The Red Couch: Once We Were Strangers Introduction

Those of us who want to serve others like programs and events. They have defined timelines and expected outcomes. We get to show up and give money or time to a cause. And then we get to walk away. Reading Shawn Smucker’s memoir Once We Were Strangers, I was reminded of the time my “program” of […]

Learning to Live in the Incomplete

“You just can’t see it yet like I can,” she said, gesturing toward the kitchen counter she promised would boast a pantry big enough for all our needs once the project was finished. She was right; all I could see was the room of storage boxes and suitcases, tools and paint cans piled high in […]

My Need to Belong

The wounds I learned to operate from early on in life were the ones that screamed, “You don’t belong. You’re not enough.” It sounds ridiculous. I come from a stable middle class white American family; I should have always known where I fit. Yet I don’t remember a time when I didn’t feel like I’d […]

My Stones of Remembrance

For someone with a love of simplicity and order, I own an excessive amount of trinkets. A few weeks before our departure from South Asia, I packed some of them in a suitcase to send back with a friend returning to the United States. I lovingly wrapped the items as I pondered the most important things […]

The Waters of Liberation

I’ve lived on the banks of a river that is the stuff of legends—those storied waters that cradled civilization and was the bridge between life and death for the ancients. It is obvious why Egypt is called “the gift of the Nile” once you spend a couple months in the sandy, dry heat. No life […]