man of the house

MAN OF THE HOUSE | At wits’ end: Giving up the struggle for self-sufficiency and turning to God

A certain man carried an unrelenting burden: alcohol addiction on one shoulder, drug addiction on the other. One night, drunk and high, he could bear it no longer. He was, you could say, at his wit's end. Sitting on a couch in his basement, he set down the bottle and the marijuana, picked up a pistol and felt mentally ready to end his suffering.

He didn't consider himself a spiritual man by any means, which is why the next split-second surprised him completely. From somewhere he couldn't explain, these words came to him.

"Please, God," he whispered, "please help me."

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Everyday achievements reflect who we are

The semiannual edition of my high school alumni magazine showed up in my mailbox recently. I usually look forward to reading about the fascinating exploits of current students and the updates on the lives of my fellow graduates.

Perusing this issue felt different. The more I read, the more I felt sad about our world's view of this life.

The magazine didn't lack interesting stories or tidbits. I read reports about events in which alumni can get involved, recaps of the school's sports teams, physical improvements to the buildings on campus, upcoming class reunions.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Sharing the spiritual burden

One friend sat in the driver's seat of the car, transporting us on a six-hour journey to the site of our retreat last year. In the passenger seat, another friend kept the driver engaged in conversation.

With the entire backseat to myself, I I began my week of silence a few hours early. As much as possible, I waded into an interior room of quiet. I stared out the window as the world flew past at 70 miles an hour.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Concern for the future

On Feb. 16, our first granddaughter was born. The emotions elicited that day — and in other national events in the previous days — made me think about what I would write in a letter to her. Here are some of my thoughts:

Dear Madeleine Victoria,

What a glorious, exhilarating day — your actual birthday! So many people had been waiting so many months for your arrival. Indeed, quite a few of us have looked forward to your birth for years. You're the first granddaughter on both sides of your family, the pink-clad apple of many eyes, including both your brothers.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Our identities are hidden in the love and mercy of God

I had been attending outpatient group-therapy sessions for several weeks. Though my mental health still had much to be desired — my spiritual health, too, for that matter — I had settled into a comfortable place with these people. Not that I was overly chatty, but I talked more than I had in those first few reclusive, virtually mute days.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | All around us are disagreements that have gotten out of hand

Every weekday during my 30-minute commute to work, I drive past 15 Christian churches. They're quite diverse, ranging from St. Monica Catholic Church to a large non-denominational one to churches named Ark of Safety, Matthias' Lot and Destiny Church.

Seeing those non-Roman Catholic churches always makes my heart hurt.

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