Friday, July 10, 2009

Amazing Grace

John Newton

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Then when we've first begun.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Dear Annie,

Everyone thought my first boyfriend was gay...

During my sophomore year of boarding academy, I had many suitors. Three of them declared their undying love for me in the same week, two wrestled each other with me as the intended prize and one chased me across campus.

I dated none of them.

Instead, I dated Jesse,* the weirdest freshman in school.
"Dude! Did you hear that Jesse has a girlfriend?"
"No way! I feel sorry for her."
It was true. Jesse was a bit... odd. He was highly intelligent, eloquent and magnetic. He loved literature and the arts. He was also so flamboyant that everyone just assumed he was gay. Jesse claimed it wasn’t true. In fact, I got to know him through my friend Heather, on whom he had a big crush. He did however love theater and the arts, wear makeup and there were rumors of him running around the boy's dormitory one night in hot pink polyester pants. It didn't matter to me. I was smitten. Eventually we began dating.

At times, I too, had my doubts about Jesse’s sexual orientation. He never cared to sit by me in church, we never kissed, and he even refused to hold my hand because, as he said, "our hands just don't fit together."

Jesse and I talked about books, philosophy and politics. Every night we walked around "the loop," which was a road encircling the entire campus. He told me that his mother used to date Bill Gates, and that he knew the guy personally. His parents were divorced and he much preferred his estranged father to his crazy mother. Jesse aspired to be a politician, seeing that he had connections with the higher-ups. He told me that he had been born in Essex, England, and that his mother had smuggled him back to the USA so that he could be a true US citizen.

On the last day of school, Jesse kissed me goodbye. It was my first kiss, and also the last time I saw Jesse. My parents shipped me off to Spain that summer, and even though I wrote to him every day, the only message he ever sent back was a short email letting me know that he was dying and had four months to live. He made up some name for his disease. My dad couldn't find it in any medical text book, and a phone call to his mother confirmed our suspicions. Almost every wild story Jesse ever told me was a lie. How very pathological of him.

I suppose when you are a 15 year old boy who wants to dump your overly devoted girlfriend, it is just as easy to tell her you are going to DIE. In retrospect, I was insanely obsessed, so we'll just give him the benefit of the doubt.

Jesse is still alive of course. He's since been married... and divorced. He smokes, drinks, is an atheist and a liberal.

I know, because I Google.


*Names not changed to protect the almost gays.