“Dear Ms. O’Connor”: On Writing Letters to Flannery


  "If you want your faith, you have to work for it. It is a gift, but for very few is it a gift given without any demand for equal time devoted to its cultivation." - Flannery O'Connor, writing to college freshman, Alfred CornAlfred Corn was nineteen at the time. A freshman ostensibly majoring in French literature, Alfred found himself in a spring semester English class at Emory University. Along with his classmates, he was intrigued, if not entranced, with the … [Read more...]

The “Bright Side” of Funerals for the Young


 It was nearly time. Chuck's funeral would start in a few hours and it wouldn't be easy. The circumstances that brought me to this day were described in my previous post (Late Flowers for a Friend - Lamenting Chuck's Death). Now the reality was setting in. The funeral for a forty year-old. With a fiance and two children. With a living father, mother and stepmother. With a younger sister - now become an only child. It was nearly time. But not yet.I took the day off from clinic. … [Read more...]

Late Flowers for a Friend – Lamenting Chuck’s Death


It came to me in a series of texts. Three classic Iphone beeps to be exact. Clearly, someone had a longer message for me, but it would have to wait. At the time, I was roomed with a patient removing sutures from his foot. The sutures were deeply buried and required that I pull them a bit harder to access the loop that needed to be cut. Going deep can be painful. But if you don't go deep, you risk leaving suture behind and forming a nidus for infection. You risk an abscess. We both knew it, the … [Read more...]

God’s Extras


Extras. That's what it was called. It was a simple enough title and premise. Between 2005 and 2007, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (the bright minds behind the original British series, The Office) created, wrote and acted in this clever and discomfiting series about a pathetic actor, his dim-witted actress friend and his hapless agent. The aspirations of these three were simple and naked. They wanted to make it big in the acting industry. They wanted to strike it rich. No longer did they … [Read more...]

The Bittersweet Life in the Trenches


 "Remember, Tod, life is in the trenches." - DadI remember it quite clearly when he said it. And it hit me hard.┬áMy dad was sitting across the table from me at a Burger King. My stepmom was sitting next to him. We had just walked away from a Sunday church service that was the culminating event of a weekend non-denominational retreat known as "Teens Encounter Christ". While I had always heard good things about this retreat, my personal experience was simply stunning. From Friday … [Read more...]

A Lullaby from God: My Lunch with Bruce Springsteen


Lunch was about to begin. And I was hungry. Working in an internal medicine clinic, I cherish the opportunity to leave the stresses and concerns of patient care behind for an hour and commune with my dearest friends. Within ten minutes, three or four of us are packed in a car en route to our regular haunt to eat. Our initial conversation is peppered with towel-snapping humor and self-deprecating stories. However, within a short time we invariably find ourselves exploring issues of faith and … [Read more...]