It’s just after 10 AM as I watch another tram approach the city center, wondering if this is the one that holds the little sister I haven’t hugged in two months. It stops about 15 meters (meters!) from where I’m standing, and even though I can’t see her face, she’s easy to spot through the window: the navy blue hat with the ear flaps and the pom-pom on top, a bold, yellow AMSTERDAM printed all the way around it. Our Dutchie friends mailed it to Topeka, Kansas four years ago, in another life. Her head swivels abruptly, and suddenly I’m looking at her face: eyebrows raised, jaw slack, eyes wide, that classic and comical expression indicating total lack of comprehension. I’ll learn later that she’s slept for most of the two-hour bus ride, only waking because of an exodus of passengers at her stop. For now, though, I’m laughing, because the whole combination – that look, the little pom-pom, the spastic head turn – makes her look like an excitable, confused six-year-old; she has no idea what’s going on and is utterly surprised by her surroundings. She doesn’t see me, so I wave and try not to laugh too hard. Her head whips around again and she’s on her feet, disappearing from view. She looks calm when I see her next, sauntering around the back of the tram and down the median, clearly trying to be nonchalant but not quite suppressing a mischievous grin. “Look at us in Europe together,” she says, shaking her head as she throws her arms around me. I haven’t stopped laughing since I saw the hat.

Her face is perfect.



3 thoughts on “gracie.

  1. Hello Megan, its John again. I just read that thing in the New Yorker about you. Ok, here’s one: do you (or C.G) like The Shins? How about Elliot Smith (his later work where he double-tracked his voice)? How about Low (before they released Drums and Guns)? How about The Libertines? How about Nick Drake? …a bit too English? How about that old fashioned Simon and Garfunkle? Yes, S&G, you heard me right.

    Well, I was just wondering, as I read that C.G got you interested in Blind Pilot.

    I don’t listen to music anymore, and don’t encourage it either. However, I think music can affect people’s mood a lot, and when two people like the same bands, there’s a strange connection. I remember listening to Elliot Smith once on a train, and the guy opposite said, “Is that Elliot Smith?” and I recommended Nick Drake, and there was instantly this connection.

    Well, all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose, and God gave me those experiences for a reason. Now, it just so happened that the New Yorker article really made me sad. I thought, watching those documentaries all those years ago, that one thing WBC had wrong was its attitude to everybody outside. Its lack of empathy, its tone, which is so very important, all of which is contradicted by scriptures.

    But most of all I was disheartened to see your attitude to the Bible, if indeed I can glean anything from the article about it (its quite hard as the article didn’t seem realistic at points). Why on earth would you question the scriptures when it was a violation of the scriptures that the church was committing, which got you so angry and upset? Surely this helps to prove the legitimacy of the scriptures, which are quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword. Jesus got most angry at religious hypocrites, and where your church was being hypocritical, this is what upset you the most. Surely this speaks to how apt the word of God is at speaking to the human experience, how rightly Jesus identified the sins of mankind.

    Some of your questions are easily resolved. For example, your question over the Koran, which is even described by atheists as a major work of plagiarism. My dear, have you ever read it? Try it. Read it through. If you don’t know the meaning of dull, you will soon. Its so obviously and clearly not God’s word, that it is a wonder anyone who has ever read the Bible would even consider it to be so. The Muslims say that you can’t appreciate it fully unless you read it in the original Arabic, and all I can say to that is, they must be right, for in English it is repetitive and dull.

    Another point you brought up, as I recall, was how someone who is dead in trespasses and sins can know that they are. But of course, they can’t. Only someone who is intelligent can know things. Someone unintelligent cannot. It is God who gives intelligence, and you’ll know it when you get it, and before you get it, you’ll never know. You may always wonder if you have it, and that is because you don’t. You may, if you go from bad to worse, as the scriptures say, become arrogant and think, in your ignorance that its better not to be so certain. But when the clear principles of knowledge are laid before you, it is impossible to reject them in any reasonable way. The truth that questions like, “why is there something rather than nothing?” can only be answered by an infinitely powerful being, ultimate in its reality and nature, and that such an answer is more intellectually satisfying than not having an answer, which is what the atheist has (i.e. no answer), is manifest. Why isn’t there just *nothing here*? This question has an answer we can conceive of, and it only has one answer. The following truth that everything that is limited must be of God, through God and for God just flows from that.

    So if these are true, then look around you for a religion that accepts these ideas and see if you can find one. The Sunni Muslims believe in free will. They say god looked down the corridor of time to see what people would choose of their own free will, and then he predestined the choices he wanted to predestine. So god, in this conception, responds to our own free will. But any knowledge of the ultimacy of God must mean that God is the cause of all that happens, not the responder.

    What I’m trying to get at is, you won’t find one. Buddhism denies that there must be an infinitely powerful creator from whom all things originate. Hinduism believes in free will. Judaism believes in free will. Catholics believe in free will. Sam Harris does not, but he denies the need for a God. He can’t answer the question of why anything exists, whereas believers can. We have an answer, and one that makes sense. They have nothing. They can’t make sense at the most fundamental level, in reality, of anything in existence.

    There is only one (google it to check) religion in history that has held to the most fundamental truths about the reality of the universe, and shown that they understood those truths (for example, by not lapsing into fatalism like the stoics, or thinking that the being that determined everything would be uninterested in it – whereas it is obvious that if there were a being that determined everything, it would be interested in ALL of it).

    The Bible captures those truths. It gives us wisdom! Read its pages and see. Taste that the Lord is good. It doesn’t give us the hypocrisy that man gives us. It doesn’t give us the fundamental contradiction that the atheists hold to. It gives us the truth. And the Lord Jesus, the maker of the universe, said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”


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