Long pier into the middle of nothingness?  Check.  Wait, what?  Yes, the ocean waters have been completely sucked away leaving the ocean floor utterly exposed.

I’ve never seen anything like it, except maybe that moment in the children’s book entitled  The Five Chinese Brothers, when the first brother swallows the sea.  It’s stunning.  And it’s extremely rare, but entirely possible.  In some cases, it’s a sign of a tsunami, but in this case, it’s something altogether different.  Hurricane Irma is so powerful, it is upending the ocean . . . literally consuming the water.  Moses and the Red Sea kind of showmanship.

I sat back in my chair and took a breath.  Nature and its intensity splintering my computer screen.  This storm is making its devastating impact known but only for the moment.  The cost may be great, but eventually Irma’s powerful winds will be spent and the water will return again to those deserted shorelines.  These natural boundaries, however, were set long ago by a bigger force than the storms in our lives.  All of the waters of the earth know His voice, and cannot resist His celestial control.  Not even a beast like Irma can rend them entirely from His hands.

So, I will grow still and wait . . . wait for those roiling waters to strike calm.  And they will.  For all storms eventually obey His irresistible dominion.


Life is About Addition. Not Subtraction.

Yes, I used mathematical terms in the title of this piece.  No, that does not mean I have wavered in my view that math is the devil’s language.  However, I have learned something interesting this past year of my life.  Or should I say remembered.  The first time I learned it I was in elementary school.

I always loved addition.  Carrying those ones, discovering the sum, finding satisfaction in the increase.  It felt like I was going somewhere.  That was thrilling.  I hated subtraction.  The method was just more complicated.  Scanning from right to left, invariably you had to borrow and take away.  Just like robbing Peter to pay Paul, you knew at some point, down the line, you were going to have pay the piper.  As the numbers grew bigger, it just became harder for me to keep up.  In fact, the only thing I liked about subtraction was checking my work with . . . yep, you guessed it . . . addition.

It is easy, as we grow older, to see life as a relentless game of subtraction . . . one that leaves us with a less than desirable difference.  As our chronological age increases, the things we lose become more and more evident.  Dexterity, flexibility and physical prowess retreat.  The 40’s squint kicks in as you realize the words on that page three inches from your face aren’t as clear as they were yesterday.  Hairlines recede, skin dries and cracks, hormones diminish leaving you a sweaty, angry mess.  Our families spread out. Children leave for college or for life.  Good friends accept promotions across the country.  Neighbors sell their homes.  We live paycheck to paycheck, playing beat the bank with mortgage payments and school tuition checks.  We watch some relationships disintegrate; alienation doesn’t knock on the door.  It simply moves in.  We sit with our loved ones on their death beds.  We hold their hands.  We sing them away.  We ache.  Time gets small.  And oh, how we feel the irony when we realize that the only thing in our lives that is increasing is our waistlines.

I made a giant move in my life this year.  I left a place of employment I loved and cherished for the better part of my adult life for another.  And it was scary.  And it hurt.  Really badly.  The only thing I can tell you is that the decision I made that seemed to be a divine appointment initially only felt like a profound loss.  I didn’t get it.  God was moving in my life, and yet it felt like I was dying.  And then one day I wasn’t.  I looked up and saw the power of addition.  Unfamiliar faces have become more than just familiar.  They have become friends.  An early carpool commute brings with it cherished companionship and spontaneous hilarity.  My students of old have become folk heroes to my new crew.  They routinely ask me for stories.  And as tales starring Meatball, Horton Haven, flying snakes, strange chapel speakers and A102 spill out, I find myself calculating a most exquisitely beautiful sum.  All of those soul ties that I thought I was breaking?  I was just bringing them with me.  And the people who have loved me through it all?  Well, they still do.  God was just asking me to die to an idol I had created in my own image so that He could give me more than I knew how to ask for.  That’s how dumb I am.  That’s how good He is.

I don’t know what you are busy calculating in your life.  But I encourage you to use the plus sign.  I think you will find the total an overwhelmingly gracious and undeserved gift.


