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Josh’s mom gave him a crossword puzzle calender as a gift.  The torn-off sheet of paper ended up underneath the almost-crispy bacon during our continental breakfast that begged for the silence of James’ absence this morning.  It had spots of grease, drips of water, and only a few words filled into the boxed spaces.

“These are hard,”  Josh held up the pitiful attempt at a crossword puzzle and placed his defense.  We used to do the crossword puzzles from the free RedEye newspaper in Theology of Missions last year.  We maintained that it helped us focus on a class otherwise boring (to me, because nothing was interesting; to Josh, because he already knew everything that was being taught). 

“Do you still do those?”  Josi was asking about the RedEyes and I wished (for the thirty-seventh time this week) that everything didn’t have to be about my life’s losses.  I try to start the simple crosswords in the paper I pick up every day, which I told her, true.  But at the Bible question I want to build a casual bridge to flavors of Christ, but now it’s just me, and I already know Him. 

I’m the quintessence of your average novice crossworder; I can’t finish the RedEye crosswords, even on Mondays. But, I’d found a pattern where I could bring my unfinished archive of simplefresh words to the curve of the Red Oak bar at the restaurant that’s paying for my Bible school and a few letters every half hour would propel me to the coveted end of a finished crossword puzzle.  There’s so much random information I’d love to know, to make me better at things like Trivial Pursuit and crossword puzzles, but I haven’t needed to.  From the free paper, the baby project of the city’s Chicago Tribune, and within that a small mess of words and their crafty definitions, I found daily triumph.  I’d even started to think I was good at crosswords.   

And so, I didn’t hurt for him when Josh couldn’t finish today’s crossword.  I can’t finish much either these days, the least of which is my free crossword puzzle.