My brother Jason, singer/songwriter/composer for the a capella group Rescue, is in the emergency room due to a very serious spider bite, and is getting heavily dosed with painkillers and antibiotics. Apparently he’ll have to go through a series of treatments before the volcano on his arm goes away. I’m told his elbow swelled up to the the size of a tennis ball, to say nothing of what happened to the rest of his arm. Yikes. The scary thing is that he’s never seen the spider, so he doesn’t know where it is.

The even scarier thing… …that sort of spider, if indeed it is the “hobo” or “aggressive house spider” is ALL OVER MY OWN BASEMENT, and we’ve been catching them by the trap-full in hobo-spider-traps for over a year. Now I’m more motivated than ever.

This afternoon, I interviewed the great French filmmaker Patrice Leconte, who has delighted me with such titles as Monsieur Hire, The Hairdresser’s Husband, The Widow of St. Pierre, Girl on the Bridge, Man on the Train, and his new film, Intimate Strangers, which was filmed by the brilliant Eduardo Serra (Girl with a Pearl Earring, Unbreakable.) It was a wonderful chat, and I look forward to sharing the interview with you all soon.

This evening I watched part of U2 Go Home on my new Sony surround-sound system, and was transported yet again into joy and tears.

After that, my wife and I went on one of those perfect dates, where you go to the neighborhood coffee shop, have chocolate cake and coffee, then go to the library, pick a handful of books at random, drive down to the ocean overlook, and read the first chapter of each book aloud to each other while day turns to dusk. The four books: John Irving’s A Widow for a Day, Tim Gautreaux’s The Clearing, Lian Hearn’s Grass for His Pillow, and some other fantasy book that failed to make much of an impression on either of us.

Eventually we just stopped reading and watched the bats flitter all about the darkening sky. And then we came home, our hearts like embers, glowing, having drawn in the fulness of the brilliance of the day.

What wild mercy and grace God offers us. How often I bluster on through the whole 14 hours of awareness without stopping to bask in what is offered, without pausing to call my family, or read the first chapter of a book aloud, or hold my wife’s hands, or turn off the television and look at what’s showing tonight only on the big screen of the night sky.

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