Sometimes, a single word changes everything. Sometimes, just one word will make me sit up straight and wake up.

Bon Ives’s new album 22, A Million is a oddly wonderful blend of sounds and modified vocals that are anything but conventional songs. And in the midst of this beautiful mess, Justin Vernon drops a jarring word: Unorphaned.

It’s a word I can’t get out of my imagination.

Unorphaned isn’t the same as adopted. That’s a plug in a hole. Unorphaned means the hole I thought was there is not there at all. Unorphaned is going through the terrible experience of being orphaned but having it taken and undone, reversed and made whole again. Unorphaned is the best news ever.

Unorphaned means I am not alone in the world as I thought I was. I’m not abandoned. I still live under the canopy of love that every child should live under. I’m protected. I’m loved.

Sometimes good news has to be experienced as bad news before we realize just how good the good news is.

The good news of Jesus is that in him, we are unorphaned —









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