Melodie Davis Archive
Hearing the World in a New Way
Editor’s note: Second of a three-part series: On Growing Older. The rustle of a single hamburger wrapper sounded like the crackle of one hundred papers. The keyboard at my computer started clacking very loudly! I heard myself sighing vociferously. (Do I really sigh that loudly?) I heard ice rattling in the office kitchen—never noticed that before—and when our office janitor was putting away dishes in the kitchen, it sounded as if she was banging stuff like she was mad. But of course she wasn’t. As I walked up the office stairs, I heard my shoes scuffing the carpet. And birds—why […]
Renegotiating Living Together
Editor’s note: First in a three-part series: On Growing Older. A guy I worked with in the past, award-winning photographer and videographer Jim Bowman, wrote a poignant post while sharing an evocative photo on Facebook the other week. The photo showed his wife’s hand pressing a goodbye onto an Amtrak window as she commuted to a nearby city—an arrangement they had followed weekly during the school year for family reasons. This was their last week of the commuting separation. He noted, “Lin and I will need to negotiate living together again.” Our true personalities are revealed again in new ways […]
Waiting is Hard: Forty Years Later
I began writing this column a year ago. Yeah, some things take a while. But it’s interesting the perspective a year brings. Forty years ago this May I was still in the Big Wait. I thought our wedding day would never come. At this time last year we had an interim pastor at our church; I’ve written some about that. Our pastor had preached a sermon on waiting—very fitting for the place we were as a congregation. She read the passage about how Jesus, after his resurrection, told the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for him. But they […]
When the Worst Happens
Have you experienced a difficult death in your family or among your friends? I mean, all deaths are sad, and we mourn the loss of a dear person—but it is very different with tragic circumstances or when children or young people die. Anyone who has lost a child or has had a child with a significant physical or intellectual challenge has heard comments and questions that leave them cold. I remember wondering where God was when a busload of wholesome young baseball players careened off an exit ramp, killing most of them—and they had prayed for safety in a circle […]
To Keep Children Sweet—Limit Their Sweets
One of the joys of being a grandparent is introducing the kid—slowly and conservatively—to forbidden sweets. He put the bite in his mouth, and you could see the rhapsody spread over his little face. Neither of my grandsons had any sweets at all until their first birthdays, when they were suddenly and ingloriously not only introduced to a nibble of cake, but also expected to paint themselves, their high chairs, and the whole dining room floor with brightly colored supersweet frosting and rich crumbs. They both sat there amazed and a little dumbfounded. What is this cake and why am […]
A Short List of Great Books on Marriage
Any weddings coming up among your family or friends? Many of us are picky about recommending books on marriage. We don’t want books that make marriage seem too easy, or too pious, that have unattainable goals and standards, or that talk down to us. But over the years, I’ve collected (and find it hard to part with some of these when I try to thin my collection) five excellent books plus two new ones worth mentioning. Because who can’t use a little help improving marriage? “If love isn’t blind, it does squint a bit. Love idealizes both of us.” —Walter […]
Where Does Inspiration Come From?
Over the years, the questions most asked of me as a writer or columnist are “Where do you get your ideas?” and “How do you decide what to write about?” I often must grab 10 minutes before a meeting or before going home to just write a few words or a paragraph. Recently I was asked to create a handout on this topic for a Sunday school class at our church that has been exploring the creative urges within all of us, whether art, poetry, knitting, woodworking, gardening, or whatever. I write because I live. In other words, the things […]
Vaccinate against the Gripe!
First a backstory. A sign at my pharmacy that was written in Spanish first caught my eye. Diehard fans here will know I spent a year in Spain eons ago and that I still like to practice my Spanish. Many stores today have ample signage in English and Spanish, and since my husband loves browsing in home supply stores like Lowes and Home Depot, I look at signs and practice Spanish vocabulary and usage to my heart’s content. Most of us do not mind, when given in a loving spirit, a valid gripe or careful criticism from which we can […]
Where Rigor—and Community—Helps Form Strong Young Men
In the midst of disheartening U.S. presidential campaign rhetoric, terrorist attacks all around the world, and domestic racial issues always on simmer or boiling over, I was encouraged and moved to happy tears recently. We were watching an episode of 60 Minutes showing a Catholic preparatory school in Newark, New Jersey, that is educating young men—black, brown, and white together—to be the best they can be. With amazing results. They are taught and internalize that their lives have meaning, and students urge their brothers and friends to enroll. I have not been able to watch 60 Minutes for years because […]
When It’s Raining a Glorious Candy Mess!
I’ve never met Marianne Jantzi, but after laboring with her for about eight months to bring her first book into the world, I feel like I could be its grandmother. The effects are long lasting. We all feel bright and refreshed and go at our work and play with more vigor. Marianne has four children and is about the age of my own middle daughter. She has been writing stories of their life together as an Amish family in a monthly column in The Connection, a paper read mostly by plain Mennonites and Amish. Marianne’s forthcoming Herald Press book (March 29 […]