Running Past the Vampires

#1 – Delaware River Canal, Bristol, PA

(6-minute read)

I HAVEN’T BEEN sleeping well lately. I’m sure there are many who can say the same right about now.

In fact, if you’re reading this and are sleeping well, I’ll have some of whatever you’re having, please!

The Crouch’s son (let’s call him Barty Crouch Jr. the Third) has moved back in over the north wall, and he’s got his days and nights mixed up.

As I lie there, staring at the ceiling fan at three forty-six in the morning (I should dust that tomorrow. I will. First thing), I try to come up with a way to say the very thing I’ll never say if we happen to see each other out back.

“Listen, Barty Crouch Jr. the Third. I get it—the Call of Duty must be heeded, but *am* is when all good little soldiers sleep and *pm* is when they fight. Understood? That’s a good little soldier.”

This morning—sometime after the “Battle of Detroit” or whatever—I had one of those *just before sunrise* dreams. You might know the kind—you’ve been up and down all night, and just before sunrise you’re able to nod off, hovering in that space between the real world and the one we go to when we sleep.

I have seasonal allergies and with them comes post-nasal drip and with that comes a cough. So, my dream—as you can imagine—had to do with me coming down with Coronavirus.

In my dream I’m lying in my bed, thinking about my regrets and quietly talking to myself. “Well, this is it…This could very well be it.”

“Yes. I’m aware.”

“So, how do you think we did? I mean, if this is really it, if it’s all over, did we do okay?”

“Some hits, some misses. We’ve always had a tendency to over-swing, I think.”

“Yeah…Well…this could very well be it.”

“Yes, I know that. Thank you…Now I’m starting to panic. Appreciate that very much, thanks! That’s just great!!”

“Wake up!!!”

Time to get up and go for a run.

#2 – Underpass overhead

A nice little stretch of the Delaware River Canal runs through Bristol, and I enjoy running on it. It takes me around the edge of The Borough and back after a couple of miles south.

Two days ago, I was out on a run in the afternoon. The sun was finally out, and The Borough was teeming with spring beginnings and brand new colors never before seen. There have been colors just like these in the past, but not these colors from the year 2020—the year of the virus.

These are the latest versions from the Cosmic Creative Department – newly printed greens and whites and yellows. Each color is trying to outshine the next like a horticultural car show.

On the route I run, I always follow the canal path under the train overpass and then hop on the paved trail on my way back home. Two days ago was no different. Sometimes I see people along my route and sometimes I don’t. If I do, I normally smile and wave. I’ll nod hello at the very least.

As I was approaching the underpass, the sun was high and cast a deep shadow across the path I was on. The darkness stretched from the underpass wall, over the trail, all the way across the water, to the far bank of the canal. (see pic #3 below).

#3 – Vampire Weekday

I was about twenty yards from the shadow when I saw a man and woman walking together. They were an older couple—definitely Boomers—moving in my direction. They seemed to be exiting the shadows like they were afraid of the sun. I could see that they saw me.

I ran steadily on, and as I approached them, they stopped, stepped backward into the shadows, and leaned against the wall, waiting for me to pass them by on the right.

She was wearing a hoodie with the hood up, and he a jacket with a high turned-up collar and a brimmed hat. I entered the shadow and looked at them as I passed. Both of them were leaning on their right side against the wall, faces turned away from me.

I saw her first. She took her left hand and pulled the hood over her face. He had taken his high color in his left hand and pulled it over his face. I tried to smile. I tried to nod.

I continued through the remaining fifteen yards of the overpass, and when I came out on the other side, I stopped. I looked back and saw nothing but the shadow.“What the hell just happened back there?” I asked myself.

“Crazy, right?” I answered.

It was the saddest thing that’s happened to me in a very long time. Not because I took it personally (I totally didn’t), but because this is how we have to live right now; it’s the way things are and the way things have to be. It’s frustrating and sad and scary as hell and it sucks; I wish it didn’t.

I stood on the path, panting from an unexpected stop. My body was tired, and my spirit suddenly became heavy. All of the beautiful, new colors began to blur and melt away as if the color dial had been turned in an extreme direction.

#4 – A Look Back

“I don’t think we’re going to make it,” I said to myself.

“Look at the path,” was my answer to that.

