Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!


On a hazy afternoon in late May 1986, I wait, as I wait every weekday afternoon in a parking lot in Branford, Connecticut, for my son to be dismissed from school. While I wait, I listen to Ceci, another mother new to the school, whose son is in my son’s class. She is telling me about her car. From . . . . Continue Reading »

Letter to an Aspiring Doctor

You tell me you are thinking, my dear Stephen, of medicine as a career, but you wonder whether you have the ability or the temperament for it. You say that you have wanted to be a doctor ever since your family practitioner visited you at home as a child when you had severe tonsillitis. He seemed a . . . . Continue Reading »

Healing the Dying

At our annual reunions, my brother and sisters and I often joked that we flew home every year because “this might be Grandpa’s last.” We wanted to be sure to say one final goodbye. The odd thing was, we had been saying this for twenty years. Grandpa just didn’t seem to die. And as the clock . . . . Continue Reading »

Other Plans: Journal of an Illness

I Ihad spent most of Saturday, February 29, 1992, Leap Year Day, working through a stack of books and notes I was using for a major paper on Transcendentalism, due in draft at Cleveland State University in the Graduate English program. Sunday afternoon, too, was reserved for this endeavor. Sunday . . . . Continue Reading »

Filter Tag Articles