Pinterest: The Downfall of Modern Motherhood

Pinterest, I hate you.  Sincerely.  If there were ever a threat to my status as a respectable mother, this “social curation” is certainly it.  You see, I work.  Both inside and outside the home.  That doesn’t make me special or somehow better.  It just makes me really busy.  However, no matter how busy I might be, that intrinsic drive in the soul of every woman to be mom of the year is always there; rearing its ugly head at all times of the school calendar: birthday parties, Thanksgiving luncheons, Easter celebrations, teacher appreciation week, Christmas pageants, field trips . . . you get it.  We all want to pack the best lunch, provide the hippest snack.  I don’t care who you are.  At one time or another on our parenting journey, we all have wanted to be “that” mom.

Before Pinterest, “that” mom was mortal.  Her blood ran red.  However, she never had night sweats.  She never applied the searing pressure of “the claw” on her child’s cheeks right before walking into a social situation.   Her hormones have been and will always be perfectly balanced.  Despite her lack of menopausal symptoms and aberrant fits of rage, she was more like one of us.  Normal.  She sometimes took her children to school without make-up . . . in sweats.  She packed nutritious lunches in brown paper bags and added her special spice by including a sweet note, reminding young Timmy or sweet Sarah that they were loved to the moon and back.  She volunteered to be room mom, coordinated events, provided transportation . . . all the kinds of things we all wish we had the organizational skills to pull off.  At class parties, she looked put together, unstressed, and petted her generally well-behaved, compliant child on the head as he or she moved judiciously throughout the room spreading good cheer to all the other students.

Pinterest mom is another animal altogether.  She has made a new category of parental perfection that is virtually impossible to achieve.  I bring seasonal Double Stuf Oreos to class parties.  I usually pick them up the morning of said event and deliver them through my child still in the bag from Kroger.  Pinterest mom created a board for the class Christmas party in April.  She has been posting “cutsie” ideas for the food buffet and gift exchange from all over the world, taking note of color schemes, organizing paint swatches for the table cloth and crafting a life sized Christmas tree with only deco-mesh ribbon, zip ties, and a tomato cage.

Pinterest mom sends a gluten free snack in bio-degradable packaging.  I’m not even sure if the Cheeto’s Cheese Puffs I send with my child are bio-degradable.  For lunch, Pinterest mom has sent sandwiches in the shape of the child’s monogram, fruit and veggies with hummus, and water filtered with indigenous moss into a stainless steel, BPA free water bottle with a retractable top.  She also included a Valentine’s heart napkin and a hand crocheted cardigan, a design she found on Crochetholic’s Pinterest board,  just because she had extras and the classroom might get cold.  I sometimes send my child to school with a Lunchable (I just heard the Internet gasp), but more often than not, he eats a “hot lunch” (code for I didn’t have time to pack him a Lunchable).

Pinterest mom looks good in yoga pants, works out in a fake gym with light bulbs that tan you without dangerous UV radiation.  She made them by hand with tiny crystals she harvested in the diamond mines of Sierra Leone.  Her house looks like a photograph from an interior design magazine and her custom built-ins under the staircase double both as a children’s playroom and as a command center for her Pinterest empire.  Most importantly, she has a label maker, and she knows how to use it.  My house looks like an episode of Hoarders meets F-5 tornado.

So, what are we less than average moms to do in a world where Pinterest makes ideas more accessible than hours in a day to bring them to fruition?  Well, as for me, I’m off to Kroger.  Halloween Double Stuf Oreos are half price this week.


I Need a Sister Wife

I’ve always been interested in the idea of the sister wife. No, I’m not a Mormon. No, I’m not advocating polygamy. No, I’m not needing a psychiatric evaluation. I am just simply pondering the idea of having an extra set of eyes and an extra set of hands to help accomplish the daily mundane tasks of life.  The mundane that can quickly pile up and paralyze.