I looked at the path.

“Now just start running again. Keep your eyes on the path and just run. Just stay on your path.”

So, I started running again. The colors returned to new. I made it home.

I wish you peace.

The Crouches Next Door

Bristol Borough, PA (Not my house, but I did take the photo, so…)

(6-minute read or listen to me read it HERE)

BRISTOL, PA is a nice little river town. I like to photograph it. It’s got a history and a character.

It’s got beauty and sadness and conflict and triumph and regret and ghosts, too.

It’s kind of like any place, I guess. It’s like any person, really. It’s a bit like me.

We live in a row house, right in the middle of the block. We share our northern-most wall with a family I’ll call the Crouches.

That’s not their name. The father’s name is Bart, so Sarah, Watson, and I refer to him as Barty Crouch Jr. He’s more sad than mean, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he had the Dark Mark on his arm. He’s kind of hairy, so I’ve never actually seen it.

Barty and I might be around the same age, I would think. I’m finding it harder to determine how old someone is these days. His beard’s got grey in it, like mine. He’s a four-sport Philly Phan, which is virtually a requirement in this town. He also has a MAGA bumper sticker on his 2003 Ford Explorer. We’re unlikely to see eye to eye on political issues, is what I’m saying. 

Mrs. Barty Crouch Jr. is cordial to me, always says hello. I get the feeling she doesn’t know what to make of me, and I don’t blame her. I don’t know what to make of me either. 

Not my house either. Pic: Me

The Crouches don’t talk very nicely to each other. I’m not sure if he works some kind of night shift or what, but he’s not around much during the day. He is, however, frequently up at two-thirty in the morning. 

I know this because our bed is up against the northern-most wall, and Barty Crouch Jr. has no concept of the fact that there is also life on the south side of his wall, even at two-thirty-four.

When I hear words like, “Well, you should stop being such a stupid bitch!” being screamed from the north wall at two-thirty-seven in the morning, I want to scream back, “SOCIAL CONTRACT!!!” 

But I don’t.

Several months ago, I saw someone pull up in their car. A woman got out, came around to the passenger side, opened the door, and helped Mrs. Barty Crouch Jr. out of the Honda and up onto the curb where she could get her footing. They walked slowly together up the sidewalk, up the porch stairs, and into the house. 

I remember saying to Watson, “I hope she’s okay.”

Bristol in the light. Picture: Moi

Every once in a while, I would see a similar scene. Then, one day, I saw her wearing a wig. It was obvious to me because I had seen her real hair plenty of times. 

“I think Mrs. Barty Crouch Jr. might have cancer,” I said to Sarah.

We began to hear different noises coming from the north after that. Her treatment was making her very sick. Her hair had fallen out, and she had lost some weight. 

Whenever I’d see her in passing, I’d want to ask her how her treatment was going, but I guess I thought we were somehow supposed to pretend I don’t know.  

It became even more obvious she was ill when she’d go out with just a scarf on her head, abandoning the wig altogether. I didn’t know what to do. 

I don’t think Barty Crouch Jr. knew what to do either. Do any of us really know what to do when we first come face to face with that kind of hardship?

Each of us on the block has our own little bit of a backyard. Each one is fenced off, of course. The Crouches have a deck as their back garden. Our sliding glass door opens to the east and when you open it and step out back, you have to go down three steps. At the Crouch’s, you just step right out onto the deck. 

Jefferson Ave. Biggest sidewalk this side of the Delaware. Photo: You Know

Yesterday, we had a beautiful spring evening. The temperature was up, and the sun, when it touched my face, made me feel like I wanted to be hopeful. I wanted to be.

At five-thirty, I was doing some dishes at the kitchen sink in front of the window which I had open, and I started to smell some smoke. It was coming from the Crouch’s deck. Mrs. Barty Crouch Jr. was starting a fire in their metal fire pit. 

I walked over to get a closer look through the sliding glass door, and as I made my way from sink to door, I heard the music playing. It had probably been playing all along, but she must have turned it up at the chorus so she could sing along because that’s what she did. For one beautiful moment, Mrs. Barty Crouch Jr. and Elvis were coming to me LIVE from Madison Square Garden, 1972!

