The Lament of Martha of Bethany

Note: Good Friday posts have become somewhat of a tradition for me over the last few years (I’ve put past poems and stories here, here, and here), so I’ll add to it today. This is one of three pieces I wrote for tonight’s vigil at my church, and I can’t wait to see my friend Karli perform it onstage. I think many of us can relate to Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus. We crave stillness and thirst for silence, but we can’t find it amid the noise of daily living. For Christians, Good Friday is the best day of the year to set aside our frantic rhythms in favor of reflection and remembrance. It’s a day to light a candle, sit in the quiet, and contemplate the One called Prince of Peace.




Is it wrong that I feel nothing? Because I don’t. Mary is inside blubbering on and on. I can’t console her. They’ve nailed him to a cross, and He’s going to die. People probably think she loves Him more than I, and that’s fine. It’s not a competition. It was never a competition.

But I confess, I do wish I felt things like she does.

It’s always been that way. Even before she could talk, I would find her sometimes laying in the hills, looking up at the clouds and laughing. I would lay down next to her and try to see what she saw, but I could only wonder whether a storm was about to hit.

Now a storm has indeed hit. The greatest one of our lives. Today, we are losing the best man any of us have ever known. Indeed, he has been our hope of redemption: for Israel, yes, but… but more for ourselves. He is our friend, and… we thought He was also going to be our Salvation.

You probably think I’m talking about what happened to our brother Lazarus. And I suppose I am on one hand. Because men aren’t supposed come back from the tomb. I dressed him in his grave clothes myself, if you doubt. Our brother was blue and cold and his flesh stank, and I sealed him off from the world, while Mary cried into her hair. Afterward, I just sat stunned and tried not to seethe at Jesus of Nazareth for being too late.

And then, of course he arrived and proved himself to be right on time. He walked over amidst the crowd of mourners and gawkers and woke up my dead brother right in the thick of the afternoon.

But as unthinkable as that was, it isn’t what I mean when I say He is the greatest man we ever knew. There was something apart from any wonder He ever performed, or any wisdom that dropped so easily from his lips. You see, it was He… Himself… He was the gift. He had this… presence about Him. Mary used to have nightmares of the zealots causing riots in Jerusalem. They would always end with Lazarus dying in attempt to defend us, and Mary about to be speared and… Well, the day we met Him, her dreams stopped. Never came back. And from that day on she just… couldn’t be afraid. It was as if His very presence had chased away fear itself.

Power alone can’t do that. Miracles by themselves can’t do that. Only love can. Love that can peer into the dream world as well as the waking. Jesus of Nazareth. Our friend. Our salvation…

But I fear I missed Him. I missed out while He was here, sitting right in front of me.  So what right have I to mourn His death?  Mary and Lazarus can weep day and night, night and day for a month, and I’ve no right to stop either of them, but I… I…

When they would come to our home—Jesus and the twelve— I would grow tense. And I know, my father used to quote the saying, “Let your house be a meeting place for the rabbis. Cover yourself in the dust of their feet, and drink in their words thirstily.” Yes, I knew it was an honor.

But tell me: in order for anyone to drink in the words of a Rabbi, didn’t they first need a meal? Didn’t they need food and drink and a clean spot on the floor? Mary used to chide me on those nights, “Stop, sister. You’ve done enough. Come join us.” And my anger would burn against her until Jesus himself took her side.

“She’s chosen the better thing,” He said. I could feel my face turn hot, and I looked at her, expecting to see some victory in her eyes, but she was watching his face with a clueless kind of glow, like a young girl laughing at the clouds.

So I sat. I sat while He spoke of the goodness of God, and the strange ways of the Kingdom of heaven. I sat, but I did not listen. How could I? In the morning, they would need breakfast. Someone would need to make the bread—that certainly wasn’t going to be Mary, and Lazarus would be working in the fields. So while Jesus spoke words of life, I shut my eyes and counted loaves and dirty rags.

And a voice inside me screamed, “Stop, Martha! Just stop and behold Him!”

But I could not heed the voice, and that is the difference between us. Mary pours out her adoration with quietness and tears and kisses made of sweet perfume; I pour out mine with stale wine and worries. I want to quiet myself too, but my mind just… won’t… stop… Even now, I know I should go to him and sit at the feet of his cross. It’s not too late, he should be alive for hours still. I could go and… finally cover myself in his dust.

