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Steven Kalas


Embrace the rebirth of epiphany

You feel like a naked newborn, squalling helpless into the night. Incredulity is the first response to epiphany. Gratitude should be the next. Thirdly, take action — redeem your past self with everything breath, word and deed.

What do ‘I know that I know’? Really, nothing

My heart breaks, again, for our nation. In August, police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown, a civilian, in Ferguson, Mo. On Monday afternoon, I was listening to sports talk radio when the grand jury’s decision not to criminally prosecute Wilson first came to my ears.

Say it with me: Child abuse is never love … never

Everything we need to know about how and why Adrian Peterson could and did deliver a savage beating to his 4-year-old son is summed up in the words of Peterson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin: “Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. … He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in East Texas. Adrian has never hidden from what happened.”

Love’s power, unbound by psychological reductionism

As I ride the express elevator down the back nine of my life, I do what a lot of middle-age baby boomers do: I seek, treasure and cherish regular doses of nostalgia. Nostalgia is what finally takes me to see the film version of the Broadway hit “Jersey Boys,” a jukebox musical telling of the band the Four Seasons.

Limits vs. limitless freedom: A choice in life

There is in my house a bookshelf reserved for “the museum.” By “museum” I mean a collection of books that have been, at one time or another, hugely important to me. Books from my childhood, my youth and then adulthood. From “Pippi Longstocking” to “Frankenstein.” From Mark Twain to Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Knowing when to dream, when to let dreams go

1993. Two days shy of his second birthday, my firstborn, Jonathan, is exploring the grassy area behind the apartment building. His legs, alive with energy and joy, make the swish-squish sound that is the signature of the modern disposable diaper. I watch him from a distance, sitting on a concrete staircase, guitar in my lap, dreaming, resting.

One credo crucial to a well-lived life: Pay attention

Sooner or later in long-term therapy, most adult patients will drift — or dive — toward their family history. They begin to take a more comprehensive, more honest and accurate inventory of realities they faced as children. The strength and weaknesses, health and unhealth, justice and injustice of the families in which they were reared. Because all families have some combination of all of those things.