Essays

Short personal, cultural, and journalistic essays for those on the margins of faith

Needing a Prescription to Live a “Normal” Life

Sitting at the kitchen island finishing homework, she catches me off guard with her concern. “Are you okay, Mom?” I ignore the question at first, hoping she doesn’t see me hide the white paper bag of antidepressants my husband brought…

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Ace, The Remarkable: Why My Son With Down Syndrome is Profoundly Human

Ace throws his hands above his head while the grown-ups and therapists sing “the people on the bus go up and down.” He bangs his hands onto the floor. This is his favorite moment of the week when the circle…

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Journeying with Depression and God

Living with depression feels like living in the midst of an ocean.  Depression feels huge, powerful, and unpredictable; calm at times, violent and destructive at others.  Depression hit for the first time when I was six.  It was a normal…

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Choosing a Therapist: Notes from the Trenches

After I wrote “Therapy for Beginners,” I received an email from a reader who had noted that my current therapeutic relationship wasn’t my first, and that my first therapist wasn’t a good fit. She asked me what I looked for…

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Lexicon

Habit led me down to the rocks—habit and Shannon’s elation, which would have dragged us to roiled water if custom hadn’t. The waves had drawn more of a crowd than mid-October normally sees, along with the tropic air whorled up…

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Rest

Instead of going to church on Easter weekend I drove south from Indiana into Alabama to camp with a friend in Bankhead National Forest. We pitched our tents in a plot at Brushy Lake Campground, where the lake, nestled within…

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Remember, You Are a Body

The film God Help the Girl, a musical drama of the band Belle and Sebastian, opens in a psychiatric hospital in Scotland. Eve, a budding songwriter, is being treated for anorexia and depression. In an early scene, her doctor shows…

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Everyone Needs Compassion

“They’re not that different from us,” I whisper to my middle child, the girl on my lap whose ponytail’s tickling my nose.   But she’s not so sure, so I introduce her to Lena, who likes art and wears a…

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The Problem of (Talking About) Pain

My friend died yesterday.   Grief sometimes has a way of wafting through the cracks of our chambers and lying in wait. A dark heaviness. A soundlessly creeping shroud that descends upon us and subdues our senses. An impenetrable presence…

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This Hurts. Where Are You?

Not long after the first anxiety attack, I stopped leaning on God for help.   Before I had a name for it, it was simply this strange, overwhelming force that took over like a flood of cold water. It was…

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