But I just can’t! There is just too much to do! I must plan for his burial. We already have grave clothes ready for him, only once used. Lazarus will not mind—and I’ll get help with the myrrh, and… and…

Can you hear her weeping now? Oh my sister… I just want to feel what you feel, but I just don’t know how.

When our Prayers Fly like Pebbles From a Widow’s Hand

There is a widow hiding outside the judge’s bedroom in the dead of night. I’ve seen her. Don’t worry, she isn’t up to anything salacious. She just wants him to hear her case. As if 2 a.m. is an opportune time. As if this particular judge would listen at any hour. She’s exhausted, leaning up against a tree in the shadows with a fist full of pebbles, but she’s not going away.

It’s dangerous. It’s stupid. Someone else might see her and haul her away. Yet there she is, sizing up the wide window across the lawn just above where the old man sleeps. She feels a stab of guilt for even knowing that fact. It took some snooping. What must the neighbors think?

She takes a breath, wipes the hair out of her eyes, cocks her arm back and lets the stone fly.


She holds her breath. Did a light just come on? For a moment, she panics and hurls herself back into the shadows. What if the man sees her? Wait–that’s the point of this entire plan, isn’t it?

The widow makes her face hard. No desperation. Just focus. He can’t outlast her. That is the message. This issue is not going away, so he might as well give in.

She steps out of the shadow. Slowly. The curtain inside rustles, then yanks to the side. And there he is. Eyes sunken. Hair in knots. He’s wearing a bathrobe and waving a white flag. He tells her he will listen. For the sake of his own sanity, he will give her a hearing.

And the great Storyteller says,

“Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?” (Lk 18:6-8 MSG)

I always thought this story was about the judge. About how he’s different than God. He’s arrogant and unfeeling. And if even he will give in, than how much easier will God give us breakthrough?

I was wrong. This story isn’t about the judge. It’s about me.

I’ve been praying for breakthrough for a long time. I want to have a conversation with my autistic son. A real, honest-to-God “how was your day, buddy? // not bad, except i skinned my knee” exchange. I want to cut through all the scripting gibberish and hear where he is aching. Is it his legs? His head? His heart? I want him push pause on all his glassy-eyed flapping so he can finally answer when I ask, “what are you thinking about, pal?”

I’ve been praying for years. Even though we’ve seen some growth, we are still miles and miles from any kind of language that ushers in relationship. And relationship is everything.

The widow’s tale, then, is my story. And if you still pray unanswered prayers, it’s your story, too.

The challenge for us is simple: many years from now, at the end of everything, will people like us still retain the courage to throw our pebbles? Because faith is sometimes measured in the asking. Pestering judges is not a trait of weakness but a badge of high belief.

Wear that badge, friend. You hurt, but you have not lost heart. How do I know? Because you’re still asking.

It’s been six years, and I’m still here, too, waiting behind my tree. Some nights I just lean up against the trunk and go to sleep. But not tonight. Tonight I remember my son and take aim at the Judge’s window. He’s a good Judge, this One. He hasn’t answered me yet, but He’s a good Judge. And maybe tonight is my night…

Barabbas Speaks (Five Years Later)

Oh, you’re leaving, are you, friend? That’s fine, that’s fine. You’re going to the Passover feast, then? Well, be careful now, be careful. There’s a particularly nasty man out there from Tarsus hunting down people like you, who follow “the way.” People are starting to disappear, they say…

Go with you? I don’t want a knife between my ribs, but thank you. I’m sure somebody still remembers my face in that city, I don’t care how many years it’s been. And besides, I … I mean no disrespect, friend… but I don’t understand you all. You go down there to the temple, side by side with people who are remembering Moses, but you talk only of the Rabbi. And you say so such peculiar things about him.

“The Christ,” you tell people, “died in your place.”

I confess, that still makes no sense to me.

I was even there the day he died and—

Yes, that’s right, I was there. It was while I was still a guest of Pontius Pilate. In his dungeons, I mean. In the months before, I had done my best to stir up the zealots all around Judea, and we were ready to kill the governor. I wanted to be the one to do it. It was no problem to my conscience. I had killed before. And the flaming man had murdered my three cousins. I was going to make him ache for it. We had it all planned out. We were going to storm the Pretorium. And we weren’t going to fail this time.

