“What’s that about?” you ask? All of us.

Some family and close friends read things I write looking for themselves in my words, perhaps worried I’ll record the worst of them, maybe hopeful my words will smooth their edges and polish them to a shine.

Will I come through her words a monster or a saint?


One passage of the prodigal-son service I delivered at my church last May included a reference to the wild child versus the responsible one. Predictably for me, all three of my children had contradictory notions about whom I was calling wild and who was responsible.

—That was me!

—No, it wasn’t you, I’m the wild one, because remember when…?

—Mama, is it me? him? her?

—Yes. And me.

It’s all of us.

If I can write deeply and meaningfully about the worst part of someone or about the stellar behavior of another, it’s because it’s in me, too.

When people in my life disappoint me or break my heart, I go through the worst and best of myself as I process the hurt and, invariably, I recognize myself in both the hurt and the harm.

When you read what I write about it, even if I’m granularly specific about my experience, you’ll find yourself there, in the harm I received and in the hurt I feel.

The magic of words and relationships is that they reflect, show, teach, and, if we’re open to it, guide us to a deeper understanding of each other and of ourselves.

Is that me?

Yes, it’s you. Yes, dear brother, I write about you. Dad, of course, you’re in there. My friend, how could I not write about you? Sweet, difficult, wild, and responsible children: keep reading. You’ll find yourselves.

  • haughty and humble
  • generous and selfish
  • belligerent and kind
  • patient and dramatic
  • short-tempered and long-suffering

Look closely and judge softly, because nothing is truly below us, and nothing is out of reach.

As you read my words, you’ll witness my effort to live out the moment I have on this planet, my attempt to tamp down my snarky, unkind responses along the way. You’ll find me leaning into soft, empathetic steps forward. If you’re open to it, you’ll also find yourself.

And because it’s ALL of it in ALL of us, I’d be remiss if I left this out: A lowly, twisted part of me derives satisfaction watching some of you peer over the edge of the page, worried I might capture that time when you… you know.

Yes. And if I didn’t yet, I will write about it. Just keep reading.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2023.