The Gifted Young Professional

In the summer of 1981, when I was clerking at the Wise Carter law firm in Jackson, Mississippi, and living at my grandmother’s house, I walked the five blocks to my job in downtown Jackson. Pedestrian commuting was not the rule in Jackson, but my other option was to drive Bigmama’s 1965 land shark Cadillac, fondly known as “Big Blue.“ At that time,...

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Lent 2021: Update

It’s really interesting. Most Lents, my disciplines don’t come easy. I have to be very intentional about observing them. After a bit, they will become a new habit, but it takes a while. This Thumb Prayer discipline is different. As I talked about last week, this Lent I’m working on Thumb Prayers each day. Each day,...

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No More Giving Up

This is the way it goes: Christmas, Epiphany, Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras Day, Ash Wednesday, Lent. We are now in the 40 days of Lent. (This is a religious calendar, but life in New Orleans revolves around it; there’s a season of Mardi Gras for a reason). This year, I’ve made a hard shift on Lent, one many of you might disagree with. Traditionally,...

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I Love You

I see you looking at my mask with disdain. You think I’m a coward, afraid of getting a virus that is no worse than the flu. One that probably doesn’t even exist, anyway. And if it does, masks sure don’t work. I’m just being a sucker.  I envy you the freedom to believe that way. I’m jealous of your luxury of theory because you’ve known no...

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Time is and was: 2020 into 2021

Do you believe in what might have been? How about what was and is again? Do you believe in that? Multiple strands of time, I’m talking about, so that, in what might have been, the twin boys I longed for in my first life—King and John Powell—are nearing thirty years old. Brown-headed handsome young men. It could have happened, if I hadn’t...

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When a White Woman Accuses a Black Man

He was a writer, a man I’ll call Jonathan. Jonathan was in writing group with me one hour before he was accused of having snatched a purse from a woman on the street, a felony even though the purse had less than $10 in it. I told the investigators that Jonathan had just left writing group when this crime supposedly occurred; there was no way...

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Christians Leave Trump in Droves

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church condemned it. Trump “used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes. This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or to heal us,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in a statement. The Episcopal Bishop of Washington...

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That Which Soothes When All Begins to Crumble

Though I welcomed—after our terror subsided—the stillness of our shelter-in-place life, we who had been circling and circling for years, the last few days I have felt as if I might crumble, my “dust to dust” having become friable, my feet of clay exposed, a descending that was not helped when the priest who understood me and yet encouraged...

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Doing Church

As the service began, I was agitated. My husband and I had seated ourselves in our chairs, he in his overstuffed armchair, me in my rocking chair. I had set up my laptop on a folding table with the volume up. He followed along on his iPad. I was in real clothes and jewelry. He was in his t-shirt and shorts. Every Sunday since sheltering-in-place...

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The Poignancy of Christmas

My brilliant older sister chooses a theme every Christmas. On Christmas Day at dinner, we go round the table and each person says what the theme means to them. We have done this since her daughters (now married or engaged) were too young to hold a knife. She—my older sister—also does a birthday cake for Jesus, ties red ribbons all over the house,...

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