BOTH:  We can’t go on together

               With suspicious minds 

HER:      (suspicious minds)

BOTH:   And we can’t build our dreams

              On suspicious minds

I just stood there and listened to her sing and watched her straighten up the deck while the fire warmed her body and The King warmed her soul.

And her hair is back. 

She must have just gotten out of the shower because it was still wet. She was letting it dry in the sun by the fire. 

It was a wonderful moment. 

I’m hopeful, again.

Merlin Street

Merlin in Camelot. Act 2 Playhouse 2018

SOMETHING I’M FINDING interesting is how much like my normal, everyday life this quarantine-like existence has been so far. I never realized how much time I actually spend by myself. Turns out, I spend a great deal of time working alone, hardly seeing anyone but Watson and my wife (whenever she’s home from work) for semi-long stretches at a time. 

I’m certain this isn’t true of all introverts, but maybe some feel, as I do, that they wish they weren’t so introverted. I know I don’t want the anxiety and worry that comes with feeling perpetually out of place. I want to be comfortable around people. I want to strike up a conversation without feeling like Super Dork (one of the less well-known members of the Marvel Universe). 

I think I’ve actually become more introverted as I’ve gotten older, to tell you the truth. I also think I might understand people a little differently now than I did half my life ago. 

I bet a lot of people can say they understand people differently when they get to the point where they have more years behind them than in front of them. Because math.  

Because of experience, too. There’s just no substitute for it. You live, you learn, you grow. That’s how I understand the game to be played. 

The most anxiety-ridden moments of my life involve interacting with strangers. And yet, I crave human connection. I need it like I need air and water. I desire it. I long for it. I don’t know how I would live in a world where we don’t touch each other anymore. I don’t like to think about things like that. I’d rather be working.

When someone asks me what I do for a living, I usually just say “I’m an actor” (sometimes I throw *writer* in there, too. It depends on what type of project I’m working on at the time).  The conversation usually goes in a different direction after that. 

“Do you know anyone famous?”

“I met Kevin Hart once.’”

“That’s so cool! What’s he like?”

“He’s really nice. He took selfies with everyone.”

“Did you get a picture with him?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know.”

That’s about the gist of it. My point is, nobody’s ever really asked me to explain what I actually do in my job. 

“Oh, you’re an actor? So, what do you DO, exactly?”

“Well, I try my best to become somebody else who’s going through something significant in his life while a bunch of people watch…I see you’re confused…Let me put it this way: To the best of my ability, I practice being someone else until I’m prepared to go in front of a group of strangers and be that person instead of the one you see before you. Does that make sense?”

“Not really.”

That’s basically how it goes. Not those exact words, though. People usually aren’t that interested in me, if I’m honest. They’re just interested in their idea of what I do. 

I spend a good portion of my working life trying to be someone I’m not, and while that all might have started out years and years ago as a means of escape for a boy with an imagination and a love for stories, it has become an indispensable practice for a middle-aged man trying to figure out who he is and how he might belong in the world.  

With the absolutely wonderful Iman Aaliyah as Nimue. Act 2 Playhouse 2018

I work in “Make Believe,” and in the acting of another person’s life—no matter how small or large the role— I have learned more and more about what it means to be human.  

The theater is where we plant seeds in the garden that is the hearts of every human being. Those seeds are ideas and questions about who we are and who we want to be.

When the seeds take (and you can feel it happen; sometimes you can even see it and hear it happening), it is a miracle to be a part of. 

It is in this very ground, the soil where we plant for others to experience, that I continue to learn about the human I want to become. 

I’ve learned that listening is often more important than talking; that taking chances is imperative and requires guts; that failing isn’t just a part of the process, it IS the process. You absolutely cannot succeed without failing first. 

Nothing is ever perfect, but at some point, it has to be finished (I definitely have more to learn when it comes to knowing when something is finished). 

In the midst of this disruption we’re all experiencing (because we’re all in this together, if I’m picking up the subtle social media messages correctly), I’ve still been driving for Lyft. 

Not much. Just some in the afternoon/early evenings. I feel like it’s something I have to do; I don’t know why. I’m only out a couple of hours a day, but I somehow feel compelled to be available.  

I take a lot of folks to work or to the grocery store or home from work after restocking everyone else’s essentials.

