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...
Listen to These Mothers

Listen to These Mothers

A few months ago, I was given the gift of fourteen new friends. They shared their stories and we took the stage together. Listen to Your Mother is a show of stories about motherhood. Honest, confessional, hilarious, heartbreaking moments, collected into one show. I keep going back to these stories. When I hear of a friend who is in the middle of a MOMENT, I keep going back to these stories and wanting to take my friends along, too. I tell them about these stories. I want them to hear Kayla Aimee make us laugh about #motherhood or hear Kristyn’s honest laments and questions. I want them to hear the strength in Raivon’s healing, the confessions in Renee’s experience and the truth Nikki tells us about how motherhood is an adventure. Each and every one of these voices offers us something so beautiful. So, now you can hear their stories. And mine. When we took the stage back in April, I said this: “From the first table read with these ladies, I knew there was something special happening when we listened, heard and made space for these stories. It took me until this morning to realize why it struck a chord in my soul. This story sharing and giving words to experience has resonated so deeply with me. And I realized. We have a word for this in the Christian tradition: This is called witness. Witness is a spiritual practice, one in which you tell what you have experienced and how it has shaped your life. You tell what you have seen. One person gives voice to what has...
Monday’s Songs: The Words We Know

Monday’s Songs: The Words We Know

I had no idea what to say. Somewhere between realizing I had to lead Sunday school and looking over what I had planned to teach, I was gripped by the fact that I had no words. What exactly do you say on the day when bells would ring across the nation to mark nine lives lost? What words can you offer to speak lament, peace, sorrow and hope, all while you share donuts and bacon? I knew there was no way to not speak about these things. I knew pastors in many, many places were tasked with just that. My beloved, my pastor, was wrestling early that morning about how to make the words match the moment. Silence, bells ringing, pulpits draped, hands held. Somehow on Sunday, we got there. The plans I had for Sunday school shifted from one story to another. I began by telling the group, “Our movie series will be part of what we do today, but it would be less than faithful to gather around tables for Bible study and not make space for people who lost their lives doing the same thing just days ago. So, this lesson will probably be the green light at the intersection, but I imagine we will end up on another road.” We did. The words I coudn’t find didn’t matter. I offered the story that had gripped me all week: my memories of serving at Big Bethel AME Church in Atlanta. I told about the Wednesday night Bible studies with those faithful folks, their gracious welcome and radical hospitality, they way they welcomed me, the hymns we...
Listen to Their Mothers

Listen to Their Mothers

These hands.   These women shared a stage with me on Saturday night, and shared their hearts with an audience who cried and laughed and gasped with us.   We are a band of mothers connected by the act of being vulnerable and hearing one another.  We are each forever changed because we offered our stories to one another and accepted the gift of someone else’s story.   That’s what these red bracelets are about.  Connection. These were a gift from our LTYM directors, naming that we are forever connected to each other.   I am awed with the privelege of wearing this bracelet. It is a realization of how this group of diverse women matters to me and that I matter to them. It will remind me how I am connected to women who are just like me and women who have very little in common with me.   And I wore this bracelet last night when I watched the news.   The problem with bright moments of realization is that they can light up the nice, cozy lamp-lit corners of your comfortable spaces. The corners with your cozy chair, in your quiet suburban house, with your dishwasher humming sweetly in the background, and your child fast asleep tucked into his pottery barn bedding.   No one wants the glaring light of realization to come barging in and pointing out the harsh truths. But there they are.   There are people hurting today.  There are voices reminding us that things are not okay.  There is a nation weeping for their losses.   I am connected to them.   It...
Mashup: The Unbreakable Anchor for My Soul

Mashup: The Unbreakable Anchor for My Soul

Mashups. Does anybody else do these? My mashups happen when the songs I’ve had stuck in my head for days meet up with the tunes that won’t quit in my house. Like the Doc McStuffins theme song mashed with “99 Problems.” It works, I promise. Or “All About that Bass” mashed with the Clean Up Song (“All About that Mess”). The song that’s been on repeat in our house this weekend, especially with Sister and Mom visiting, is the fabulous theme song from my new favorite, the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Even the two year old now sings his one line from it on cue: “It’s a Miracle!” So, as I’m going through a morning where it would have been helpful to have this little jingle stuck in my head like it has been for days, I am surprised to find myself humming a very different tune. Probably because I don’t feel even slightly unbreakable. Walking through this day, I’ve found myself humming this song. My heart remains sure in the wind, sure in the waves. You are the anchor for my soul You won’t let go, You won’t let go No matter what may come I know You won’t let go. An anchor for my soul. Sometimes, the imagery gets it just right. But in my life, the grace happens when the songs you know by heart mash up with the other tunes that just won’t quit to make a beautiful new thing. It’s amazing when the beats line up. It’s amazing how the song you thought was driving you crazy actually blends with another melody in a way...
Five Tips for Nursing the Worst at-Home Patients

Five Tips for Nursing the Worst at-Home Patients

January went by in a blur of kleenex, cough drops, and cold medicine.  We kept colds and stomach bugs rotating through our house for way too many days. And, after trying to make an appointment just yesterday and hearing the lady tell me, “Yeah, we’ve had to reschedule for so many people, because of the flu and, you know, the norovirus,” I wanted to quarantine my family. Oh, I know the norovirus very well.  That’s another story for another day. Believe me, the 2013 Norovirus is not a plague I’ll soon forget. But here we are in 2015, and because of these darling little illnesses I am now prepared to offer you the best five tips for dealing with the worst patients of all time. It so happens that the worst patients of all time are, in order: my husband, my father and my sister. I’ve recently had all of them in my house – SICK – and in need of care. Here’s how it went down: Dad still refuses to admit he was sick at all (“just a little cough”). The Hubs came down with the The Cough and The Ick after nursing all the visiting Robinsons back to health after Christmas. And Sister. Sister kept a horrific version of bronchitis for weeks that turned into pleurisy. After weeks of that mess, she called me pitiful and in need of a Super Nurse. I am a Super Nurse. I am also, if need be, a kidnapper.  One look at her pitiful self and not-so-much-as a drop of broth in the house and I informed her, “Yeah, after we...