But guards caught wind of it first. Three Centurions beat me senseless in my bed and hauled me off to Pilate’s dungeon. You should have seen the governor’s snarling, bloodthirsty face when he captured me.

He left me rotting there for a month. I figured he was going to parade me out and kill me when there was a crowd. So I prayed for my freedom. For one more shot at revenge against the brute.

And then came the loudest day I had ever heard in Jerusalem.

We couldn’t see the crowds from inside the prison, but we could hear them. We could feel them. Rabid beasts they were. Screaming and hollering threatening to revolt. “My children! Those are my children,” I taunted the guards. You’d never have thought Roman soldiers could look so scared.

Then the crowd starts chanting something all together, and the prisoners turn to me and say, “did you hear that?” I listen more closely, and there it is, plain as day. They are shouting my own name.

“Barabbas! Barabbas!”

They stop. It gets quiet for a second as if they’re all listening to someone. Then, after a moment, they start chanting again.

“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

My cell opens and two guards step in and haul me outside into the sunlight. I try to fight them, but they’re too strong. They toss me to the ground. I just close my eyes and beg them for the sword. Anything but the cross. See, I had witnessed crucifixions before, friend, and I wouldn’t have wished that on anybody. Not even Pilate himself. So I find myself begging for mercy and bracing myself for pain.

But it doesn’t come. Nothing comes.

When I open my eyes, I see the guards have walked away from me and were holding someone else: turns out it was your Rabbi. They’ve already stripped him of his clothes and his skin is draping off him like loose cloak.

And they’ve got him pressed against the cross with iron spikes lined up to his wrists. Then comes the sound of rock on metal. And then the man’s screaming out in agony while his blood spits out from his limbs. And the crowd responds by hollerin’ in a drunken rage like it’s a Roman festival to Bacchus the wine god.

“Crucify Him,” they’re still shouting as if they hadn’t already begun pounding holes in the man. Animals, they were. I suppose it was only right that I had called them my children.

I stand up and scan the crowd and there’s Pilate, overseeing the whole thing. We lock eyes, the two of us, but I don’t see anger there. Just fear. Like he knows he’s doing something he’s goin’ to answer for. And in that moment, I know two things: that he’s not going after me, and I won’t kill him. Because this man being nailed to the post… he was bleeding enough blood for both of us.

So I start to push my way toward the back of the crowd. Nobody tries to stop me. They’re all watching your Rabbi, some laughing, and some crying.

“What’s he done?” I finally ask. “What’s he done?”

And can’t one of them tell me his crime. He hadn’t stolen anything or killed anyone. He’d never threatened the gorvernor. He was a holy man. Probably never violated the Sabbath!

All of a sudden my mind get’s foggy and my stomach goes all sideways as I think to myself, “that’s your cross, Barabbas.” And an insane part of me wants to go pull him down and take my rightful place as a knave and a wretch and a thief.

But all I can do is stand there and weep like a fool child.

You keep telling me he didn’t stay dead, friend, and I don’t know how that can be, but I hold onto it anyway because it’s my only hope. But I still cannot fathom what you all mean when you say that man died in your place. Because I was there, I tell you.

And Jesus of Nazareth died for me.

When King David Ruled the Blogosphere

I see him running bloodstained through a dry riverbed. His men, blistered and spent, beg for a rest. He suppresses a sigh, checks the sun, and nods. It’s a terrible time to stop. Would Saul’s men be stopping? Maybe. Probably not. But there was a little distance now. And besides, a rest would give him a chance to write.

There is a dying tree offering shade over rounded rock nearby. That is the spot. Reaching into his satchel, he pulls out his treasure from a Philistine raid: a laptop computer. It is old, of course, but it does the job. Nothing like what he used in the palace, but that was a long time ago.

He plugs in a network adapter and signs in. More notifications. He had intended to shut those off months ago. The comments were always the same now. He’s either a hero for the underdog, or a young public menace, leading this rowdy and impressionable generation into rebellion. The truth was less interesting. He was just running for his life. Why couldn’t they see that?

