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,...
Tell Me About Your Flower

Tell Me About Your Flower

At dinner with friends the other night I got to explain one of my very favorite Easter traditions: flowering the cross. It’s a true Easter moment for me. Some people say Easter happens when they sing at a sunrise service or say Hallelujah. For me, it’s when a chicken wire cross fills with flowers.  Probably because it’s so communal and sensory and all those other churchy words. And I just love that there is no way to pattern out what this display will look like. Everyone is told to bring their own flower, so you may have huge daffodils or store-bought roses or scrawny looking “daisies” that we all know are weeds. You can try to have some easy carnations there for people who forgot their own, but like the Church itself there will always be one obnoxious, mis-matched blossom shoved in there. That’s what makes it beautiful. One year there was a gigantic, stubborn tulip. It was shoved onto the cross by a frustrated, heartsick woman. It slowly became surrounded by wildflowers and lilies, the whole thing processed into the sanctuary during a choir anthem that sounded like the skies opened to heaven. But it didn’t start out that way. That tulip showed up on that flower cross because I showed up at church at 6:00 am that morning. Our family had been in a season of struggle: everyday frustrations, tough moments of ministry. And infertility grief. But life doesn’t stop for liturgical seasons, and Easter did not go easy on us that year. It hurt. My husband and I had welcomed a rainy Good Friday that seemed...
A Prayer for Teachers

A Prayer for Teachers

Teachers, I’ve had you on my mind this week. Walking through the school supply aisle gets me all googly-eyed for pretty folders and pens, and crayons. Oh, the smell of crayons. Which gets me thinking of all the heroes I know. The teachers who work and give and love and fight for our kids. My thinking turns to praying and my praying leads to remembering. This time last year, Sister was beginning a new gig as a longterm sub in an Atlanta school. She’s a sharp one, and a quick learner, which made her perfect for jumping head first into an elementary school culture.  But I still got a few daily calls from her with stories that ended with, “Is this FOR REAL?” From the wisdom of my ten years teaching school, I would answer her . . . Yes. This is for real. Teachers know, more than anyone else knows, that some of the things you do and see will make you ask, a few times a day, Is this junk for real? My first year of teaching was in a North Carolina middle school. I loved those 8th graders. Two things one must posses to survive in middle school: laughter and appreciation for a good eye roll. Never underestimate how often these two can happen with 8th graders. I learned to rate the rolling of the eyes like an olympic judge, never really giving a 10.0 until the day LaTravia and I had a “come to Jesus” moment. Looking back, I might have done things differently now. But in the moment, I was pretty proud of my first...
Stranded: A Litany For the Side of the Road

Stranded: A Litany For the Side of the Road

The side of the road is one of my least favorite places in the world. Roads, I love. Lately I have traveled many of them visiting people I love, moving to a new house, running errands. Rarely do I bother to glance at the people with me on the road, unless they’re going too slow. Tonight, though, I spent several hours with a few hundred new friends on the side of the road. I was supposed to be meeting my sister for a long awaited night out in Atlanta seeing Glennon Melton from Momastery. I was supposed to be enjoying dinner, relaxing, catching up on all of Sister’s gossip. I had put on make-up, rocked a new outfit, and my hair was NOT in a ponytail. When the cars began to slow down, I got nervous. After sitting in traffic for 10 minutes, I called Sister and said I might be late to dinner. After 30 minutes of having my car parked on I75, I knew my plans were not going to turn out like I thought. Bummed. Seriously bummed. I began to notice the cars around me. People were starting to get out of their cars, probably to avoid overheating. I glanced at the car’s thermometer: 95 degrees. Sweet Lord of all air conditioning, hear our prayers. I noticed a conspicuous bus two cars back from me: State Prisoners. In my mind, I wondered if this whole traffic jam was an elaborate escape attempt. I began creating stories about how every other car on the road was related to the prisoners and their role in the escape that...