We apple sauce-stained, sleep-deprived, zombie-like females are some of the most over worked, under appreciated humans on the planet.  We command a vast battalion of men and women, some under four foot tall with minds and wills of their own, on a daily basis.  We make beds, and we make lunches.  We clean dirty bodies, and we clean dirty houses.  We work mind numbing hours at actual work, and then come home to an entirely different sort of to do list.  We bandage knees.  We mend broken hearts.  We remove unidentifiable stains in hard to reach places.  We birth actual human beings like a scene from an alien movie.  And then we forget about it like it was a bad case of the flu.  We are the central command center for all the parts of this life that make it worth living.  Yes, we are that important.

Now, with all of that on our plates and more, every one of us could use a helping hand.  And that’s where the sister wife idea comes into focus.  We all have a good friend. A best friend even. One you can call at 4:30 in the morning with your worst news. But your BFF never says to you, “Call me with your worst news anytime day or night, AND I’ll come over and mop your floors while I listen.” No mere friend would agree to that arrangement. Oh, sure, those best friends we have, they have some long suffering ears, and boy, am I grateful, but sometimes I just need a friend who likes to sweep under refrigerators, preferably mine. Where is the line for that type of friend??  Exactly, they don’t exist.

Now I’m not ignoring the fact that having a sister wife would make things super awkward and strangely complicated at home, but I am saying that binding someone to your family in a semi-legal, semi-religious sort of way would commit said sister wife to the menial tasks that you hate the most, especially since she came second. She couldn’t opt out of laundry duty just because she felt like it or because friends don’t do that kind of thing.  Instead, you would be able to divide up all the household chores with her based on your least favorite tasks:

1. A home-cooked meal after a long day of work?  Sister wife.
2. Ironing clothes? Sister wife.
3. Spring cleaning? Sister wife.
4. Toilets in a house full of boys? Yes, definitely toilets. Sorry, sister wife.
5. Can’t finish grading that last set of research papers? No worries. Sister wife has a degree in English.

Now, I’ve thought long and hard about this. A sister wife could diffuse those tense stand-offs that happen from time to time in marriage. Imagine this. Wife loves Double Stuf Oreos.  Husband does too, usually as a late night snack. Sense her frustration level when wife finds the stay fresh seal only partially closed overnight, leaving her chocolate therapy hard and stale. A small marital spat erupts. This time, sister wife steps in with a calm, matronly tone while producing a new package of Double Stuf Oreos she picked up while doing the weekly grocery run. And what about when your child has inexplicably said your name 420 times in the past five minutes, and you can feel Space Shuttle Crazy Eyes is a go for launch, but just in the nick of time, sister wife enters with an even tone, “Yes, child. I can help you. Now, leave your mother alone for a little while. She needs to finish her spa treatment and bubble bath in peace.” Can you see it?

When you strip away all the negative cultural ideas about this practice, we women all know somewhere down deep inside that we would be better at being us with the help of a sister wife. We may have even conjured her in our minds. Mine is an older, sweet grandmotherly type. She possesses qualities that are a cross between the common sense of Alice on Brady Bunch and the street smarts of Mrs. Garret from Facts of Life.  Sprinkle in a touch of Aunt Bee’s culinary skills and a dash of her Southern charm minus the busybody.  There she is, ladies.  Can you see her?  Her name is Rhonda. And she comes complete with her own room off the garage.

I Just Don’t Understand

Yesterday, I taught the Class of 2015 John Donne’s “Meditation 17.” As I read those words, “No man is an island entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main,” I scanned my classroom. Some eyes shone knowingly, reflecting a shared understanding. Life has already been difficult. Others, open to accepting the wisdom written centuries ago, are blissfully unaware of what the road holds ahead. And no matter how much I want to, I can’t shield them from it. Still others, hoping to insulate themselves from any knowledge . . . at all, secretly work on breaking their record in Crossy Roads or check the latest “news” on Twitter. And you know what, all of those responses are appropriate. We’ve all been 17.

“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

I have tried in my life to understand why pain seems so prevalent. Why people that I care about suffer and hurt and face rejection. I have cursed it, spiritualized it, philosophized it, repressed it, even attempting, at times to ignore it. And yet, life moves forward and people I care about continue to find themselves in dark valleys, facing uphill climbs and wrestling with destiny. And I have come to an amazingly intellectual conclusion. I just don’t understand.

