Mixed feelings over mixed messages

Dear Hope Nation, There’s no accounting for taste. Once every week or so, I devote this letter to quotations on various subjects. Some of you absolutely love the respite from news about Hope or thoughts on recovery. I’ve gotten many emails and seen some Facebook posts filled with gushery over these letters. On the other…

One of three - Stream or Ocean

Dear Hope Nation, Part One of Three My most interesting conversations take place at recovery meetings of one flavor or another. Last night I was involved in a discussion with another guy about water—not about drinking water, not about water rights, not even about its composition. (Because we are both roughly educated men, we knew…

Dear Hope Nation, Another day, another two broken windows. Another day, another senseless attack. Another day, another chance to experience anger and sorrow. Another day, another opportunity to practice serenity. God, grant me Reinhold Niebuhr, the American theologian, wrote Moral Man and Immoral Society, one of my favorite books in seminary. The basic thesis is…

Overwhelmed (to tears) by a Work of Art

Dear Hope Nation, To quote Joel Goodson in “Risky Business” (or at least the bowdlerized over-the-air television version), “Sometimes you just gotta say, ‘What the heck.’” This, for me, is one of those moments. After all, it’s not often I have tears streaming down my face. I am so incredibly overwhelmed by a work of…

Not Much for Nostalgia

Dear Hope Nation, A friend of mine asked me to write about what I miss most about the Land of Before. Although not a Biblical scholar by any stretch, during this time I feel like a Jew wandering in the wilderness before being led to Israel. As I try to get through each moment with…

On Mothers Day

Dear Hope Nation, [This is a Choose Your Own Adventure letter with a twist. If you’re of a certain age, you remember this series of books. You’d begin a narrative and at an exciting part, you’d have to make a choice. For instance, “If you want to explore the cave, Turn to Page 87. If…

Magic is time, not place.

Dear Hope Nation, Magic is a time and not a place. Forty years ago, I was finishing up my four-year hitch in the Army. After having been stationed in Germany for 30 months, I spent my last year at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. I’d been off heroin for a couple years, my drinking was occasionally…

The Apostle of Art: Dave Cote

Dear Hope Nation, I am not an artist but I love to paint, love the feeling of moving colors around on a canvas, love the accidental sprouting of beauty from even my ham-handed efforts, love the moment I discard my effort by declaring it finished. If we were talking about chess, instead of painting, I…