I stood on Hope

I stood on Hope

Today, I got to stand on hope. Literally.   My family attended the dedication of the new fountain in our favorite local park. We watched this building project for months in our trips to the park. Few things thrill a little boy’s heart more than watching real, live construction. Few things thrill this mama’s heart more than learning the theme of this new fountain: a Peace Fountain. Before I could even think of the scripture reference for the first verse that came to mind, I learned that powerful words would be etched around this fountain. Quotes from local people who had worked for justice, peace and love would circle around this fountain. I couldn’t wait to see this tangible picture of the prophet’s words, “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24) In our city, like many cities, we need the waters of peace like never before. In our city, like many cities, we have people who work to make the fountain of peace come to life. People gave their time, their expertise. People planted trees, spread pinestraw, and donated bricks. People put themselves into this work. The fountain is the centerpiece of a park that has been brought back to life. The last time this fountain stood tall was about 1934. This area and this park have been through years of neglect and disrepair. But through the work of a community coming together, transformation is there. It is a whole new scene. It looks like hope. When my newsfeed began to fill with responses to the latest violence yesterday, hope was not...
God Colors

God Colors

This one has been sitting in the quiet with me for a while. I’m not a fan of the quiet. Stillness is beautiful. Quiet gets on my very last nerve. Like the clean, white canvas that stared back at me a couple of weeks ago, I have no idea what to do with quiet. I’ve recently gotten into coloring. Like many of my friends, I bought the coloring books with intricate designs and the fine tip markers. As it turns out, coloring is calming. Mindlessly tracing and filling in the patterns on the page is fantastic to empty your mind or at least sort through it. I enjoy it, and when I find a stopping point on the page, I notice my breathing is more calm, and I am generally more relaxed. Take that feeling and then think of the opposite of it. That’s the extreme sense of frustration, inadequacy and fear I felt at a “Paint Night” event two weeks ago. About 20 of us gathered at my friend Wimberley’s studio, and the event itself was just lovely. Painting, drinks, and friends from church in her absolutlely beautiful studio. Wimberley gave us the idea and some instructions: Paint a fall branch set against a colorful stained glass backdrop. Such a beautiful idea, and her example was just gorgeous. Most of us there are not what you might call artsy. Folks laughed, grabbed a paintbrush and began dabbing colors on the canvas like preschoolers with fingerpaints. Except me. I just swirled my paintbrush in the clear water and stared. I may have laughed with friends and joked about the...

Easy like Sunday Morning?

Sometimes getting inside the church building is hard. I’ve talked to a few friends recently about what it takes to collect all they’ve got and bring it into Sunday’s gathering. Some people get to roll in on Sunday, hands free. They’re ready to smile and mean it. Some folks face obstacles just getting to the door. Like last Sunday. My friend and I compared notes and laughed about how ridiculous it is getting preschoolers fed, dressed, pottied, and ready to walk into church on a sunny day, much less a tornado-like rainy day like we were having. She was by herself, bringing three littles to church. This superhero mom told me it took three trips in and out of the building with the umbrella, supplies and kids ages 6, 2 1/2 and 8 months. We’re talking American Ninja Warrior skills, friends. I had just the one little guy by myself to wrangle into the building during the stormy mess it was a disaster. For me, balancing the umbrella and getting the threenager to steer away from the fun puddles and run with me to the door still meant we were both ridiculously soaked when we reached the door. Another friend told me how she has to take deep, calming breaths to walk towards the sanctuary. Just walking in that door takes her back to her husband’s funeral. She makes it, almost every Sunday. When I think about the way she has to set her face and open her heart I have a new picture of what strength looks like. For her, being in that space means being present with...
I Can See Him

I Can See Him

  I can recognize my son’s face in any crowd. In a photo of twenty children, where the tops of heads are all I see, I know which curly-haired head is my little goofball. When I pick him up from preschool, my eyes take a hot second to peek in and recognize his sneakers and know that’s my boy. My eyes broke my heart this week. I saw my boy when I saw the beach of Bodrum. I spent last night broken about these families. Broken. Hearted. I know this refugee crisis has a million faces and has been going on for much longer than this fifteen minutes of attention the media has given it. You can know all that, and remain unaffected. And then you can see your boy. And it leaves you undone. That’s what it takes, I suppose. This author is 100 percent right in saying, “they would have just been four more faces in the tide of humanity that has crossed the frontiers of Europe and the West this year.” They are no longer four more faces. They are mine and yours. The tide of humanity just rolled right up to my door in Macon, Georgia. If I recognize this boy, I also recognize this father. I cannot think of much that my husband and I would do differently than this family if we were in such a desperate place. I would tell my story through sobs, too. This Dad, Abdullah Kurdi, says, “The first [son] died and I left him so I could help the other, then the second died, so I left him...
A Prayer for Friday

A Prayer for Friday

I had everything set for this week, the planner was decked out. I was ready to make things happen and get things done. Lord, maybe I am not the maker of things? Monday launched, and we soared through the lists, zipped fast through the errands, put all the things on all the shelves where they belong. We went to sleep, all folded and laid out for the next day. Lord, thank you for days that feel complete. The next day was beautiful. And the next. But the week did not get things done, these things I had planned. The minutes scattered away, completely ignoring the corrals I had set for them. Lord, somewhere we lost steam. The tasks matter, at least to me. And to the running of our tiny world. The tasks are not everything, but they are something. I never liked leaving blanks on a test, when I could get extra points for showing my work. Lord, I confess that I grade myself a C+ for a question that is not even on the final. The wise ones say, don’t worry about it. The kind ones say, you did the things that matter. The shiny ones say, pin this and make it happen. Lord, I hear your voice say you know me. You smile and whisper: worry and doing and shining are the things that make you just you. That is me. That is me with lists in hand and three new ideas. That is me stopping, listening, playing “I spy” and being interrupted by my loves. That is the me who is becoming. Tired but excited,...