“Every day I walk by, the same man is there. His cigarette stained beard, weathered face, and baseball cap put his signature on the space. I wonder so many things about this man. Why doesn’t he work? How can he drink and smoke all day long everyday? What is his health like? How much does he actually drink? Is he happy with this life? What is his story?”

Then I realize I am jealous.”

* * * * *

I was amazed at the detail.

“Fantastic, Viv,” I oozed. “You put in so much detail. You even drew breasts, and you managed to capture the blood vessels in my eyes.”

“Well, I didn’t actually didn’t put in all the detail,” Vivian said. “I left out your wrinkles.”

* * * * *

WIth enough makeup, I think, with enough caffeine, articles,  sales, and good reviews, maybe my inside will match my outside and I’ll be enough. I’ll feel like I’m supposed to feel at this point, when everything is going my way, when people are talking about my book, when readers stand in line to get my name scrawled across a page, when I am a very. important. person.

* * * * *

I have a much harder time negating the experience of my fellow believers. This summer, I asked readers why they do and don’t pray, and, while a lot wrote about God’s silence and absence, many also wrote about their own personal experiences of God. No matter how rational my version of Christianity, I cannot bring myself to the point of thinking that someone else’s claim of a God-experience is invalid.

* * * * *

“No, the stuff that changes everything starts on the fringe, captures the imagination of a dozen, who bring along colleagues or friends, and then it’s a hundred and then…”

“Make whatever list you want: Twitter, Kiva, 500px, Pure Food and Wine, Jiro…  They all became hits without being anointed by the loud folks first.”

“Instead of cajoling your way into the spotlight, consider investing in the experience first.”

* * * * *

Somehow, in the process of this thing called “growing up,” we lose our edges. Some of us have others sand them off – “You must wear a suit.” “Don’t be such an idealist.” “That’s not really appropriate behavior for a mom.” Some of us rub them off themselves – “What will my kids think of me?” “I’ll never find a husband if I shave my head.” “This is just what you do when you’re in your 30s.”

* * * * *

Maybe your light is softer, a little wavering, but that doesn’t make it less, doesn’t diminish it’s importance. Dim is not a kind of failure. Fluorescent is not a kind of success. The truth is, we need it all, every degree of brightness, every small, flickering light.

* * * * *

One of the most striking things about the calling of Matthew is that we don’t read about him repenting, changing his political views, or doing anything to suggest he was willing to follow a Messiah before Jesus called him.

Jesus could have been inviting an unbeliever right into his band of followers. At the very least, he added a volatile member of the opposition party to his disciples.