January 14, 2011

Children of courage: May They Rest in Peace




I read about two courageous children this week. One was on the other end of the world in Toowoomba, Australia. One was in Tucson, Arizona—on this country’s soil.


A thirteen year old boy who chose life for his ten year brother Blake rather than life for himself.

     On January 11, 2011,flash flooding struck without warning in Toowoomba, a city of about 90,000 people nestled in mountains of Australia,  2,300 above sea level. The deluge fell over a concentrated area, sending a 26-foot, fast-moving torrent crashing through Toowoomba and smaller towns farther down the valley.

     Jordan and Blake were in the car with their mother when a torrent of floodwater trapped the family in their car. Two men reached the car in spite of the pummeling water, which knocked one of the men away from rescue attempts. When the second man managed to reach the car, Jordan insisted (more…)


November 11, 2010

My People



Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius

     During her lifetime, my late mother worked as a secretary for a psychiatrist. Below are vignettes of a few patients who touched this season of her life.


   He enters the waiting room quietly, slides into a chair and sits, body slumped, eyes downcast, a rumpled, unwashed, unshaven, disheveled appearance. My greeting to him goes unanswered and he glances at me surreptitiously from under lowered lids. He is early for his appointment and the magazines on the table hold no interest for him. Nor does he converse with any of the others in the room. His posture projects dejection, sadness, loneliness, the very burden of life itself. At long last it is his turn and he shuffles slowly into the doctor’s office for an hour of therapy, and medication that appears to relieve nothing. He returns to me, and, without comment, accepts the card for his next appointment, tears close to the surface. My “Goodbye, see you next week” goes unanswered.


     He enters my line of vision, snowy white hair, incredibly blue eyes, a man in his late seventies who for all intents and purposes may well be old St. Nick himself. His smile and gracious greeting could melt the heart of a stone. It is only his trembling hands and the slight list as he walks that betrays the (more…)

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