The comments don’t interest him today. The unfinished post does. He had almost published it the night before, short as it was. His readers loved those visceral, angry posts. The Bethlehem Gazette was especially enthusiastic:

“As a blogger, David is pithy and controversial, and that’s why I read him. He doesn’t try to tie up his thoughts with cute little bows. The priests may hate him for it, but I say, Rant on, young warrior! We are cheering for you!”

Of course, that was the hometown opinion. It was supposed to be gushing, wasn’t it? There were just as many detractors, and not just the ones loyal to the current King.

He squinted at the dim words on the screen:


          You are God my stronghold.
          Why have you rejected me?

He had been exhausted when he wrote that. Hungry and afraid. And now, twelve hours later, he still had not eaten or slept after yesterday’s near disaster. The question felt more tangible now than it had in the dark.

He shakes his head and types in another question:

          Why must I go about mourning,
          oppressed by the enemy?

It would be yet another in a long line of questions in his head: What had he done to provoke the King? Hadn’t he been loyal to God and to Saul? Hadn’t he obeyed every order, no matter how dangerous? Hadn’t he begged for the chance to kill the giant? Why had Samuel not warned him of all this?

Life was messy. Samuel had never understood that. Maybe none of them had. The priests. The prophets. His father. Had they ever been hunted by a man they had adored?

Despair. That was all he knew now. God had deserted him. Just like everyone else.

And yet, his fingers start to twitch and crawl on their own.

          Send me your light and your faithful care,
          let them lead me;
          let them bring me to your holy mountain,
          to the place where you dwell.

A prayer? His prayers had run as dry as this river bed, but there it was. His hands continue moving. Faster now.

          Then I will go to the altar of God,
          to God, my joy and my delight.
          I will praise you with the lyre,
          O God, my God.

He stops to remember the lyre. The songs in the court of the king. Better days. Days long gone.

But he would sing again, one day. Maybe not today, but one day. And his voice would find the notes without a struggle. They would come easily.

He looks down over his men stretched out along the rocks, some still panting and bleeding. Loyal men. Good men. Some of them not even men yet, but fierce nonetheless. Time and again, they had stood firm against Philistines and Hebrews without falling back. They were true warriors. And to think Saul had once laughed at “that band of drunkards!”

David exhales slowly. He has not the strength to smile, but he can exhale at least.

          Why, my soul, are you downcast?
          Why so disturbed within me?
          Put your hope in God,
          for I will yet praise him,
          my Savior and my God.

His clicks “Publish” and closes the computer, not giving himself time to reconsider.

The Bethlehem Gazette would not like the upturned finish. They would call the post “trite.” They would say he was losing his edginess. But he did not care. Hope and sorrow… who ever said they could not live together for a time?

Joseph, Pharaoh, and the Ghost of Christmas Future

Ghost of Christmas FutureSo Pharaoh has a nightmare. Two of them, actually. And he’s mortified. He calls for his wisest wise men and demands an interpretation, but they’ve got nothing. That’s when the cupbearer—an ex con—remembers that funny little guy he did time with. Joseph was his name, and he was smart. Scary smart.

Pharaoh summons him. Read more

Good News: You’re Not Job!

First, know this: I am not making light of your experiences. You have lost friends and family members. You have experienced devastating relational fractures. You have suffered in body and spirit. We all have.

But you are not Job.

At first glance, I see why you think you might be him. Job was the most unfortunate of Old Testament figures. He is a man who lost everything and everyone he loved. He feels intense pain, and he knows he doesn’t deserve it. He is not afraid to ask why. Neither are you. His sorrows have multiplied onto more sorrows. You’ve felt that before. Maybe not now, but before. And you wonder why God is putting you through this.

But I tell you, you are not Job. And that is good news. Read more

An Archangel’s Confession (A Monologue)

Oh, come now. Is this really necessary? All of you? Did Michael really need so many guards? I won’t try anything rash, you can put down your swords. No? Fine, have it your way. But you have no idea what it’s like down there. You who get to shut yourselves up in the throne room. You have no ide– What’s that noise? Someone’s crying. It’s Him, isn’t it? It’s the King.

