The Face Recognition Game

Pretend for a moment that a woman who vaguely resembled Condoleezza Rice had once been in love with the spitting image of a youthful Bill Gates, what if they met years later, at a cafe, perhaps in a train station, people going from here to there in a hurry, what would they say to each other, would they recognize their former selves in the people they had become? Would she touch his face tenderly? Regret the years which came between them? Or would they just pass each other by, as though someone else’s face had been taped hastily across

All they had been together?

Pruning Time

Whoa! There are a lot of saints in February

How many do you recognize? I looked them up not because of Valentine’s Day. An experienced gardener once told me to prune my roses on a feast day in February. I think the 17th…

Sea’s birthday is the 16th. Time marked by anniversaries. Winter haunts.

Jesus rebukes the hypocrites for useless traditions–

Mark 7:9-10 (NIV)
And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! [10] For Moses said, `Honor your father and your mother,’ and, `Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’

My erstwhile adoptees were cursers. I would point this admonition out to them. I understand that they never “got” the umbilical bond of love. I even “got” why. They were lost from the beginning. They needed to feel love and when it wasn’t there the whole world went dark for them.

The cost of light is consuming.

But I believe in a Rescuing God.. He’ll get them. Because He loves them. Because He paid. Because He sees their faces from when they were babies lost in the world.

His beautiful lullabies.


There is something I want to put in this box
A new year
An old debt
Things tangled like a net
Dresses I should sew
Miles I should run
When this sadness is the warm blanket

Remind me why
There are no pictures in this house
Nothing so permanent as you.

Always you.

I almost

I see men who resemble you often. Like really close. Sometimes their wives resemble your wife. Sometimes the kids are even close.

Last weekend the impatient fruit seller was a dead ringer for H. H, who is also impatient with me.

I am afraid.

I almost call mom a few times. Just to say

I love you.

Ironically, even if I shouted it in German she would probably still understand.

Ich liebe dich!!!

What stops me is this terrible memory–a night in late summer, an infant and a toddler both held in my arms as I face an unknown accuser.

We now know it was mom. But then all I can think is–

what if they make me stay away from my babies?

I am jittery with an irrational fear. Because mom reported me when M kept running away.

M abused me, mom reported me as the abuser.

And she taught me that all the money in the world was not worth the risk. The labyrinth of her mind.

So I tell my kids about my fear. I tell them about my year in China and the million ways God took care of me.

Then I think of you. You standing on the bus, towering over the Chinese men, like you were their oversized parent or some strange incarnation of Snow White among the post-Maoist dwarves.

Overshadowing them.

Or how stingy and mean I was to you–making you climb the Great Wall with me but refusing you soda for water.

I should have got you the coke.

And while I can see us there together like an old woman watching a perfect movie about her own life…

The truth is I have lost you. Lost you so long ago I wonder if you were ever real.

When did you stop being real?

Seeing Ghosts

The hotel is the same
The furniture is different
The name has changed
But the steps

In the pool where the babygirl
Hurt her foot
Are the same.

I remember

The way the road snakes around
Hills/river oaks
I once ran up and down
But don’t remember
How old her little sister was or
The specific children
Who trailed violence in their wake

We have all gotten
Old since then.

The burned down house

A friend posted a picture of her former house, razed to the ground. It is a stark picture of the power of fire and destruction. So sad because it represented the lives lived within it.

Still. No one was hurt. No one lost their lives. It could have been worse?

I wrote for Yahoo! Contributor Network because I wanted to keep children safe. As the mother of rape victims I was aware of the devastating aftermath of sexual assault. I was also aware of how pervasive images of sex and pornography in our culture hurt our children.

So you can imagine how devastating it was to find out that Yahoo video searches render explicit images of pornography on ordinary searches.

I have contacted Yahoo repeatedly about this problem and the lack of a functioning filter. They have sent me automatic responses but have not fixed the problem.

How sad that a company with such power for good would not make efforts to keep children–and all of us, safe from the dehumanizing effects of human exploitation.

I write this here because they declined to publish my words on YCN.


When S was little she loved Elmo. We did not get PBS on tv so we watched DVDs. I always associate Elmo with her babyhood.

The first time someone talked about her being “damaged goods” because she was a sexual assault survivor I was knocked back. In a country where women are paid and applauded for nudity, a little girl’s non-consensual abuse would make her “damaged goods?!”

Children are hurt, wounded, violated, and robbed by sexual abuse

But they are not damaged goods. Ever.

What damages us all most is when we hand the abuse of children over to the wolves and refuse to speak out and fight for the dignity and safety of every little girl who once loved Elmo.