defy the night

Heather's new novel, Defy The Night, came out recently. She finished work on it during her pregnancy. It's a continuation of the story (begun in How Huge The Night) about a family in unoccupied France early in WWII, in a town that helped many Jewish children escape the Nazis. This book focuses on the daughter and her efforts to help children in the internment camps set up in France.

It's fiction, but inspired by actual events. The story of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon can be found here.


"beholding your likeness"

“When I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.”

When the boy is waking up, he’s often confused and a little scared at first. What seems to calm him down right away is seeing Heather’s face, or mine. We usually get a smile right away. I thought of that when I read this line in Psalm 17.

I’ve had a hard time waking up lately too. A feeling of futility makes it hard to get out of bed and face the day. Maybe it’s partly this cold, hard winter that has seemed endless. And partly frustrations and lack of progress in much of my efforts and the efforts of people around me. So I’m encouraged by the idea of looking elsewhere, finding satisfaction elsewhere.

I remember putting together a meditation years ago based on the story of Jesus inviting Peter to walk with him on the water. Central to the story is Jesus telling Peter to focus on him, rather than the wind and waves, the hopeless situation all around. When Peter kept his eyes on Jesus’ face, he could take a step forward.

In the New Jerusalem Bible, that line in the psalm reads, “when I awake I shall be filled with the vision of you.” I like that even better. It’s not just a matter of being comforted, but also of being filled, changed. The other part of my meditation came from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another.”

I do think it’s important to feel the futility of our efforts from time to time, feel how small we are in the darkness. It helps us look away from ourselves (and our little communities) to seek out the only face that can satisfy us.


my puppy

I've been meaning to mention my other linux operating system, Puppy Linux. It's tiny, just 150MB total. It can be booted from a flash drive and run completely in RAM if necessary, no hard drive needed. And it runs very light—I've been using it on our 12-year-old Thinkpad X24 (with just 256MB RAM). This laptop would be dead without Puppy.

And it's free, built by enthusiasts who are glad to see others enjoy their achievements. It has a very active support forum too, where I've found lots of help and tips from others who are glad to share their expertise (some of it quite extensive) and software they've written.

There are lots of varieties of Puppy Linux. I've heavily edited the one I use, so it's pretty unique. It's really been enjoyable learning about how computers operate and seeing how well I can make it run and how nice I can make it look:

These are thumbnails, click to view larger. The theme is Owl Light. And the icon set is called Faenza. These were offered free also...


foreseeing fatherhood

I just came across this letter I wrote ten years ago. A good reminder, and I'm glad to see I haven't been pushed away from this over the last ten years:

I wanted to respond to this interesting paragraph: "I do have my hesitations here when it comes to raising children. ...you must shelter; you must protect your children from some people. You can offer your own self, but I doubt very much God would ask you to put your kids at risk. ...I'd want to be darned sure it was God talking before I'd put my kids in harm's way."

I certainly agree with the "I want to be darned sure it's God talking" part. Of course I want to be darned sure it's God calling when I risk my own life, too. But the concern will be much more when it starts to include others as well (especially those I care for as much as I would my own children). The risk and challenge is multiplied a thousandfold, I agree.

I'm not so sure about the "must shelter, must protect" part, though. Or the (implied?) idea that "normal" life is less risky for kids (depending on what kinds of risks we're considering). Our children's lives are always at risk, I'm sure you realize that. I would think parenting also teaches how incapable we are to shelter and protect our children completely, or even as much as we want to. It's simply too much for us. I think that's something God means to teach us through the experience of being a parent. We cannot do what must be done. I think the news clipping you sent is a good example of this [a girl fell into the water and father died trying to save her but was unable—rescue workers found her unconscious and revived her].

Our kids rely on us—but hopefully we know enough to not rely on ourselves. We have to rely on God, and let our kids provision and protection rest on God's shoulders. If we do not, the only options I see are a life of fear/despair or complete delusion.

Which brings me to "I doubt very much God would ask you to put your kids at risk." Certainly God does allow all of us (including children) to be at risk. Risk is not bad when it helps us towards faith. But I agree that God loves our children even more than we do and is ultimately concerned with their care and safety. So why would I not trust him to provide for them just as well (or better) than he has provided for me? Is he not able? Has he not promised to do so? Do I really need to take things back into my own hands if I get married and have children (because the risk is just too great)?

God provided abundantly for Jesus (whose example I'm trying to follow). But not just for him alone. God also provided for twelve others that lived with him. How is this different from having a family with me?

I like your questions. Several others have not asked questions, but rather have told me that family is impossible while living the way I do (or the way Jesus did). But I'm getting the distinct impression that it's not so much me that they are concerned with, but themselves. Justifying and excusing themselves. Because if following Jesus this way is incompatible with marriage, then as married people they are excused. Or they are justified in their compromises because of the duty and demands of parenting. This is beginning to anger me. Because, to justify and excuse themselves (bad enough) they are throwing a hindrance, a temptation, in my way. And in Heather's way. Very bad.

I don't see you doing this, though. And I am grateful for your sharing and concern. I just hope in this discussion we can be guided by faith and not just by what we see (2 Cor 5.7).

So far so good. Our latest little surprise came when we noticed that the boy has almost outgrown his car seat (an expensive item). Within a couple days a friend asked us, out of the blue, if we needed one. Her daughter's the same age, born the day before Ian, but her mother insisted on buying them another car seat that would fit the base in her car. And it turns out their old one is good for an extra ten pounds—that should hold him for a while...