I can’t stand this. Can you blame me for doing what I did? You would have done the same thing if you had my history. I saw the Prince in all his glory. In all of his magnificent power. You remember when the sea parted with his breath? I was there. I saw him, and he barely breathed on the water. Only a tiny puff to spare his children, and another to destroy the greatest army of men that ever was. Read more

The Diary of the Prodigal’s Father


Monday, May 4

We are still reeling, Grant and I. He hides his hurt by going out back to chop wood or shoot baskets. I stay on the porch staring at my cell phone, waiting for the special ring I programmed. It’s been over a month now since Miles said those things and ran away. I suspect Grant resents me for letting him leave. But keeping him here… what would that have done? Just kept his bones in our house even though his heart was far away.

I took a walk around the property this morning. It was warm and humid. Grant scoffed that his brother was probably “living it up” on the pier. I did not ask him his definition of “living it up,” but his accusing eyes confirmed my fears.

I can’t think about all that. Not yet. I just want my son back.

Thursday, May 7

Today I almost worked up the nerve to go in his bedroom bur the “Keep Out” signs on the door still hold some power over me. Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow.

So I did something else instead: pulled out a shoebox of some old Polaroids from when Miles was young. My favorite is this one where he’s about six and I am chasing him up the driveway. He is running home.

Saturday, May 9

It’s 5 am. An hour ago, I woke up from a nightmare. He was gone still, and now Grant was gone, too. Left a note saying the same thing his brother had shouted: that he wished I was dead, and was going to the pier. When I realized it was a dream, I muffled my crying somewhat, but Grant still knocked on the door to make sure I was all right. I told him everything was okay. I wanted to tell him everything. I hoped he would ask what happened. Instead he went back to bed. I think it scared him.

Now I’m sitting out on the porch under a comforter exhausted but my cell phone is fully charged, so I’ll stay awake. Sometimes it rings too quietly… Please call me, son.

Monday, May 11

Minor breakthrough, today. I made it into the bedroom. It was worse than I had imagined. I won’t say all that I found. That would help nobody, least of all Grant, who would resent his brother even more. I boxed up all of that junk and threw it in the dumpster.

Besides those things, the walls disturbed me. Of course, they were darkly decorated in that same “emo” style he dressed in–that much didn’t surprise me. But the walls themselves showed signs of abuse. A couple of holes, a few dents, and some sort of burn next to the bed.

After a lengthy hunt through the walk-in closet, I finally found the thing I was really looking for: Gary, the stuffed Giraffe I gave him for Christmas… how many years ago? 12 or 13? Anyway Gary and I sat down together on the bed and cried about how hard it is to be lost.

Tuesday, May 12

It’s noon, and apparently, I slept on the porch! Don’t remember how I got here. My phone was dead (that gave me an awful fright!), but I just checked the voicemail. He didn’t leave one. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t call, right?

Thursday, May 21

Great news! Or bad news… I haven’t decided yet. Miles is off the pier. One of his old girlfriends from school dropped by just now and told me so. She said he might have gotten kicked out. That’s the bad part. But at least he’s out, and that means (drum roll….) he might have no place to go! Which means he is closer than he’s ever been to coming home! I’m going to get his sheets washed in case he comes tonight.

Monday, May 25

I can’t sleep. It’s been four days and we haven’t heard anything about where he’s living. I hired three private investigators tonight to find him. Oh please, find him…

Sunday, June 28

A lot has happened in a month, and yet we’re no closer to bringing Miles home. Here is the long and short of it: We found out he was living on the southeastern edge of the city. It’s a rough neighborhood. Not in the same way as the pier is rough. Well, actually, it is rough like that, too, but it’s more than that. Far worse, actually.

My PI’s found him sorting through a landfill, picking out the plastic. Working for a sanitation company but not getting paid. I’m guessing he lost some bets with the owner. Anyway, they said he looked scared. “Very thin and very jumpy,” is what they told me. And he did not wish to see me. Warned me not to come, actually.

Grant and I were up half the night talking about what to do. We decided to send him a care package. We put some money in, along with some warm clothes and snacks and a note inviting him to come home. Grant got all their friends to sign it.

Unfortunately, the package was never delivered. He was already gone when it got there. So we’re back to square one. Nobody knows where he is, but he is alone. I see his face when my eyes close. Weak. Frightened. Unwashed. Ashamed.