I dropped a young man off at his home after a long shift as a nurse at a local hospital yesterday afternoon. He lived on Merlin Street. We could use some magic right about now, I thought, as I pulled up to the curb in front of his house. 

“Thank you, so much, my friend,” I said. “Be well.”

“Thank you. Have a good night! Be safe!” he answered, closing the door and stepping onto the sidewalk. 

I watched him walk up to his front door. He put the key in and walked right in like it was any old Saturday. 

But, it wasn’t.

The Mortal Enemy

The Black Sheep Pub, Philadelphia, PA February 2020

WHEN I WAS A KID in the mid-seventies, my parents used to take my brothers and me to the drive-in movies.

I think it was the summer of 1976 when we pulled the car up in the parking spot, attached the speaker onto the slightly rolled-down driver’s side window, and settled in for a double feature of some kind. 

I don’t know what the first movie was. It could have easily been one of the “Herbie the Lovebug” films, but I couldn’t swear to it in court. It was definitely geared toward children, whatever it was. 

The second picture was always for the adults. My brothers were usually asleep in the backseat by the time the late movie began, but I would only pretend to sleep. On this night, the late show was a Richard Lester gem, “Robin and Marian.”

It starred Sean Connery as Robin Hood, Audrey Hepburn as Maid Marian, and Robert Shaw as the Sheriff of Nottingham. It was much more of a complex story than I could keep up with at the age of seven, but I remember the last twenty minutes or so pretty well. 

Whatever the main conflict was, it had escalated to a certain point. At this point, we had two armies on opposite sides, and, if I remember correctly, Robin and the Sheriff decide to meet on the battlefield with broad swords and armor, one-on-one, to hash things out for good and all. Whoever won would be the champion, and the other side would have to accept defeat.

These two mortal enemies went head to head so that no one else would have to get hurt. That was what was agreed upon, anyway. Of course I rooted for Sean Connery! Robert Shaw just deserved to get his smug sheriff face broad sworded, or whatever. 

It was a pretty intense fight scene. I remember they looked larger than any two people I had ever seen. The outdoor screen made them giants. Good and Evil, battling it out right in front of me like these Greek gods. 

I’ve begun to see Depression as my mortal enemy. To my knowledge, I’ve never had a mortal enemy. Maybe an arch enemy or two but never a mortal enemy. With mortal enemies you really have to hate the person, really want to see their demise. I don’t think I’ve ever really, truly hated anyone. 

I screamed “I HATE YOU!!” at someone I loved more than anything in the world one time. I remember feeling like a light inside me had gone out, like the wind made by the uttering of such terrible words blew out the pilot light in one of the rooms of my soul. I’m darker inside because I did that. 

I didn’t mean it when I said it, of course. There’s no way I could have. I could never hate anyone, especially that someone. It’s not possible. I was just so sad and angry with myself that I had no idea how to live. Nothing made any sense. 

Black Sheep Pub Feb. 2020

I never thought I had a mortal enemy. Then Depression just showed up on set without even auditioning, demanded the lead role, and informed us all he was also directing.

“Excuse me! Who are you, exactly?” I asked.

“Don’t worry about it,” answered Depression. “You just do what I say and everyone gets hurt. Got me? Comprende?”

“That doesn’t make any sense, actually. So, no…I don’t think I comprende. Why would I want anyone…everyone to get hurt? Why would I do what you say if that’s what’s going to happen?”

“That’s how it works. I don’t write the script.”

“You know, you’re right. You don’t write the script. You just improv your way through a day and expect me to know how to keep up. You just expect me to say, ‘Yes, and…’ to everything. Well, I’m sick of it, honestly. It’s time for me to be the lead writer for a season.”

 We have these kinds of talks sometimes. I feel like if I can get him in a one on one type situation, we might be able to battle things out between us without anymore casualties.

With age and experience I’ve gotten to the point where I have a pretty good idea of when my Depression is coming. It’s gotten predictable. It’s showing up in the same old places again and again trying to pass itself off as something new. 

“Hello,” I say to it. “I can see you.”

“Do you know what I could do to you?” it asks, with a touch of charm that seems strangely pacifying.  

