Spotted

A couple of years ago, my hair started to change color. I would have welcomed this new reality if the result was a George Clooney salt n’ pepper look. Alas, my body decided that a series of randomly placed circles of white hair were more stylish.

I begged to differ.

Shortly after this radical hair metamorphosis, I remember standing in the shower and asking God if I should dye my hair to match its natural color. As the warm water rolled down my naked self, God (as he often does) poured out his own question in response:

Andy, can you accept this?

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Parsing Pleasure

A few years ago, as I strolled through my neighborhood on an autumn afternoon, I spied a business card on the sidewalk that arrested my attention. The card simply said:

I was planned for God’s pleasure.

I put the message in my pocket and brought it home. I placed the card next to my computer where it has stayed since. Even as I write this post, it stares at me daring me to believe it.

But I don’t often believe it.

How is it that God can find pleasure in my life when I take so little pleasure in it myself? What does it mean to enjoy your life when so much of it is full of pain and confusion?

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Hard Face, Soft Heart

During my third-grade year, Cabbage Patch Kid fever swept the country. Little girls (mainly) couldn’t get enough of these dolls with their hard faces and soft bodies. Each doll came with an official birth certificate with a name, and date and time of birth—details you could only discover when you purchased the doll and opened the package.

I remember when they released the first little boy Cabbage Patch Kid. I met him on a shelf at Kmart. He had curly, blond hair and (literally) rosy cheeks. He wore light brown overalls fringed with red. I didn’t know his name, but I had to have him.

In those days, Kmart had a layaway program—a bulwark against instant gratification. Basically, such a program allowed a person to set aside something they wanted to buy until they had sufficient funds to make the purchase. So, my eight-year old self marched the doll to the layaway department at the back of the store. And there he sat and waited for five months as I did extra chores for my parents and grandparents. With each window I cleaned, each floor I swept, each leaf I raked, I inched closer to him.

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