My heart feels like a wash rag–sullied, pulled terribly tight, then twisted. Grief comes and leaves with no warning. My face will be dry, and suddenly the feeling hits my stomach and wrenches the tears out all at once. It only happens for a moment, but those moments happen often. Ten times in day, at least.

I’m so tired. Sometimes I wish I could just forget. But then I look at a picture of him as a boy. Or I look up at the treehouse we built. Or I hear the phone ring, or see that stupid giraffe… it all starts up again. My shoulders ache from his absence. I used to snatch him up and toss him up there, where he would sit and pull my hair for hours before I surrendered to him.

I cannot surrender now.

Monday, September 4

Grant pretends to give up hope. But I have written a song for when Miles comes home. I play it on the mandolin for my employees in the afternoon. It’s a happy song, but they cry, probably because they miss him, too, even though he was awful to them. I haven’t been very involved in business these months. Concentration is just too difficult.

That’s why I have extra time to write songs.

Friday, October 11

The thunder storm has me very nervous. What if he’s trying to come home? How will he make it? I am sending out three cars to look for him. There are fresh towels and hot chocolate in each one. Fifteen marshmallows in every cup, of course…

Saturday, January 25

The snow stopped enough for me to sleep on the porch again, although my staff insisted on buying me a ridiculously expensive sleeping bag that will supposedly keep me warm on the South Pole. And that’s where I am right now. The porch, not the South Pole. The great thing about snow is that it reflects so much light even at two a.m. I can see clear down the road, almost to town. It’s beautiful. I have my mandolin, but my fingers are a tad too stiff to play. So I’m just going to sing without it tonight. Grant didn’t want to join me (said I was insane), but at least I have Gary. He never gets cold.

Tuesday, April 5

Grant broke down briefly today. “Why didn’t you just make him stay home in the first place,” he screamed. Then he stormed out and slammed the door behind him. I wish he understood. You can NEVER make someone stay home.

Tuesday, May 4

It’s been a year since my first entry. Very soon, my son will change his mind and call me. I’m sure of it. My staff agrees with me.

Wednesday, August 11

It’s a perfect sunny day. I mean perfect. I hope Miles comes back today, because it’s a perfect day for a party. We had a pool put in out back last summer in anticipation of that. But I think today’s the ticket. (Grant is rolling his eyes, telling me to stop watching the road.)

Okay, so if he comes, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to call all of his friends and tell them to come over at 6 pm. I’m going to order about a hundred pizzas, and hire whatever band happens to be in the city.

(A jogger just went by. Thought it might be him. It wasn’t.)

Anyway, the party. When Miles walks up the steps, I’m not going to wait for an apology. People keep asking if I would. Have they ever had children before?! I’m going to tackle him. Hard. I’m going to tell him I love him. And then I’m going to toss him up and throw him on my shoulders. Okay, maybe not that, but you get the idea.

(Another jogger, it looks like. Scratch that. Someone taking a walk. Kind of reminds me of him, but he’s much to thin and slow. And yet… I can’t see his face. His hands are in the way… He just fell do–

It’s Still Wed, Aug 11th. barely…


When you jumped off the porch to meet me, this book fell off your lap into the rose bushes. I forgot about it until tonight after you fell asleep on the couch. You were drooling on me, and i was a bit grossed out, so i thought I’d get up to find out where it landed. As you can see, it was open and upside down… pretty dirty.

So anyways, i read it. Sorry, I guess I should have asked first??? But I’d like to finish it for you. Hope that’s ok.

First of all dad, please believe me: I was crying before you tackled me. I’ve had cracked ribs before, Dad (remember my freshman year on the football team?), and I didn’t cry then either. The truth is I had my speech all prepared, but the minute I saw you, I just lost it. fell down. And then… BOOM!

Thank you Dad. For everything. For the welcome. The party. Thanks for smoothing things over with Grant. Thanks even for the song! (still, did you have to play it in front of the guys? really?!)

You’ll be happy to know i’m trying to take your advice. It’s been three hours since I last reamed myself out, “what were you thinking, you moron?” It’s going to take some time, I think, so please be… HA! I was going to write “please be patient,” but really. After reading this, I know I never have to worry about that! Never, ever, ever.

I love you, pop. I’ll be on the porch when you wake up.