“Yes, I do,” I answer. “And as long as I think I’m alone, you will continue to have power over me. But I don’t think that anymore. We might have to battle it out every once in a while, but I am the hero of my story. You’re my mortal enemy. I have enormous respect for you, but whenever you try to take me on I will smash your face in!”

It’s a team game, this life. 

I’ll gladly be on your team if you need another. If not, I can cheer from the sidelines.

Either way, I’m for you.

Peace.

The Ben and Me

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Philadelphia, PA. March 15, 2020. For a very brief moment, we were alone together.

(5-minute read or listen to me read it HERE)

A FEW YEARS AGO, I had a bit of a stay in the hospital. The doctor who did my intake interview was very kind and patient with me. He asked me a series of questions. They started off deceptively easy.

“What’s your full name?”

“Robert Scott Langdon.”

“Your date of birth?”

“February 4, 1969.”

“What do you do for a living?”

“I’m an actor and a writer.”

“Really?”

That’s the reaction I usually get. My interpretation of that response used to always be, “Well, that’s awfully irresponsible of you. Do you do anything for actual money? How do you live?”

I don’t think that very often anymore, but that’s what I thought then.

“Yes,” was all I said at the time.

He wrote some things down on what I assume was the beginning of my chart. Then, he just casually threw out the question, as if it were simply the next logical one to ask.

“Do you ever think about suicide?”

“Sure.”

“Really?”

There it was again. I looked around to see if anyone else was offering strange answers in addition to mine that were confusing him somehow.

“How often do you think about it?”

It felt like a loaded question to me because I thought I had the universal answer.

“Every day,” I answered. “Doesn’t everybody?”

“Uh, no.”

“I don’t mean I have a plan for it every day or anything,” I justified. “I just think about it. Like, how someone might do it.”

“What do you think about, specifically?”

I pondered some of the thoughts that had gone through my mind. One idea was a recurring thought.

“Well,” I started, rather matter-of-factly. “Take the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia, for example. People can walk across that bridge almost any day. Whenever I drive over it, I think about how easy it would be to just pull the car over, get out, and jump off. I mean, the barriers are virtually non-existent. Anyone could just jump right off. I don’t have a plan to do that. I’m just saying, anyone could do it.”

Evidently, there’s this scale, and I was closer to the one end than I ever thought I could be.

The Ben looking out toward Camden, NJ. March 15, 2020

On Sunday afternoon, I walked across that bridge, taking pictures of what I could see. One thing I saw but didn’t take a picture of was a sign that read, “Suicide Prevention Hotline” and it gave a number to call. I saw that sign on the way up and another one just like it at the apex.

Going up, when I saw the first sign, it barely registered. But when I got to the top and saw a second sign, it hit me. I thought two things:

One—That sign is not meant for me, Mr. Benjamin Franklin Bridge. I haven’t thought about you that way in years.

Two—There are many out there for whom it is meant. I pray they can somehow know, there is so much to live for.

I’ve always been interested in photography. I could literally spend hours with photo books from the great photographers when I was a kid. They were basically all I took out of the library during grade school. I’m fascinated with what it means to capture a moment in time.

Recently—since June 2019—I’ve been taking my photography more seriously. I wanted to make a habit of seeking out and capturing interesting and beautiful things. I wanted to make a habit of seeing moments, of seeing differently in the world, of seeing the world differently. I wanted to notice intentionally.

The Ben looking south down the Delaware toward his younger brother-in-suspension, the Walt Whitman Bridge. March 15, 2020

On Sunday, I stood at the top of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in these crazy, uncertain times and looked outward. I could see as far as my lens could see and it was beautiful. I didn’t look down. The sky was endless.

I was hopeful.

Yesterday, I lost my job. “The Bodyguard: the Musical” was cancelled. Many of my friends have lost their jobs, as well. Not just this show, but shows-even seasons-at theaters everywhere around the world. There are so many affected by our current times, some in ways the rest of us might never imagine.

I’m still hopeful.

I’m hopeful that this experience of *Social Distancing* will—in a strange kind of way—show us how we are all without a doubt fantastically, inextricably connected to one another.

I wish I could tell you Depression will never try to smash your face in if only you would believe a certain way. I can’t. Honestly, I don’t want to tell you that because it’s not true.

Depression is a bastard and cheat and a thief who always lies. That’s the truth.

