Author: Jess Kenyon

Community is Generosity

Read Time: 3 min.

I think when we have found community, then we have found generosity. Sharing yourself and your time with those around you is the essence of both of these ideas. I see small generosities every day at my job and in the world. People will give up their seat for someone else on the bus, drop some change into a musician’s case, or offer a hug and a friendly ear. These simple kindnesses are all around u...[Read More]

I Have a Fear of Jumping

Read Time: 3 min.

It’s not a fear of falling I struggle with. I am not afraid to fall. I am afraid to jump. We all have those little snippets of memories from when we were kids. I remember being in a park with my Mom. We were across the street from our house at a playground in the suburbs of Chicago, and we were playing on one of those wooden playhouse structures that has a ladder and a little house at the top and ...[Read More]

Can I Respect and Disagree with Grandma?

Read Time: 3 min.

My Grandma is my favorite person on the planet. She is 89 and she lives alone. She never learned to drive because she and my Grandpa lived in Chicago for most of their lives and she could take the bus to do anything she needed in the city. When my mother and her siblings were growing up, my Grandma would take them to baseball games and movies and would sneak beer in for herself. When I was little,...[Read More]

Learning Compassion Over Comparison

Read Time: 2 min.

I stopped comparing myself to others around 2 years ago. It wasn’t a decision I set out to make. It started when I decided to love myself. I never felt comfortable in my own body. I’ve been taught to compare my body to bodies around me, as well as to super model bodies and cartoon bodies, and my body just never lived up to those ideals. I would constantly compare my body to everyone el...[Read More]

A Heart for Service

Read Time: 3 min.

Recently, I had a flood of sudden memories about a compliment that so many people gave me in my early life—they told me I had a heart for service. A thrill of excitement and acknowledgment would run through me every year or so when someone would say this. It meant people were watching me, were taking stock of the way I do things, and they had decided that I had a gift. A God-given gift. A gift for...[Read More]

My Changing Faith

Read Time: 2 min.

I considered myself a Christian for many years. I was raised in a very Christian community. Everyone was a Christian. I won’t say faith was a huge topic of discussion—more of an idea taken for granted within the community. Faith was something everyone told me to have, but no one told me how to get. I spent most of my Christian years ‘having faith’ that faith would come to me. For me it...[Read More]

Staying Friends

Read Time: 3 min.

Making friends as an adult is hard. I got really lucky when I met a woman at work and she and I instantly bonded. I honestly hadn’t had many female friends up until that point and it was exciting. I had never had anyone to go shopping with me or just kick it on a Friday night. When my friend started dating a drug addict, I didn’t know what to do. I’m not the kind of person who can stay quiet about...[Read More]

How to Speak About Abuse

Read Time: 4 min.

I was 16 before I told my parents I had been abused. I was actually at a church gathering that night and I told my youth pastor. She encouraged me to tell my parents. When I got home that night, I sat in my car in the driveway and cried. I was so scared. I was so nervous. I was so ashamed. My mom yelled at me because I was about an hour later than I normally was (this was before cell phones, mind ...[Read More]

Being the Bible Instead of Quoting the Bible

Read Time: 3 min.

I have read the Bible many times. Certain books and chapters received more re-readings than others, but I have read the whole thing through 3 or 4 times. At one time in my life, reading the Bible was very important. I wanted to talk to others about what I was reading, as you do when you get excited about anything in your life. I wanted to share. I was so excited I didn’t notice when others became ...[Read More]

The Vital, Overlooked Response to Tragedy

Read Time: 3 min.

What can I do? The question chased me Monday morning. What can I do when I wake up to hear that over 50 lives were lost, over 500 people were injured, and Las Vegas is grieving. I am grieving, too. What can we do? What will we do? There are many practical things we can do to feel involved—give blood, attend a memorial, continue to gather supplies for those affected by the recent hurricanes. We can...[Read More]

The Poverty Line

Read Time: 2 min.

I am poor. I have food, I have clothing, I have shelter. I have a job. I just financed a car. I have a kitten, I donate to the ACLU and I am still paying off my student loans and a credit card. On paper it all looks ok, but I know the truth. I am fighting every day for these things. Let’s say I lost my job tomorrow or I was injured and became unable to work. I don’t have enough saved to last me a ...[Read More]

A Quiet Act of Patriotism

Read Time: 2 min.

It’s really hard to listen. Sure, if your best friend needs to talk about their terrible day or your partner needs to vent about their boss or their commute, you can probably handle that kind of listening. All of us need people in our lives who can hear our petty griefs and existential trials. But when it comes to people with opposite political beliefs, things get dicey. Most of us choose to avoid...[Read More]

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