Yesterday I was walking around my favorite spot in Charlottesville (TJ Parkway...there are trails up to Monticello or Carter's Mountain, views of the gorgeous VA mountains, and the promise of many puppies being taken on walks there, so it's pretty wonderful) and thinking about how it is important, to have places you can just get up and go to and feel like nothing in the world can touch you.

Whether or not it's a comfy rock on the edge of a river or the comfy corner spot on the couch in your living room, I think we should build sanctuaries for ourselves in life. We should have that place where we can go and seek God in a silent and beautiful place and strip off our days and our worries and just rest. Or where we can pray and seek and struggle off on our own, in our own little spots of wilderness where we are amazed at how beautiful the world is and how blessed we are to be a part of it.

Finding a sanctuary is a good thing. And being brave enough to go there to encounter that version of yourself that is totally void of your masks and worldly fronts - that's a good thing too.

does his new song prove that all things get better with age?

Justin Bieber - like fine wine or cheese? Or like that Thai food that was left forgotten on my fridge shelf and grew psychedelic mold? You decide.

My housemates and I are in the throes of deep philosophical discussion about his new sound. I personally find this new single "Boyfriend" to be catchy...thoughts?

Taylor Swift likes to sing about cars

exhibit A "so baby drive slow, 'til we run out of road"

and B "I was riding shot gun with my hair undone..."

and C "I watched you laughing from the passenger side"

and D "I see your face in my mind as I drive away"

and E "he's got a car and you feel like flying"

and F "you're in the car on the way to the movies"

and G "I hate that stupid old pick-up truck you never let me drive"

and H "and we drive and rive until we found a town far away..."

and I "he opens up my door and I get into his car"

and J "just a boy in a Chevy truck"

and K "there in my rearview mirror disappearing now"

and L "oh I remember you driving to my house in the middle of the night"

...just in case anyone was wondering.

on direction

I think one of Jesus' favorite things to pull out of his sleeve is to give us really simple answers to really complicated questions.

For example: Thomas asks a question of Jesus in John 14 that I think is really complicated. He says, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

I read that today and immediately thought that Thomas must have been giving a prophecy of my current prayers, which sound a lot like, "Jesus, I don't know what you're doing or what you're going to do, and I have no idea what the next year of life will be how am I supposed to do anything? How can I do anything when I don't know the way?"

Here's how Jesus responds to Thomas.

"I am the way."

To which I want to say, "really, Jesus? That's what you've got? To the big question of what to do with my life and where I should live next year and what paths I should pursue and all my cries for knowledge that I just want you to freaking give me so I don't have to feel like I'm walking around blindfolded in the dark? You don't have anything more?"

And he doesn't.

Of course, in the context of that passage there is much more happening. Because the way Jesus is headed is toward the cross, which ultimately is a very complicated place he begs us to come and die. But for the sake of what I was feeling today, and I think also for the sake of a doubting Thomas, that answer was very simple.

We are not called into knowledge. We are not called to be able to draw out a map of where we are headed with perfect precision and clarity. We are called only into the depth and length and height and breadth of the love which is Jesus Christ, who is all the road-map we need.

a poem from last week's Nica trip


Flying home from your country
our plane is horizontal to the moon,
which has never happened to me before
in this way, feeling eye-level,
that something would kneel down for me
which was already almighty and placed
where it belonged,

but it makes me think of my knees
pressed against the floor of your church
out in the hottest, dustiest middle of
nowhere where I looked at you,
our eyes resting along the same horizontal plane,
and told you that you meant something,
and that your life was bigger than you
had been told it could be,
being so young and so hungry all the time,
which can make someone feel small.

Your name, which sounds like "honey"
said with a laugh or marbles in your mouth,
is sticking to me, even as the moon
flees from the window of this plane
and is not almighty enough to stick

around like you will,
or that moment when you wrapped arms
around my waist, I kissed your hair,
with my eyes falling across the perfect space
to see the glue hanging from your skirt pocket

and held you, nine-years-old,
so young and so hungry
that I felt less than a speck,
and very small.