This is also true: You are never alone, you are loved beyond your understanding, and you matter.

Today, I love. It’s what I’ve chosen for today.

Tomorrow has enough trouble of its own.

A Birthday Poem for My Wife on Her Birthday

HERE AND NOW is what I’ve come to; it’s where I’ve landed; it’s what I’ve come to. Here and now is the only place I want to be.

You helped me find that; you helped me learn to find that space, that extra space the heart grows into because there’s always room for more love.

Your love makes me want to make the most of a moment.

(Hear Colm Wilkinson singing) THIS. IS. THE. MOHMENNT!!

(Are those tears of laughter or joy? Or both?)

I’M SO GLAD you are here and now; it’s the perfect place to be, here and now is. I’m so honored you chose me to share your here and nows with. (‘I’m so honored you chose me to be the one with whom you will share your here and nows.’ I think that’s better but it’s too long? Why take so much time with a sentence, you know what I mean?)

TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY!!

(How old are you??…Younger than me. Right. Point made. Thank Youuu!)

Even though we are apart on this your special day, when I think on you, I feel like I’ve come home.

(Ladies and Gentlemen, Mister Colm Wilkinson)

Briiing.Hiiiiiim.Hooooooooooooooome….


HERE AND NOW I am sending you all of my

LOVE and MEGA BIRTHDAY WISHES

in a birthday poem for you on your birthday, which I have entitled,


“A BIRTHDAY POEM FOR MY WIFE ON HER BIRTHDAY!”


It’s a poem grateful for all of the perfect moments we’ve had and have yet to have had (is that even English??…I mean, come on!!!…sorry…where was I?…Right.)

Here and…now is a poem…(I don’t even kn—)

Look, here’s my point: Even if I only have one day more with you,

(Cue Wilkinson…again:)

ONE! DAY! MORE!!!!

(Dammitt, Colm!!!…Can you PLEASE?!…It’s my LAST. NERVE… Okay?!)

(Tears still? A kiss for both your eyes, then)


I WANT TO SPEND all of my days with you and have all of the ADVENTURES!


HERE AND NOW is what I’ve come to; it’s where I’ve landed; it’s what WE’VE come to. Here and now is the only place I want to be.


Happy Birthday, Wife! I love you!


ONE! DAY! MOOOOOOOORE!!!!!

(COLM!!!!!)

A Journey Through Lent with Love

God is Love. Love is God.

TODAY ENDS a very tumultuous forty days of exploration for me. During this period of Lent, I have been engaged in an experiment which replaced the word Love for the word God in my everyday thoughts, prayers, and contemplations.

The experiment began because of my interest in what is going on when we utter the term, God. For some time now, I have been deeply interested in what the referent for the word God is for different groups of people as a whole and specifically for groups of people who call themselves Christians.

What does the word God mean to them? What does it mean to me?

As I have previously written, my upbringing lead me to understand the term God as a literal *being* who is the best possible everything—the greatest conceivable being. We were very concerned with what NOT to do in our lives when I was growing up. That certainly does not discount the many wonderful things our community did and what that community continues to do.

I just remember being confused about what it meant when we said we “loved Jesus.” I remember feeling like I didn’t know who we were praying to, and wondering if smoking that cigarette or dancing in public was really going to count that many points against me on the cosmic abacus.

This Lenten journey I’ve been on has taken me up, down, and backward on a kind of rollercoaster I’m not sure I would have gotten on if it had been up to me. What I mean to say is, I don’t know if I would have chosen all of the things that have come my way, especially lately. At the same time, I fully realize I wouldn’t be in this present moment without them; and where else am I but right here, right now?

In my experiment where I substituted the word Love for the word God, I noticed a few things. One thing I noticed was when I was thinking about Love in even the most generic way, I could almost immediately see it in others—mothers interacting with their children, friends doing loving things for one another, drivers letting other drivers go in front of them during heavy traffic, stories of lovingkindness became the kind of story I decided to click on instead of hateful nonsense. This wasn’t true 100% of the time, to be sure, but I was noticing; I was present to these Love-filled moments.

A dear, dear friend of mine died in a split second on Wednesday, and I was so terribly sad. Loved showed me I didn’t have to try to say the right words to a *being* out there, living somewhere I couldn’t get to.

