where the words have gone

I leave the words behind in discussion groups, formal and informal, large and small, flying fast, clarifying, arguing, people searching together for God and human flourishing, truth and the sacred, hard-fought individual identities and warm, enveloping communities all at once. It is exhausting. Here are my dearest hopes, my deepest beliefs, my memories of heaven and hell, we say to one another. It would be easy to armor up with arguments and proof-texts. It is hard to sit with another person.

The words are starting to go into papers short and long, on which my grades, and soon my career as an academic, will depend.

Grad school is a state of perpetual triage. You make mental files of your assigned books and articles.
Old and boring
Old and entertaining
New and vapid
New and world-altering
Important for class
Important for life
Important for future research interests
Read closely
Read with furrowed brow
Read with furious underlining and scribbling

The words are glimpsed in snatches during class discussions and long, long lectures. Bits of information, assumptions to question, reassurances to myself flit through my mind to share with you. Later, though, they’ve lost their luster and there are other things to be done.

The words are not alone anymore. Girl-at-desk, girl-in-solo-apartment now lives and studies with twenty-one beautiful souls spread across four floors, two study rooms, one kitchen and one piano. The words go to conversations of every kind that friends-roommates-classmates share. If there’s something to say, I can pop out of my room and blurt it at the nearest neighbor.

The words are in envelopes on their way to Syracuse twice, three times a week, because when long-distance hurts and there’s nothing left to be done between phone calls, I can at least send a gift in left-handed cursive. Maybe it doesn’t hurt less, but maybe it’s making the most. Maybe I could give some of the words to you, too, but they are our letters, and we don’t get to share so much these days.

I’m looking for the words. They are somewhere here in Boston. I’m finding the time to pay attention when they break in on me.

But the words don’t exist for some things.

The view from my bedroom roof.

from the roof

The incredible people with whom I share a home.

theo house

And the feeling of knowing you’re





Leave a comment


  1. Man, I love you. Thank you for occasionally sending some words my way.

  2. Janice Graves

     /  October 2, 2013

    Your blogs are so interesting. Where do you get the ideas?
    love the view from your window. and you.


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