I know all of those things that might be filling your brain in this moment. There is a God. He is good. He works things for the good of those who trust Him with their hearts and their lives. He is close to the broken hearted. He binds up our wounds. He brings beauty from ashes. Pain teaches permanently. “Without contraries, there is no progression.” I got it. I also know the verses that accompany these truths. I have read them. I have memorized them. I have written them in emails, text messages and neatly tucked them inside cards of condolence. I got it. I just don’t understand.

And life carries on. And we do too. We carry on. And when one of those dark places emerges in the path, we simply show up. We sit beside our friends in the hospital, in the counselor’s office, in the church service, in the coffee shop. We put groceries on their doorstep. We hold their hands and we cook them dinner. We cry with them, we stand with them, and when they cannot go on, we go on for them. We stop talking and we start listening. We don’t make things okay. We aren’t in charge of that. The One who does understand, well, He is.

No, I just don’t understand. And that’s okay. Because I don’t have to. Not understanding is not the same thing as not trusting or not hoping. Not understanding is a simple admission that I will embrace my shared humanity and come alongside those who also don’t understand . . . until that day when all dark things will be burned away by the never ending light. We will know as we are fully known. But for now, we don’t. We just don’t understand.

Snow Day

I need a Snow Day.  Like a real snow falling from the sky, stacking up on the ground, sled worthy Snow Day.  Badly.  And yes, I capitalized “Snow Day” like it is a recognized national holiday.  Because in the world of education, it is.  In fact, snow days are the currency that fuel the economy of the long dark winter.  With no snow days comes the Great Depression.

Admittedly, I look forward to snow days more than the students I teach.  And, no, it is not because I hate my job, dislike kids, or endorse laziness.  Quite the contrary.   What I do like is unexpectedly sleeping in, waking up to a cup of coffee and leisurely catching up on morning television.  What I do like are the squeals of delight from my son when he realizes that a day of snowmen and sledding are ahead of him.  What I do like is when time stands still, and we are all forced to simply stop, putting those seemingly important tasks aside for the moment.  I like getting paid in my pajamas.

I can endure all of the negative stereotypes of the South in the snow.  The “bread and milk” dash, the quick calls from school boards just for a threat of inclement weather or an arctic blast of cold temperatures, the “mostly rainish” snow day call, the bus won’t start day, the pipe burst day, the electricity is out and we can’t feed the kiddies day, and the flash flood day are all okay with me.  I have no concern for those above the Mason Dixon Line who scoff at our inability to handle an act of God.  I didn’t choose to live in a place where the infrastructure is prepared for the advent of bad weather.  I live in Tennessee.  We know how to handle tailgate parties, country music festivals and blazing summer temps.    I positioned myself strategically in between a part of our country that embraces the cold snowy weather nine months out the year, and a part of the geography where snow is a statistical improbability.  I’m no dummy.

And for all of you sitting in your corner office on a snow day with a business as usual attitude, please leave your negative opinions and comments at the water cooler.  We know you don’t want our jobs.  You just want our vacations.

So, for now, I can hope and I can pray.  I can read the Farmer’s Almanac, analyze the cloud formations, and endure the inaccuracies of our local meteorologists.  I can put my pajamas on backwards, flush ice cubes down the toilet, and dance a jig before bedtime.  I can do it all in the hopes of that one early morning text message with the two words all teachers secretly add to their contracts each year:  SNOW DAY.

Good News

And darkness covered the deep.

