On Mutual Fear, and Veiled Women Telling Their Stories: The Iraq Journals, Part 2

The road in Jordan. The drive from Amman, Jordan, north to the city of Mafraq (also in Jordan) is a journey from the (vaguely) familiar into the foreign. Amman, at first glance, is a modern city, but as you drive north, the streets begin to fade, turning gradually [...]

By | May 3rd, 2017|Faith and Doubt, Travels Near and Far|Comments Off on On Mutual Fear, and Veiled Women Telling Their Stories: The Iraq Journals, Part 2

Welcome to the Middle East: The Iraq Journals, Part 1

It’s Friday morning at 2am and jet lag has turned my head into a solid block. I’m still nursing a strange, low-grade fever and a distant sort of headache. The house is quiet. I got home from Northern Iraq a little over 24 hours ago. There are things I will [...]

By | May 1st, 2017|Travels Near and Far|1 Comment

Further Thoughts on Going to Iraq (or, God is not Here)

Poppy at her first Maundy Thursday service, her sisters washing her feet. We walked the six blocks to Saint James on Good Friday, the sun shining, a spring breeze chasing us along the sidewalks. I pushed the double-stroller – occupants varying in combination between Poppy, Leo, Sam, and [...]

By | April 18th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Faith and Doubt, Identity|2 Comments

“Live a Little More Beautifully and Dangerously, as Christians Should”: Some Thoughts on Going to Iraq

A normal night in the Smucker household. When Father David said what he said on Sunday morning, I immediately grabbed the pen my daughter was drawing with and scribbled his quote at the top of my bulletin. “Hey!” she hissed in quiet protest. Lucy and Cade looked over [...]

When a Passenger Might Have Thought I Was Going to Kill Her #RideshareConfessional

Photo by Dogoff Zambrano via Unsplash I always try to remember to confirm a passenger’s destination before pulling away from the curb. When a girl climbed into the car a few days ago, I said the name of the street she was going to. “Yep,” she said, putting [...]

By | March 30th, 2017|Ridesharing Confessional|1 Comment

Someone Died on Our Street

Photo by Krista Mangulsone via Unsplash Two or three nights a month, I'll wake up at an ungodly hour and see blue lights flashing against our white window blinds, a rhythmic beating, like the inside of a vein, or a party light. But, because it's happened so many [...]

By | March 29th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Identity|1 Comment

The Man With the Teardrop Tattoo #RideshareConfessional

Photo by Reza Shayestehpour via Unsplash The rider canceled once, but I kept driving in their general direction because sometimes people cancel their ride request accidentally, or sometimes they want to try to get a driver who's closer but it’s just not going to happen, so I try [...]

By | March 28th, 2017|Ridesharing Confessional|Comments Off on The Man With the Teardrop Tattoo #RideshareConfessional