I see you on stage at the school play, or lighting the candles as an acolyte, or twirling through your dance recital and I know what it cost you to get up there and do that, and my heart is bursting for you. In this broken world, I want you to know that I don’t just see your brokenness—I see your beauty. Because we are all broken, we are just broken differently.
Why are we so good at “moving on,” but not quite so good at sitting and staying where it hurts? When I look at this world, the morning hasn’t come. I can’t quite wrest my heart out of the pain to move forward into joy…and that’s not just an okay response, it’s a biblical one. This isn’t the world God envisioned for us.
I wonder sometimes, when school (and chess) officials deem a growing girl’s outfit inappropriate, if they’ve forgotten to remember the part about “growing.” When my sons outgrow their clothes, people comment good-naturedly on their high-water pants or short shorts. When my daughters outgrow their clothes, they are body-shamed.
My nine-year-old son is terrified of roller coasters. Or, more accurately, my son is terrified of many things, “roller coasters” being only one entry in a long list of terror-producing entities. Roller coasters are notable here, not because they cause anxiety, but because, despite being petrified of them, my son also loves them.
We pray and chant and confess and lament, all the way to Good Friday…all the while still committing the same sins that made Good Friday necessary in the first place. Like the reveler who on New Year’s Day reaches half-awake for the coffee she has ostensibly given up, downing it before she remembers her resolution, we seem doomed to failure before we even try.
Bringing the Bible to life may seem like an insurmountable task. But Mark Burnett, producer of the popular reality series Survivor, and wife Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) committed to doing just that with The Bible, a 10-hour miniseries that debuted on History Channel on March 3. Their goal, Burnett explains, is to breathe fresh, visual life into the Bible’s grand narrative.
Then my 2-year-old got his arm stuck in my husband’s didgeridoo. The better part of an hour later, his arm was still stuck and the proverbial end of my rope was fraying fast. I was carrying him around with his arm wedged into a four-foot-long wooden cylinder, trying to reassure him that Mommy was going to find a way get him unstuck. Instead, Mommy came unstuck. Suffice it to say I did not pass the Philippians 4:8 test.
If you have a bed in your office, which I do—a crib, actually—then it’s not an office. I also have blocks, toy cars, a tent to play camping, a castle with two dragons, and about 700 stuffed animals. My home office, like those of so many work-at-home parents, is the hub from which I run all my many lives: worker, mother, wife, self.
Henrietta Lacks isn’t exactly a household name, but ask any scientist who works in any capacity with cells and cell lines, and HeLa is almost as ubiquitous as oxygen. That these ubiquitous, “immortal” cells came from somewhere—specifically, from an African American woman named Henrietta Lacks—is the story of this book, along with the stories of Henrietta’s family, friends, and the amazing HeLa cell line that lives on in cell culture labs around the world.