Modeh Ani. Good morning, indeed.

Each morning–early in the morning–I drive my son to his cross country practices.

And each morning, I’m tempted to go home and go back to bed until his run is finished.

Instead, through what can only be described as supernatural grace, I walk while he and his teammates run.

I walk, as the sun rises over the trails and cornfields and wildflowers.

I walk, as I grumble about the little things in life (like the unexpected failure and subsequent purchase of an entire AC system when it’s 100 degrees in the shade) and wonder where God is.

I walk, as I think about the patients I care for as a nurse, the ones who have bellies being drained from the effects of cancer; the ones whose caregivers sit at the bedside and feed them applesauce when a month before they could handle a nice slab of prime rib; the ones who love it when I wash their hair, massaging their balding heads no one else has touched for weeks.

I walk, as I consider the life-changing week my sons spent caring for “the least of these” on the streets of Chicago, returning to us as young men, hearts on fire for the Kingdom. Hearts bonded with new friends. Hearts bonded with the broken and the Lord.

Here are a few pictures I’ve taken on my walks this week as I consider all these things, blessings, curve balls, love so deep and other-worldly it hurts. And I recite, as my Jewish ancestors* and Jewish brothers and sisters do still today–before they even rise from their beds–the morning Modeh Ani. A prayer to begin the day.

May you acknowledge and feel the merciful restoration of your soul, and the faithfulness of our Great G-d, today, too, dear friends!

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מוֹדֶה (מוֹדָה) אֲנִי לְפָנֶֽיךָ מֶֽלֶךְ חַי וְקַיָּים. שֶׁהֶֽחֱזַֽרְתָּ בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְחֶמְלָה. רַבָּה אֱמֽוּנָתֶֽךָ׃

Modeh (modah) ani lifanekha melekh ḥai v’kayam sheheḥezarta bi nishmahti b’ḥemlah, rabah emunatekha.

I offer thanks before you, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.

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*Through extensive research I’ve been doing for my second novel (David C. Cook, 2015), I recently discovered that my Grandfather was 100% Jewish, which means I am 1/4 Jewish. My knees are buckled with honor at this truly life-changing discovery.