boarding school for troubled boys

The stomach bug is flying around this place right now. (Some of it real; some of it the latest incarnation of “yellow bus fever.”) In any case, I take some of the blame. I was the first to get bit.

You’re welcome, Whetstone.

I did my best to not spread it around, but germs have a way of finding a way – being microscopic and all.

My stomach sickness came at a particularly bad time. The Southside Church of Christ, home congregation of the Liimatta clan for the decade before we moved to Missouri, was visiting for the weekend. They had traveled 500 miles, with a work crew of 16 guys, to work on fences, run chainsaws and haul dead wood for two days. I wanted to be here with them.

But alas, it was all I could do to swallow half a cracker and sip on ginger ale.

I don’t get sick very often, but it seems like when I do, I make up for years of wellness in one fell swoop. It’s like nature is saying to me, “You’re not that special. Don’t think I can’t take you out if I have half a mind to do so.”

Our bodies are strong, but they are also incredibly fragile.

At times like these, we really need a support group. “No man is an island, ” John Donne famously wrote. Never is this more apparent than when you’re fighting the stomach bug. You can’t survive without the help of others.


It’s a humbling spot to be in. Dependent. Vulnerable. Weak. Sore. Sick and tired. Sick and tired of being sick and tired. We’ve all been there.

We hope that Whetstone is a place where boys can be weak. Where families can be open and honest about what is going on inside, behind the scenes. The nitty-gritty doesn’t scare us. It’s why we’re here.

Show us your ugly. Bring us your mess. Let’s clean it up together. And afterwards, once we feel better for having emptied ourselves of all the junk inside that keeps us from intimacy with God and with each other, we’ll start by taking baby steps, side by side.

Because we’ve all either been there, or we’ll end up there someday. And if you don’t believe me, just wait.

The stomach bug is coming for you too.