You know how you meet people sometimes who seem to burrow into a them-sized spot in you and just kind of set up residence there?  It’s like that spot had just been waiting for them…  Well, such a thing happened three years ago in Toronto, when Ben (aka. Prof) arrived on my doorstep with one of my favorite people, Chance.  (The latter, by the way, has been a permanent resident of his Chance-sized spot for quite some time already!)  Now, I’ve got to admit that Prof and Chance burrowed into much more than my affection and loyalty during their 9-day stay in my Big Blue house on Skopit Road!  They burrowed into my fridge, into my car, into my back yard (dead leaves and candles were involved) and into my growing concern.

At the time, Ben was a happy, outgoing, fun and utterly enjoyable young man whose determined flight from God had led him into a life that was as momentarily gratifying as it was desolate and empty.  I remember sitting around a steak dinner one night–one midnight, to be precise…I was making amends for a bad attitude they probably hadn’t even noticed, you see.  It was a couple of days before they were to leave, and I felt a weight inside my spirit, a weight that had been growing since their arrival, getting heavier and harder to bear with every honest conversation and every glimpse of darker truths beneath the gilded (and not-so-gilded) surface.  I’d known Chance for several years already and was accustomed to the love and concern that blended into weightiness whenever he came to mind.  But I’d only known Ben a handful of days.  Still, his bold rejection of anything related to religion or to the God he used to know filled me the kind of pain that is indescribable in words.  I yearned and grieved and broke for them both.  And on that night, for the first time I could remember, I wondered if my hope was misplaced, unfounded or simply stupid.  But I couldn’t let the doubt linger for long–there is too much sorrow in it.  Hope, as futile as it may seem, is a lighter load to carry…so I resolved that night, for those two boys and others in my life, to hope and love and hope and love and hope and love and hope and love.  And Hope.  And Love.  It’s all I know to do…

The Ben who came to visit with his brother this week is a much different young man than the one I knew in 2004.  He is brighter, lighter, gentler, more hopeful, purposeful and, quite simply, beautiful.  God has done in his life the sort of redemptive work I briefly doubted was possible during that Toronto visit…and I am shamed to have even momentarily wondered if such a miracle were within His power.  Ben represents God’s promise to me that hope is never futile…because He never rests in His pursuit of those He loves in an unfathomable way, much better and more deeply than I ever could.  Redemption, for Ben, was not a reluctant submission to the greater Power he’d resisted for so long.  Redemption came as an empowerment, a deepening, a brightening, a strengthening and a claiming of the hope and joy and beauty that is his through Christ.  He spoke to my choir on Tuesday and rattled the last strongholds of my doubt…  How privileged and sobered I feel today, the day after The Boys’ departure, to have witnessed such a miraculous “before and after”glimpse of Ben’s journey to faith…

On their last evening here, we drove into France to experience Colmar by night…which should really have been called “Colmar by frostbite” considering the arctic weather and lack of clothing the boys packed for the trip!  We had dinner in a fantastically hole-in-the-wall’ish restaurant to thaw a bit, then wandered back through town to the car.  Note to the travel-happy:  Colmar, Christmas market or not, is a must-see town well worth the effort of finding parking!

Prof and Mike left yesterday to continue their four-month journey around Europe and North Africa…by plane, train, scooter, hitchhiking, aching legs and, before long I’m sure, camelback!  After driving them to the train station this morning, it was back to school then off to the dorm for the traditional (and mis-scheduled) Thanksgiving dinner…  A wonderful, sweet evening that was just what this overworked, “under-slept” and stressed-into-oblivion lady needed.  Thank you, Storch, for being a home to me this year.  I’m so, so, so thankful for that gift.




  1. It is so hard to see friends and family reject God, but it’s even harder for God when his children reject Him. A few weeks ago, I did a study on the book of Hosea and was reminded that God loves my friends and family WAY more than I do and wants them to love Him even more than I do, so when I pray that they will return to Him, I’m praying His exact will!

    That’s so wonderful that you got to see your friend Ben and that he is a changed man!

  2. omg….i’m SO in love with that lamppost picture. it’s incredible! and i know that sounds trivial, and like i missed the point of the post, but i didn’t, really, and i thoroughly enjoyed the rest of it as well. i just had to point out that that picture is absolutely freaking amazing!

  3. I like this post a lot. And I love the photography at the end. Gives me some ideas for thanksgiving decor.

  4. Thanks so much for this post, Michele. To hope and love in the situations where I don’t know what to do…..

  5. AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHY (as always).

    Here’s to Hope!! (Clink).

  6. Michele, this was a fabulous entry! I read it to Dorothy, who is over here helping me hem up my banquet dress.  So…so precious!  You are absolutely gorgeous in that picture with Ben and his brother!!!!!  Love you, friend!

  7. Thank you, Michele, for your wisdom. Email forthcoming.

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