The very air, heavy with anticipation, wages war with the earth’s atmosphere, holding the miraculous at bay, just for a few more moments. This fallen planet lowers its head in defeat. No end to human conflict. No answer for pain. Lions still hunt their prey. Serpents still sting. Defenseless. Destitute. Humankind forever subject to the gravitational pull on both body and soul, the death grip of sin constricting the spirit, holding hope hostage. Then, not too suddenly, the sibilant breath of angels’ wings whispers throughout the galaxies as the providential appointment with destiny arrives. The earth’s orbit shatters with the intensity of the spirit realm; the ground shifts in cataclysmic pulsations. Humanity shudders at the sudden collision. Eyes guarded against an unearthly light; faces bowed to the ground in utter submission. This is like no other experience in the realm of mortality. There are no words to frame this visitation. Only fight or flight. Breath quickens, pulses race . . . death, it is most certainly upon us.

“Fear not.”
“Fear not.”
“Fear not,” echoes through the universe, bringing a momentary cessation to sheer panic.

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news. . .
“Good news.”
“Good news.”

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be to all people.” The angel, in one proclamation erases all memory of pain and death from the whole of human history. In every land, in every tongue . . . all nations and tribes . . . from one corner of the globe to the other, prison doors burst open, sinners shake free from the shackles and stride with newly purchased assurance into the light of day. In one statement, the story comes all true . . . every individual strain from Genesis to Revelation finally blends in the one melodious symphony of re-creation, perfectly conducted by the Divine Maestro, in His own time and tempo.

The news of the coming of Jesus still brings peace to the conflict, healing to the sick, hope to the hopeless. His power is no less miraculous, the effects of His incarnation permanent and everlasting. His entrance on the human stage heralded by a small band of rag tags could never have foretold the pervasive influence He would have on every generation to follow. Forever since the angelic host sang of His coming, man cannot help but deal with Him, in one way or another.

And for this brief span of time and space, we are left to deal with the waning skirmishes of sin against the inevitable. Violence escalates, anger boils, frustration seethes. Riots, protests, war, terrorism, crime, injustice, all of which comprise sin’s arsenal, the last stand against the sheer potency of one word: Jesus.

Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news. News that will sustain us through the valley. News that will bind up our wounds. News that will protect us against the elements and soothe us in our grief. News that will light up the darkness, forevermore. Fear not.

Great Expectations

People will fall in and out of love with you all throughout your life.  Expectations rise.  Perceptions skew.  Attitudes sour.   Let’s be honest.  We know ourselves . . . every crack in the wall hidden by a pretty painting . . . every stain on the carpet covered by a well placed rug or an inviting couch.  It’s only a matter of time before someone accidentally bumps the vase to reveal the blemish hidden below.  When that happens, some people quietly place their hand over the stain in shared amusement at the fact that we really aren’t that much different.  Others, aghast with indignation, look away before we imprint our imperfection on their hearts.

It’s not in our nature to perpetually sustain the weight of someone else’s expectations for our life.  We can barely shoulder our own.  Most of us, unable to see ourselves objectively,  either creep stealthily in the shadows, waiting to be revealed for the fraud we feel we are or preen around in the light like we are something to behold, all the while trailing a torn piece of toilet paper from the bottom of our shoe.  It’s all smoke and mirrors, even on our best day.

And then the weariness.  The inevitable drain that comes when we are straining to manage our own images.  The inexplicable chess match that we are playing in our relationships, when all but those cherished few, will eventually arrive at checkmate.  And during those certain seasons of our lives, that betrayal can feel overwhelming . . . a rising tide of pain only playing by the rules of the moon.

Why do we place so much of our worth in the opinions of others?  Why do find ourselves emotionally shipwrecked when we fail to meet the unrealistic expectations of a friend?  Why do we consistently throw our anchor over the side of a sinking ship?  There is only one lighthouse in these shifting seas we call life.  There is only one who knows every crevice in our fractured hearts.  There is only one who turns our glaring imperfections into undeserved sufficiency.  No intentions or motivations miscalculated.  No games.  No fancy tap dances.  No pretense.  Just raw honesty and penetrating truth.  That’s what the relationship with our Father provides.  And  when we finally find eternal acceptance not in all that we are, but in all that we are not, we can navigate our human relationships with an unrelenting freedom.  We can re-arrange our furniture, re-hang our pictures on the walls and throw open our shutters.  Expectations are no more.  He has met them all.  Perfectly.