The longest jump I ever cared to make was 6 feet into a lake, which is why Felix Baumgartner’s skydive from 24 miles up boggles my mind. Just looking at the photos from his helium balloon makes my stomach cringe. Where did Baumgartner get the courage to step out of the capsule and jump? Was the jump a crazy leap of faith? Or was it a step of reason?
Christmas Eve morning started in West Webster, NY with a scenario familiar to first responders everywhere, with a scene familiar to my household. The scanner goes off, the emergency and address are announced, and firefighters slip out of warm beds to travel dark streets, putting themselves in danger for the sake of rescuing others.
But this Christmas Eve was tragically different. A home was fully engaged with fire. The firefighters were focused on their goal of searching for residents, saving lives. As the engine pulled up to the scene and they jumped off, they were met with gunfire. Four firefighters were hit. Two died.
Tomasz Kaczowka, 19, died that morning. Continue reading
In the waters of Long Island Sound, not far from City Island, lies the largest public cemetery in the country. Few visitors are allowed to go there, but on a recent blue-skied morning, my husband Tom and I boarded a small ferry to Hart Island, the potter’s field for the poor and unclaimed of New York City. Narrow and only one mile long, Hart Island holds almost one million graves. City prisoners provide the labor for the burials. No one lives there, and abandoned houses are hidden by overgrowth.
Last week my friends became the targets of thieves. One friend heard a noise in her kitchen and found a thief straddling her window. Another returned home in early afternoon to find her house totally ransacked. The emotional jarring of these events is intense, and it underlines the uncertainty of life in this world…..like the afternoon my teen son’s shiny red sports car vanished from the lot at the Garden State Plaza.
When Jesus taught, he was speaking to folks like us who knew a lot about thieves. His parables contain thieves who come unexpectedly and owners who attempt to hide their treasures from them. There was even a thief among Jesus’ closest friends (John 12:6.) Continue reading