Love showed me it was okay to grieve, and that I could never even possibly be away from Love’s embrace. So many people showed such brilliant outpourings of Love, remembrance, and comfort.

Love proved to me we cannot even begin to realize the kind of influence our lives have on other people. There is no possible way my friend Erick could have known how many people loved him and how his life had made such a huge impact on so many. I believe he knows now.

Resting in Love itself, I believe he now knows fully what Love truly is.

My experiment also taught me we don’t truly believe in God. If we did, all we’d be doing all the time would be loving one another. To be true followers of God, we would do as Jesus instructed. If Jesus was God, then it was God who told us that the way others would know we were followers of God/Jesus/Love would be if we loved one another. I’m not making that up.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples: if you love one another.” (John 13:35)

Imagine if we actually took that seriously? It’s hard as hell, I know; but can you imagine? It seems impossible to me sometimes, but taking Love seriously is what I have continued to come back to time and time again.

After all of the intellectual philosophy, after all of the theology, after all of the atheism and the throwing away of having to “get it right,” and after all of the trying to name the un-nameable, Love is the only thing that remains.

God is Love. Love is God.

One might argue, “Aren’t you just using the word *Love* to name God?”

I don’t think so. Can you explain Love? Can you predict where you will encounter it or what amazing things can occur in our lives when we become present to it? Have you ever thought you knew what Love is only to be blown away by a moment of realization that you never actually will?

When my daughter, Mikaela, was born I had never before experienced the kind of love I have for her. It was so different and new and remains that way to this day. I was sure nothing would be able to surpass that kind of love. I was too afraid to have another child—I didn’t think my heart could possibly contain anymore.

Then, four years and two weeks later my son, Connor, was born. Remember how the Grinch’s heart grew three times its size when he encountered Love? When the nurse first put him in my arms, I felt my heart grow and grow and grow. Love was not finished with me. Love had so much more to show me. Love is what we live for. Love is what keeps us alive, and we may not even know it.

When I say we don’t believe in God, I don’t mean *believe* in the sense that we affirm something to be factual; that God *exists*, for example. I mean believe in the way someone who loves you “believes in you.” As Rob Schneider would say, in virtually every Adam Sandler film, “You can do it!” You know, that kind of thing.

Do I believe in God?

Honestly, I’m not interested in that. Maybe I just don’t think it’s a very good question, anymore. Maybe there’s a better question—one worth asking over and over and over again:

Do I believe in Love?

I do believe in Love. Oh yes, my friends, I do! I’ve seen what Love can do, and I am here for all of it. Love restores; Love transforms; Love saves; Love never gives up and, most important of all, Love never dies.

I have only very recently realized that though I have been seeking God my whole life, what I have really been after is to know Love more fully, more clearly, more deeply.

Happy Easter to you all!

Love has become known to all Humanity, and even when we die, we continue to exist as a part of this world through the gift of grace, which allows us to remain in the very presence of Love itself.

Love is always calling us, sometimes gently, sometimes with great heaviness, to become present to how we are filled up with and surrounded on all sides by Love, every single moment of every single day of our lives. Our humanness makes us question and wonder if Love is real or a lie, but Love is the only light that illuminates Truth in what can sometimes be seen as a very dark world.

To believe in Love is to seek after it, being certain you will know it when you encounter it. Love is always right where you thought it might be, right where you expected to find it. You might doubt sometimes, and why not?

We’re only human.

Love is always there. Love never leaves. It can’t leave. Love is the very stuff we’re made of, and Love exists so that we might live.

I pray you will find Love. It is always right here, in plain sight. You’ll know when you’ve found it because you will instantly want to start giving it away, only to find the more you give away, the more you get!

Love is in every beautiful melody you hear, in every encounter with the poor, in every conversation with a friend, in every embrace, in every communication, in everything you can possibly think of and especially in everything you can’t.

Do we believe in Love enough to let Love fully reign over us, around us, and through us?

To quote the cast, as they sing to my stick-in-the-mud Harvard admissions director:

“Yes, we believe in love, how ‘bout you?”

Well, just like my Legally Blonde alter ego answers so shall I:

“Welcome to Harvard!”

Wait…

Peace to you!